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Ideally, if your home has modern plumbing then the plumber installed copper pipes throughout it. Copper is a heavy-duty metal and should last for at least two decades. However, like most things, not every pipe is probably going to make it to its full lifespan. One of the biggest problems with copper piping is pinhole leaking, which any plumbing service will tell you is one of the number one problems with copper piping. In lieu of a better choice piping material, it is simply something that you have to be aware of in your New Orleans, LA home.
In fact, depending on how you treat your plumbing system it is possible that pinhole leaks can develop in just over two years which is a very frustrating thing to face as a homeowner. While there are a few things you can do to prevent pinhole leaking, if you already have a leak then it is time to call a plumber and get it replaced. Staying on top of the situation can help you salvage your piping system so that you aren’t looking at a complete replacement. If you have copper pipes, here are a few things you need to know.
The 411 on Pinhole Leaks
To start, it may be helpful to learn just what a pinhole leak is. As the name denotes, a pinhole leak is a small hole inside of a copper tube that is the result of corrosion that forms along the inner walls of the piping over time. Eventually, the corrosion eats away at the pipe until a small leak is able to emerge, helping to relieve the pressure the pipe feels. Usually, the holes are not very big, which is why you may not even notice them although a trained New Orleans, LA plumber should be able to identify them.
The pinhole is considered one of the final stages of corrosion. First, the pipe starts to corrode, eventually rusting and spreading down the pipe. A combination of poor plumbing practices and continual water pressure continues to hit against the weak point until the pinhole leaks start to pop out. While the leak is worrisome and you need to call a plumbing company to troubleshoot the issue, what should be more troubling is that you have a pinhole leak at all. Even more so if you have a newer home. Corrosion is rarely isolated to one place in your plumbing system, so if you have one hole there are probably more buildings.
What Causes Pinhole Leaks?
The number one way to prevent pinhole leaks is by learning what causes them so you can adjust your plumbing habits accordingly. As mentioned, most of the time pinhole leaks are the result of localized corrosion in areas of piping. If you are lucky the corrosion will only build in one area of your pipe and collect forming a cavity until it caves in on itself creating the hole. There are three main reasons why this occurs according to most plumbers, which means there are three areas of concern you may need to address in your home plumbing system.
If you have heavy water or a large amount of sediment in your water then it may be tearing out the insides of your piping as it passes through. This is an obvious issue since you can’t do much about untreated water or well water. You might consider investing in a home water softener which can be expensive upfront, but any plumber will tell you is cheaper than replacing your entire plumbing system prematurely. High water pressure in your home can also slowly eat away at the oxide coating that is meant to prevent copper piping.
In general, if you have had to call the plumber for various pinhole leaks the problem is probably chemical-based. While the pH value of your home water will not cause a safety issue or change the quality of your water, it will negatively impact your pipes over time. There are four different issues in general that affect the health of your piping: bacteria, temperature, sulfate content, and the piping metal. If you are having issues with any of these then the chemical reaction that occurs against the metal will eventually eat away at all of the oxide coating placed inside of the copper pipes until corrosion sets in.
While copper piping is now the go-to piping material in most homes, some retrofitted homes have a blend of piping. In this situation, the plumbers may have used a blend of copper and another type of metal. Whenever two different metals meet up either at joints or as separate piping, the tension of the continual water against both will result in tension. This type of tension will also eat off the oxide coating resulting in pinhole leaks over time.
Poor Quality of Piping
While this is hopefully not the case, there is always the slight chance that the piping that was installed into your home was of poor quality. If you have recently purchased your home this is always a possibility, although hopefully the plumber was honest or the last owners were. Both poor quality pipes and incorrectly installed pipes can lead to damage. In fact, damaged pipes are more likely to corrode over time resulting in even bigger issues than just pinhole leaks. Therefore, you want to always inspect the piping system thoroughly when purchasing a new home to guard against this possibility.
Of course, if you have a pinhole leak right now this information is not terribly helpful. What you need is a plumber in New Orleans, LA that can help you solve your problem. bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of New Orleans is always happy to investigate pinhole leaks. Give us a call today so we can get to the bottom of your issues.