Copper Pinhole Leak
When most people think of water leaks, they think of cracked or a pipe burst. Though that does happen, it’s much more common to have leaks that are slow and could go unnoticed for long periods simply because they drop only a few drops of water at a time – hardly enough to notice a change in your water usage or water pressure. Leaks like this are known as pinhole leaks. They are common in copper pipes but can also occur in steel, galvanized, and non-metallic pipes like PEX.
What is a Copper Pipe Pinhole Leak?
A copper pipe pinhole leak comes from various sources. “Pitted corrosion” – as the pipe corrodes from the outside. In recent years, due to changes in water chemistry, it is more common to have pinhole leaks occur from the inside of the pipe.
Pinhole leaks can happen because the copper pipe breaks down. This may have resulted from poor installation, age, soil chemistry, or water treatment. Water treatment involves changes in the water chemistry, which can speed up the breakdown process. Copper pipes thought to last anywhere from 20 to 50 years, have shown to fail in as little as a few years. If you’re unsure how long the pipes have been in use or your pipes’ condition, it’s a good idea to have them inspected by a plumber.
Pinhole leaks start small, typically with an occasional drip of water. The problem gets worse when the pinhole leak is left alone, months or even years of a slow pinhole leak can cause significant damage to your property.
Water leaks can introduce water into areas of your home that aren’t meant to get wet – such as in the walls, the insulation, and even in the drywall.. These wet areas can cause wooden supports to weaken or rot and encourage mold and mildew growth.
How To Fix A Pinhole Leak in Copper Pipes
If you find a copper pipe leak in your water lines or elsewhere within the plumbing system, it is possible to temporarily patch the pipes or to use an epoxy putty for a quick repair. However, patching the pipes only works in instances where the repair spot on the pipe is limited in size and location and the rest of the plumbing is in good shape.
With extensively damaged pipes, for years, the “fix” usually meant a repipe. A traditional repipe can be time consuming, expensive and usually involves cutting into walls, ceilings, and floors and days without water.
ePIPE, the re-pipe alternative we allow for in-place pipe repair without the mess hassle and long water shut downs.
The patented three-step solution, the ePIPE solution, uses trenchless methods to repair and restore your pipes without extensive digging, costly landscaping repairs and restoration inside your home with minimal cutting into walls, floors, and ceilings.
AIR DRYING OF PIPES
First, we connect air hoses to the piping system. The system uses preheated, filtered air to drain and dry the pipes.
Once the pipes are dry, we prepare them with an air and sand mixture to carefully sandblast the inside of the pipes.
EPOXY COATING APPLIED
In the last stage, the code approved epoxy coating is applied to the system. After the coating cures, the pipes are reassembled, flushed, and pressure tested. The approved ePIPE coating cures within two hours, and in most cases, water service is restored the same day, without displacing you or your occupants.
The protective coating we apply is an approved epoxy for use with both metallic and non-metallic pipes.
Can a Pinhole Leak Cause Permanent Damage?
If the pinhole leak is not discovered soon after it begins, permanent damage may be an issue. If the walls’ insulation has become wet, it can promote mold and mildew growth and repair work on the walls will need to happen after the leak is fixed. If the wall’s supports have weakened or rotted because of the water damage, those too will need to be replaced after the leak is stopped.
The sooner you catch and repair a pinhole leak, the less likely your home will suffer permanent damage.
5 Signs of Having a Pinhole Leak
If you suspect you have a leaking pipe or another plumbing leak, but don’t see any obvious water puddles, a pinhole leak may be the culprit.
Visible Pipe Corrosion
If you see spots of blueish-greenish buildup on your copper pipes, that may be an indication of pinhole leak. If you don’t already have a visible water leak, have the pipes inspected as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Depending on the location of a pinhole leak, you may be able to hear dripping noises. Even though the leak is small and often only releases a drop of water at a time, it may still be possible to hear it.
You may see stains, discoloration, mold, or mildew as a result of a water leak. Leaks that may be coming from pipes in the walls, signs of water damage may not always be noticeable.
Increased Water Bill
Though you likely won’t see an increased water bill as a result of a single pinhole leak, left alone you will get more leaks. Remember, your first leak will not be your last. The more you have, the longer they go unnoticed, the more damage they will cause, and you’ll likely see higher water bills and potentially more damage to your home .
Decreased Water Flow
Though it’s more common with bigger leaks, it’s still possible that you may experience decreased water flow.
Home repair DIY’ers can use a temporary pipe patch or epoxy putty from the hardware store to create a temporary fix for their copper water pipe. The do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, aka band aid repairs aren’t the way to go over the long term.
Difference Between A Copper Pinhole Leak & Slab Leak
There is no general difference between a copper pinhole leak and a slab leak. A copper pinhole leak can occur within your copper water pipes in the home. A slab leak can be a pinhole leak located in pipes underneath the concrete slab foundation in your home. Pinholes leaks can lead to serious damage if left undiagnosed.
Pinhole leaks often occur in clusters along the same pipe as corrosion affects more than one area. If you find one, chances are you’ll find multiple other pinhole leaks that need to be addressed.
If you need to address leaky faucets, slab leaks, or any other plumbing problems, the team here at ePIPE can help. With our 24-hour support, emergency service, and financing options, our customers get the quality they deserve at a price they can afford. Contact us today!
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