Copper Pipe Restore | Pinhole Leak in Pipe

Pinhole leak in copper pipe

How lengthy do copper pipes final? Relying on their thickness and the pH of the water touring by them, trendy copper pipes ought to final for 20-50 years. Sadly, that doesn’t exclude a pernicious plumbing drawback generally known as pinhole leaking. Pinhole leaks solely happen in copper piping. Underneath the best (worst) circumstances, your copper pipes might develop a pinhole leak inside solely two years of set up.

Copper pipe pinhole leaks are a frequent drawback everywhere in the US. Your copper pipes will spring pinhole leaks when variations in your water’s pH (acid) worth put on away on the inside pipe’s pure defenses in opposition to corrosion. In case you use copper pipes (and, frankly, it’s best to), proceed studying to study what a pinhole leak is and tips on how to stop them.

What’s a Pinhole Leak?

The State of Maryland Process Drive to Research Pinhole Leaks in Copper Plumbing defines pinhole leaks as, “the perforation of copper tube, pipe or fittings used for home water distribution as the results of pitting corrosion initiated on the inside/waterside floor with the next leakage of water.” Briefly: they’re a gap created by corrosion working from the within out.

Pinhole leaks are typically very small (usually lower than ⅛” large) and formed like pinholes, therefore the identify. They aren’t solely an issue in and of themselves; additionally they symbolize the manifestation of long-term corrosive injury.

What Causes Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes?

Copper pipe joints made of a different kind of metal

Because the Maryland Process Drive notes above, pinhole leaks are attributable to “pitting corrosion.” The Affiliation for Supplies Safety and Efficiency defines pitting corrosion as “a localized type of corrosion by which cavities or ‘holes’ are produced within the materials.“ Pitting corrosion solely impacts a really small portion of a copper pipe, finally carrying away materials increasingly more till it falls in on itself as a “pit” or “gap” – which, in flip, turns into a pinhole leak.

4 Causes of Pitting Corrosion in Copper Pipes

Any of those 4 inciting circumstances might trigger a copper pipe pinhole leak:

1. Chemical Injury

That is the most probably trigger. Your own home water’s pH worth has little to no bearing in your water’s high quality or security, however it can have an effect on your pipes. In its personal investigation of pinhole sized leaks in copper pipes, town of Folsom discovered 4 alternative ways water’s pH worth might work together with its sulfate content material, temperature, micro organism and/or piping metallic to provide the circumstances for copper pitting.

Ought to any of those circumstances happen in your pipes, then the chemical response will eat away on the protecting oxide coating that insulates the inside pipe’s metallic from the water operating by them. When this coating utterly wears away in small locations, then that small portion of the pipe is very weak to corrosion – therefore, a pinhole leak kinds.

2. Mechanical Injury

Bodily contaminants similar to sediment or heavy metals current within the water provide could put on away on the inside your pipes as they go by. This might happen in case your water is especially exhausting or solely regionally handled (if it’s effectively water, as an illustration). Abnormally excessive water strain may scrape away the oxide coating of copper piping over time.

3. Localized Injury or Poor Software of Protecting Coating

It’s unlikely however not unattainable that your copper pipes are both of a poor high quality or had been improperly put in. That is extra possible in case your pipes had been retrofitted and/or put in unprofessionally. Broken copper pipes could not possess the identical resistance to corrosion as they need to, which may result in pinhole leaking and different issues.

4. Non-Uniformities within the Metallic Construction

That is notably possible in case your pipes had been solely partially retrofitted into your private home, ie: if your private home makes use of each copper pipes and one other kind of metallic for both piping or connective joints. When two completely different metals work together, particularly in a solvent like water, the ensuing stress can put on away at each. Within the case of copper pipes, this stress will put on away on the oxide coating inside your pipes and finally result in pinhole leaks.

7 Indicators of Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes

Signs of pinhole leak in copper pipe - oxidation of copper pipe

Tiny leaks might be troublesome to find, particularly in the event that they’re beneath counters or behind partitions. In case you suspect you will have a pinhole leak in your copper plumbing, search for any of the next indicators:

  1. Increased water invoice: All leaks will increase your water invoice, irrespective of how small
  2. Decrease water strain: Stress leaks out of pinhole leaks similar to water does, which is able to end in decrease water strain all through your private home
  3. Dripping sounds: If doable comply with the sound to the leak itself
  4. Water injury: Particularly underneath or round your pipes
  5. Mildew or mildew development: Particularly close to your pipes
  6. Condensation in your pipes: The skin of your pipes ought to by no means really feel damp
  7. Pipe discoloration: In case your copper pipes ever look too brown, inexperienced, or blue, then it means they’re partially oxidizing

One of the simplest ways to search for water pipe leaks is to show off your water and examine your water meter. In case you’re certain you’ve turned off the availability however the water meter remains to be shifting, then you will have a leak someplace. For assist figuring out the situation of the leak or help round tips on how to detect pinhole leaks in copper pipes, Mike Diamond is at all times prepared to assist!

How Not to Repair a Pinhole Leak in a Copper Pipe

Earlier than we cowl tips on how to repair a copper pipe leak, let’s take a look at the significance of what not to do. There’s loads of unhealthy copper pipe restore recommendation on the market. Not solely are a lot of the DIY fixes you possibly can examine ineffective, however in lots of instances they’ll create new issues.

As an example, you shouldn’t use both pipe restore clamps or alternative pipes affixed with couplings. Pipe restore clamps are essentially a short lived answer. They might even introduce chemical and metallic alterations to your water, which may additional put on away on the pipe. Likewise, couplings and alternative pipes negatively work together with the copper in your pipes. This could create the stress that wears away on the oxide coating referred to above. By making use of both of those strategies to your pinhole leak, you may create an enormous drawback by attempting to resolve a little bit one!

The best way to Restore a Pinhole Leak in a Copper Pipe

Fixing a pinhole leak in copper pipe

The one actually efficient methodology of fixing a pinhole leak in a copper pipe is by way of the “sweating” alternative methodology. Whereas you will discover all the pieces you must try sweat coupling your self at {hardware} shops, we typically don’t advocate householders strive it themselves as a result of it includes soldering and requires important expertise. If you wish to try sweat soldering a copper pipe leak your self, or in the event you’re simply curious the way it works, right here is an summary:

NOTE: sweating pipe replacements are solely really helpful if you must restore ½” of copper pipe or much less. If the alternative job proves to require extra important alternative, it’s best to name an expert.

Instruments required:

  • Tube cutter
  • Cotton rags
  • Measuring tape
  • Sweat coupling alternative pipe
  • ¾” diameter wire becoming brush
  • Solder wire
  • Propane torch


  1. Find and mark the leak in your pipe.

  3. Flip off the water predominant! (that is essential!)

  5. Drain the water from the pipe.

  7. Minimize as much as ½” of broken part and surrounding pipe out utilizing the tube cutter.

  9. Dry the brand new openings and stuff both sides with the cotton rags to maintain them from getting moist once more. Solely take away these cotton rags proper earlier than you solder.

  11. Measure the hole created by eradicating the broken part.

  13. Measure and reduce a alternative part of sweat coupling alternative pipe that’s 1” longer than the hole’s measurement.

  15. Clean the tough edges of the alternative pipe with the cutter.

  17. Clean the tough inside edges of the pipe with the wire becoming brush.

  19. Clear and clean the reduce sections of present pipe, as you probably did with the alternative part.

  21. Slide the sweat coupling alternative pipe over every finish of the remaining pipes. Be sure about ½” of the alternative pipe matches over the outdated part on both facet.

  23. Solder the brand new joint by holding the torch to 1 facet and the tip of the solder wire to the opposite till sufficient of the wire melts into the opening to utterly fill it.

  25. Activate the water and take a look at the restore.

The best way to Keep away from Copper Pipe Alternative

With a little bit funding and diligence, you possibly can stop the issues that create a pinhole leak within the copper pipe listed above. Right here’s how to verify each doesn’t offer you grief:

Chemical Injury

The chemical interactions that put on away at copper pipes usually happen due to excessive pH worth in your water. Investing in a water softener or different filtration methodology may also help stop the form of pH values that can hurt your copper pipes. If you have already got a water softener, make certain it’s functioning appropriately and regulate it as wanted.

Mechanical Injury

A water softener will take away most of the contaminants that would scrape up your copper pipes over time.

Water softeners gained’t have an effect on your water strain, nevertheless. In case your water strain appears abnormally excessive, you will have to take different measures. Test the strain meter in your water predominant. It needs to be between 40-60 PSI. Whether it is larger, then it’s best to ask your municipal water provider why. If they’ll’t decide a trigger, put money into a water strain limiter to maintain excessive strain from hurting your pipes. A plumber from Mike Diamond may also help handle water strain issues in your house.

Localized Injury or Poor Software of Protecting Coating

In case your pipes had been improperly put in or are poor high quality, then we extremely advocate changing them as quickly as doable. Do inexperienced copper pipes have to be changed? An expert plumbing inspection can let you know if you must exchange your pipes or if much less main fixes are doable.

Non-Uniformities within the Metallic Construction

It could be doable to switch outdated joints, fittings, or outdated segments of pipe used all through your private home. We advocate an expert plumbing inspection to find out the place the problematic pipe materials is and what it’s best to do about it.

Copper Pipe Leak Restore in Los Angeles

Pinhole leaks in copper pipes are a frustratingly frequent drawback for householders all through the US. Fortuitously, they’re pretty simple to repair. When you’ve got a copper pipe leaking in your house, name Mike Diamond for quick {and professional} restore or alternative. 

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