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Country Discussion Topics
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Recurring pinholes in copper water pipes
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Tom A    Posted 01-30-2002 at 04:30:04       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Have some good friends with a recurring problem that I've never heard of before, but figgered some of y'all might have experienced it.

They've got a 30 year old house (new to me!). It has copper fresh water piping. In the last couple of years, the copper pipe has developed pinholes periodically and soaks through ceilings, walls etc. They get a plumber out, he replaces the section in question (big bucks each trip). Few months later, it's the same thing in another place. Their plumber is suggesting they just re-plumb the whole house with plastic (Really big bucks).

Any idea what's causing it, and more importantly, any better solutions than ripping out all the existing pipes and re-plumbing?


RayP(MI)    Posted 02-02-2002 at 09:52:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Had the same problem, only it was only at one place on a tube that fed water to the humidifire on the furance. Don't remember how many times we replaced that dumb thing. Would go for a while and develop a pinhole in exactly the same spot. Finally took out the humidifier as it was doing fummy things to the furance, like dripping water in the burner chamber.

rhudson    Posted 01-30-2002 at 20:25:48       [Reply]  [Send Email]
are the pin holes just past a coupling or fitting? if so it may be cavitation. high speed water flow and is agravitated by excess solder in pipeor not using the reamer when cutting tube.

one other thing    Posted 01-30-2002 at 06:24:18       [Reply]  [Send Email]
If it is any consolation to your friends, my neighbors house is just 18 years old. If you have this electrial charge thing going on it doesn't matter how old, or what quality the copper pipe is: it is going to corrode enough to leak.
The plastic pipe is not hard to install. You can cut the stuff with a hacksaw, or a bonesaw, or 12 pt. handsaw. The repairs can be done by you guys. A little bit at a time. Put in valves with each new section. Use the pipe primer before you do the glue-up.
I've sweated a ton of cooper, and I've glued a ton of pvc plastic. Other than the initial fumes while glueing: I'd go plastic. Do it yourselves. Be patient, do it in stages. Put in cut off valves to isolate the work. Plumbers are sure to disagree with the 'do it yerselfers' but they'll be the first to do their own carpentry work... hehe. Ever see that?

Mike in Va.    Posted 01-30-2002 at 06:05:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hello Tom,
My neighbor has the same trouble. We discovered that it was caused by the high mineral content in his water. The water develops an electrical charge as it passes through the system. Electrolisis. The simple solution to stopping the charge is by installing a dielectric coupling. The local plumbing supply shop will have them. It may be too late to save some of the pipes but it will prolong the detioration. In the meantime the redo in plastic can be done sections at a time. Good luck. A friend in need is a friend indeed.

John    Posted 01-30-2002 at 06:04:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Check the water ph. I had the same problem and it was caused by acidic water. I replumbed with CPVC.

Les...fortunate    Posted 01-30-2002 at 04:57:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I'm not a plumber. However, my guess is that the original plumbing was not of a heavy enough schedule to last. Somebody saved a few bucks in the beginning and now it's time to "pay the piper", pun intended.
This was probably caused by naturally occurring chemicals in the water. Redoing the whole thing is the only way to get rid of the headaches. Even if the water was somehow "fixed", the pipes are too far gone at this point to try to save.

bob    Posted 01-30-2002 at 08:29:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
if you consider costs you might think what if water linem breaks when nobody home can add up to a big batch of change. i,d go with plastic and size it big enough

Brenda Euwer    Posted 02-21-2004 at 07:53:46       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We have a 9 year old house! pin holes in pipes, probaby
from a grounded wire on pipes in the boiler room! we
suppoesedly have to redirect everything! we have radiant
floor heat so this is in the way too! have to redirect pipes in
the or on the wall! cannot belive this is happening . we just
bought this house - have only been in it one month! do we
dig- or put pipes on the wall or what! very confused ... is
the pipe all the way to the well ruined ? how do you tell?


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