If you have copper pipes in your home, then you need to be aware of your pipes leaking. Copper pipes are prone to damage due to freezing issues and bursting problems, but the leaks you should be most concerned about involve small pinhole openings in the pipes. Keep reading to learn about the leaks, how they develop, and what you can do about them.
What Are Pinhole Leaks
Pinholes leaks are extremely small openings in the copper pipes that allow water to leak out. Typically, the water supply pipes in your home will develop numerous leaks at once. You may notice the pipes developing a good deal of condensation on the exterior. These pipes will also develop a greenish patina on the exterior, signaling an oxidation issue.
Pinhole leaks can form for a variety of reasons. Corrosion with the pipes called pitted corrosion might be an issue. This develops when water pressure is too high in the pipes or when the water pH itself is too high. Also, water that has a high chlorine content can cause corrosion problems, and so can the presence of microorganisms in the water.
Turbulence within the pipes can lead to holes as well, and this is caused by disturbances in the consistent flow of the water. This creates movement where the water hits the pipes internally and causes damage over time. Fittings that sit close together is one cause of turbulence, and so is high water pressure.
How Are Pinhole Leaks Repaired?
The repair process for the holes in your pipes depends on the severity of the issue. If there are widespread openings, then your plumber may suggest a full plumbing line replacement. This is a serious and expensive repair, but it is advisable if your pipes are older and nearing the end of their life. Copper pipes will start to wear somewhere between the 20 to 50 year age mark. Your plumber can give you more information on whether or not your pipes are nearing the end of their life.
If the holes are not widespread across your water supply lines, then the damaged pipes can be replaced individually. Joints, elbows, and other connectors can be replaced as well. Sometimes, the damaged pipe and the holes themselves can be soldered to fill them in.
If a repair job is completed, make sure to speak with a plumber, like those at Ragan Mechanical Inc, about a plan to keep new holes from developing. A device may be needed to reduce water pressure.