Replace Leaking Copper Pipes
LESLIE: Bob in New York has a question about a copper pipe. What’s going on?
BOB: Hi. I have little, tiny holes in my hot water heater pipe.
BOB: Three-quarter and half-inch. I was wondering is there any way to prevent that.
TOM: Typically, those holes are caused by the acidity of the water reacting with the copper and they’re called pinholes and there’s really nothing that you can do about it. If you have that kind of water you may want to consider replacing those pieces of pipe that actually developed the holes in it. How severe is this? Just a couple of places?
BOB: Yes, and it’s only in the hot water system and there are a couple of places but there’s a piece downstairs that’s been there for 30 years and then there’s a new piece that’s been up for 11 years upstairs in the bathroom.
TOM: Well, both of them have lasted quite a while. If you’re going to do any work in that area or if it’s exposed, I would consider replacing it. You could use a plastic pipe instead.
TOM: I would not put back any walls. If you have anything open I would take the opportunity to replace the pipe. But if you’re getting pinholes after a pipe that’s 10 to 30 years old, I wouldn’t panic over that. I would just consider it normal maintenance that you have to replace. I know we like to say that copper lasts forever but the truth is that it doesn’t and it does react sometimes with the acidity in the water and develops small holes and need to be replaced.
BOB: OK, thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome, Bob. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.