copper pipe failure (pin holes)

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  • This topic has 5 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 20 years ago by Avatar photoGarySlusser.
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    • #277197
      Avatar photoMasterPlumbers

        My hot water copper lines are failing, big time. My house is 25 yrs old. At first I used Plex couplings when I thought my problem was confined. Now I’m replacing sections of pipe at a time, with several holes. My ceilings are starting to look like swiss cheese. There are numerous bluish-green deposits within the pipe. And discoloration at those spots on the outside. Appears to be failing from the inside out. I have not had a failure with the cold water lines. If this is water related, why don’t my neighbors have the same problem? I’m on city water which was treated for years with chlorine and now, I believe, with amonia. Thanks.

      • #295690
        Avatar photoDUNBAR

          Have your water tested to determine what is causing the issue to only be affecting the hot side, maybe something related to the water heater.

          It is a isolated case, as most are, in the situation you are having.

          If your correct the problem, the piping will not fall apart.

        • #295691
          Avatar photoGarySlusser

            The neighbors may have the problem but no pinholes yet. Water quality related pinhole leaks in copper tubing is a widespread problem in many areas of North America. Especially the NW, upper Midwest across to the east coast from FL to ME. If in doubt, check with the EPA or do a goggle search for pinholes + “copper tubing” typed exactly.

            Have an electrician check the building’s ground electrode for a good ground and then the plumbing for proper bonding, especially the water heater.

            Have your hot and cold water tested for pH, DO (dissolved oxygen) and CO2 content. Water treament dealers are much more likely to have experience with the causes of this type problem than plumbers that are unknowledgeable about water quality issues. If you have a hot water recirc system you should have the water tested for silica, TDS, chlorides and bacteria content also. Bacteria will be killed by turning the temp up to 140f for a couple hours/days.

            Quality Water Associates

          • #295692
            Avatar photoRobert Stephen Morton
            • #295693
              Avatar photoDUNBAR

                Great web link Thank you for providing such good knowledge.

                That one is going into my favorites link

                From what I gather and according to the accurate information in the link, copper piping accounts for 80% of all piping used, while 20% accounts for the remainder of other materials used.


                Amazing how some like to take the pinhole issue out of context.

                “Your best interest is secured by making the right decisions the first time.”

                » This message has been edited by DUNBAR on 23 March 2004

              • #295694
                Avatar photoGarySlusser

                  Yes thanks Robert, excellent info!

                  “… Any physical or chemical condition that interferes, however, with the initial film formation process, or results in damage to the film, can cause accelerated pitting type corrosion and short term failure of the copper tubing. Short term failures generally occur within 1 to 6 years of placing the plumbing system into service [6, 13].”

                  Further down:
                  “They provide information useful in judging the quality of potable water delivered to their homes and the effect that water likely has on their copper plumbing.”

                  And on down is gobs more corrosion cause information.

                  Everyone should read the whole article!

                  Quality Water Associates

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