Copper was the material of choice for plumbing pipes for a long time. The metal is strong and durable, and it was considered an ideal choice for a plumbing system with longevity. However, we have learned a lot since then, and we know now that copper is vulnerable to damage.
A particular problem that copper pipes suffer is known as a pinhole leak. Pinhole leaks usually occur in a small grouping, and they are sometimes referred to as “copper pitting.” Plumbers aren’t entirely certain what causes the pinhole leaks, but some potential causes include:
- Chemicals in the water reacting with the copper
- Chemicals in the soil surrounding the copper pipes
- Poor chemical composition of the copper
- Age of the pipes
- Faulty installation of the pipes
Like the name suggests, pinhole leaks are the result of very small holes in the pipes. The holes are large enough only to let out small drops of water. Because the damage is so small, some mistakenly believe that pinhole leaks are not a major problem. However, that assumption is incorrect.
Damages from Pinhole Leaks
Pinhole leaks may only let out a few drops of water at a time, but they can cause significant damage to your home. Since pinhole leaks don’t let out a large amount of water, they often go undetected for a very long time. During that time, they create constant water exposure for the materials nearby. Those small drops of water eventually lead to a much larger pool that gets bigger and bigger with time.
Steady dripping can create a moist environment that eventually creates rot through drywall, sheetrock, and even thick beams of wood. Given enough time, pinhole leaks can completely destroy a floor, a ceiling, or even whole walls.
Even if the water damage does not rot or completely destroy materials, it can lead to the formation of mold and mildew, which can further damage your home and can put the health of your family at risk. The moisture can also attract pests, and it can cause enough damage to allow pests a way into the home.
Preventing Damage from Pinhole Leaks
You may not be able to prevent pinhole leaks entirely, but there is a lot you can still do to protect your plumbing and your home.
Because pinhole leaks can go undetected for a very long time, you can’t wait until you see signs of water damage to take action. You should be hiring a plumber to conduct an annual inspection of your system. An experienced plumber will be able to find evidence of pinhole leaks even if they are hidden from you, allowing you to make repairs before the damage spreads any further. Even if there are no pinhole leaks, a good plumber will recognize the signs that they could become a problem, such as bluish-greenish spots on the copper or the age of the system.
Depending on what your plumber finds, he may recommend repiping part of your system or he may recommend repiping your whole home. Copper is prone to breaking down eventually with age, so if you have an older home with copper plumbing, your plumber may recommend moving forward with a repipe.
Even if you decide against a repipe, you should make any recommended repairs as soon as possible. The longer you wait to make the repairs, the more damage your home will suffer. You should also be alert to the signs of any damage around your home so you can get to the bottom of it quickly. If you are seeing signs of water damage, chances are good that the leak has been spreading for a long time, and you have a lot of damage that you can’t see.
In California, Integrity Repipe can help you ensure that your home has a health plumbing system. Our repiping plumbers can inspect your system and offer tailored recommendations to ensure that it stays in top shape for many years to come. They can detect problems in their early stages to prevent further damage to your home, and they can let you know if you would be better off repiping your whole system. We work with all kinds of piping, including flexible PEX piping. Call us today to schedule an inspection of your copper pipes.
Published by – Integrity Repipe Inc
Integrity Repipe Inc – Aliso Viejo, CA
27068 La Paz Rd #771
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656