4 Ways to Prevent Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes
When we imagine plumbing leaks in homes, we tend to picture dramatic issues such as a broken pipe or a bursting water heater flooding the basement. There’s no question these happen and are serious issues. But one of the most dangerous and sneaky leaks can be relatively small – pinholes in copper pipes.
Copper has been a popular material used in plumbing since the 1940s, and it’s still widely used today. However, one drawback to copper pipes is that they’re prone to developing tiny holes, called pinhole leaks.
What are pinhole leaks?
Pinhole leaks in copper pipes occur from the inside out – meaning that corrosion works it’s way from the inside of the pipe until it reaches the exterior surface. A few ways to prevent pinhole leaks include knowing your pipes’ age, reducing the water velocity, checking the fittings, and installing a water softener system.
Ways to prevent pinhole leaks
All plumbing products wear out eventually, so corrosion in copper pipes is inevitable. However, there are methods for slowing down the corrosion process and avoiding pinhole leaks from being destructive in your home.
- Know how old your pipes are. It’s always better to replace plumbing a bit too early than too late. If your copper pipes are over 20 years old, then you will want to look out for pinhole leaks or replace the old pipes before they have a chance to leak.
- Reduce the water velocity. If water and mineral deposits travel too quickly through pipes, they can add extra wear-and-tear to the inside. Have a plumber check that the water velocity of your hot and cold water is appropriate.
- Check the pipe fitting – Fittings (the pieces that connect pieces of straight pipe) can provide early warning signs that copper plumbing is wearing out. Look for evidence of small leaks at the fittings. If the plumbing was installed incorrectly, the fittings may have been placed too close together, which could increase water turbulence and make your pipes break down faster.
- Install a water softener system. If you have hard water (which about 85% of homes do), there are high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Why hard water isn’t generally hazardous to your health, the minerals can accelerate the corrosion that leads to pinhole leaks. A water softener system removes or balances out the mineral content of your home’s water supply so that it will be gentler on your pipes, fixtures, and appliances.
Expert plumbers in Chicago
Pinhole leaks can sneak up on you – and by the time you see them, the damage inside the pipe is already done. When that happens, you need a knowledgeable plumber who can fix the problem quickly and to the highest standards. Call Rocket Plumbing today at 773-219-1200.