Copper pipes made today should last at least 20 years. Pinhole leaking, a very serious plumbing problem, can cause this to not always be the case. Pinhole leaks can only be found in copper pipes. Copper pipe can develop pinhole leaks in as little as two years after installation if it is exposed to the right conditions.

A pinhole leak in copper pipes is a common problem throughout the US. Pinhole leaks can occur when the pH value of your water changes. You should be familiar with the basics of a pinhole leak and how to avoid it if you have copper pipes. Here are some places to start:

What is a pinhole leak?

We describe pinhole leaks to be: “The perforation of copper tube or pipe used for domestic water distribution as a result of pitting corrosion initiated at the interior/waterside and the subsequent leakage of liquid.”

Pinhole leaks are usually very small, often less than 1/8″ wide, and shaped like pinholes. Pinhole leaks are the result of an increasing corrosion problem inside a copper pipe. Pinhole leaks, in other words, are more than a problem. They also indicate long-term corrosion damage.

What causes a copper pipe pinhole leakage?

According to the Maryland Task Force, pinhole leaks can be caused by pitting corrosion. This is because the metal eventually wears away more and becomes a “pit” (or “hole”), which in turn causes a pinhole leak.

The Task Force found that pitting corrosion can occur for one of the following reasons.

  1. The protective oxide film that covers copper pipes can be damaged by chemical or mechanical means.
  2. Poor application or damage localized to protective coatings
  3. Non-uniformities found in the component’s metal structure, e.g. Nonmetallic inclusions

These three conditions can cause a pinhole leak in copper pipes.

Chemical damage

This is the main reason for a pinhole leak in a copper pipe. Although your home’s PH value does not have any effect on the quality or safety of your water, it can impact your pipes. Folsom’s investigation into a pinhole leak in copper pipes found that water’s pH value can interact with temperature, sulfate, and/or pipe metals to create the conditions for copper pitting.

If any of these conditions occur in your pipes, the chemical reaction will cause the protective oxide coating to eat away at the metal pipes. This coating can wear away in very small areas, making the pipe highly susceptible to corrosion.

Mechanical damage

Your pipes may be damaged by physical contaminants like sediment and heavy metals as they travel through the water supply. If your water supply is not well-treated or hardened, this could happen. Abnormally high water pressure can also cause copper pipes to lose their oxide coating over time.

Poor application of protective coatings or damage to localized

Although it is unlikely, but not impossible, copper pipes may be of poor quality or improperly installed. If your pipes were not professionally installed or retrofitted, this is more likely. Copper pipes that are damaged may not be as resistant to corrosion as they should be. This can lead to pinhole leakage and other problems.

The metal structure is not uniform

This is especially true if the pipes are only partially retrofitted to your home. The tension that results from two metals interacting in a solvent such as water can cause them to wear apart. This tension can cause pinhole leaks in copper pipes if it wears away the oxide coating.

This post was written by Joey Denick. Joey is the Owner and Operator of Clog Kings. At Clog Kings, LLC, we pride ourselves on our dedication and efficiency. We know you don’t have time to waste. That’s why we work fast to get your home or commercial building back up and running in no time. If you are looking for Plumbers in Zephyrhills FL then look no further because we got you covered!

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