Repair Pinhole Leaks in Plumbing Pipes
LESLIE: Tim in Texas is dealing with a leaky house. Tell us about the problem.
TIM: Well, I’ve got a 13-year-old or 14-year-old home that’s on a slab and the copper pipe underneath the slab develops pinholes in it and they have to bust out the concrete to patch the holes. And I was wondering if there’s something that they’re overlooking.
TOM: Well, pinholes form in copper pipes when the water is somewhat acidic. Now, this is a – these are heating pipes in the slab?
TIM: No, it’s the water pipes, you know; runs up to a sink or to a washing machine.
TOM: Right. Have you installed any type of water treatment to try to lower the acidity of the water in your house?
TIM: Well, there’s a water-softening system that’s underground out in the valley.
TOM: OK. Tim, you know, there’s a good article on our website at MoneyPit.com; it’s got a lot of information on this problem. It’s called “Repairing Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes.” You can find it if you simply go to MoneyPit.com and search on “repairing pinhole leaks in copper pipes”; you will find it instantly. And it gives you a lot of detail on the different types of pitting – there are actually three different types: type I, type II and type III – and a link to a complete study that was done on this, called the Toolbase Case Study on Pinhole Leaks.
And finally, if you get to a point where you’ve torn anything open and you’re at a place where you can replace a pipe, what we would recommend you do is always use PEX. It stands for cross-linked polyethylene and it’s a type of polyethylene piping that obviously will not develop any type of further leaking issues. So if you do end up tearing things open, that’s what you want to fix it with, OK?
TIM: Well, I’ll take a look at it and see what I can do.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.