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What Are Copper Pinhole Leaks?

two-copper-tubesCopper piping is widely used and recommended today. In fact, if you’re still using galvanized steel or cast iron, the first thing you should do is call a Newton, MA plumbing service to have that replaced immediately. Copper has been used in plumbing for the last 70 years, and for good reason.

It remains one of the most corrosion-resistant and long-lasting materials for plumbing, and it can be installed easier than other kinds of materials, making it an ideal choice for both consumer and plumber.

Of course, like any other material on this earth, copper piping isn’t indestructible. Today, we’ll tell you about pinhole leaks, a problem with copper piping that may occur after several years of use. Educate yourself now on the early warning signs so that you can take action later.

Signs of Pinhole Leaks

In plumbing, pinhole leaks cause similar damage as other kinds of leaks. They include such nuisances as:

Increased water bill

Like any leak left unnoticed and untreated, the first place you’ll notice them is on your monthly water bill. Uncertainty about leaks can be diffused through the water meter test. Turn off all your appliances that use water, and check the water meter. If the needle is still moving, it means there is still water flowing from somewhere; that ‘somewhere’ could very possibly be from a pinhole leak.

Visible corrosion on the pipes

Spots of blue-greenish buildup can be seen where pinhole leaks are beginning to form, either on the pipe or on the joints. This should be inspected immediately if it hasn’t already given way to an apparent water leak.

Dripping noises

Pinhole leaks are still leaks, after all, so you can expect signs like dripping noises to also be present. Depending on where the leak is located, however, it may not be audible.

Water damage

Water damage like stains, discolorations, and even the appearance of mold and mildew, can all be linked back to pinhole leaks. Similar to dripping noises, water damage may not always be noticeable due to the fact that most plumbing is hidden away behind walls.

What to do?

Copper pipes typically last 20 to 50 years. This means that pinhole leaks can actually be quite rare. If pinhole leaks are becoming a problem in your home, there can be a few causes of it:

  • Various types of corrosion, including hard water or simply high water pressure.
  • Chloramines in your water.

The only way to repair a pinhole leak is by repiping. Luckily, repiping doesn’t have to be a drastic or complex process. If one pipe is affected, a professional plumber simply needs to replace that one pipe. However, you’ll want that plumber to inspect your entire system to make sure that there aren’t any leaks occurring places you haven’t noticed yet.

Other places that pinhole leaks could be prone to happening is in the joints, where the pipes have been soldered together. Luckily, a leak in the joints does not mean that the rest of the system is damaged.

Got a leak? Contact us to find out how we can meet your unique plumbing needs!

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