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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Are Pinhole Leaks and What Property Damage Effects Do They Have on Cresson, TX, Homes?

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County offers tips on dealing with pinhole leaks in copper piping.

The experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understand the complexity of a water damage disaster from the source of the intrusion to the cleanup and restoration solution. A minute leak such as a pinhole leak in corroded copper pipes can cause extensive damage if undetected and left to leak for weeks or even months. The challenge presented by secondary advanced damage requires experience, knowledge, skilled cleaning techniques, and advanced moisture detecting technology to identify the scope of the damage and effectively restore the damaged areas. A pinhole leak can create an environment that is conducive to a massive mold infestation. The professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County are trained and certified to tackle this mold infestation.

How to deal with pinhole leaks in copper piping

Modern plumbing solutions have come a long way. Types of water supply line pipes include galvanized piping, copper piping, PVC, CPVC, and PEX. Plastic piping innovations have transformed plumbing, allowing for easier installation and an overall more reliable, healthier, and affordable system.

One of the newest and most popular solutions is PEX which has been used in residential plumbing since the 1990s. According to popular home and garden website Bob Vila, “Polyethylene cross-linked pipe (PEX) is an affordable plastic tubing that’s popular for water supply lines because it doesn’t leach traces of rust or corrosion into the water as some other types of pipes (for instance, galvanized) have been known to do. It is also simple to install…Its physical flexibility makes it easy to work with and maneuver compared with more rigid PVC pipe…”

While most modern homes utilize the more innovative plastic options, plenty of homes have copper plumbing. As mentioned above, copper tubing is subject to corrosion, which can lead to pinhole leaks, an issue unique to copper pipes. These leaks develop when corrosion eats through the tubing. Pinhole leaks are highly undesirable for the owners of a home that has copper pipes. The leaks are often hidden behind walls or ceilings or masked by insulation. Still, even though the water intrusion is minute, over time, the scope of the damage can become extensive, and the cost of the repair and restoration can be very expensive.

Is it possible to prevent pinhole leaks from developing?

If the copper pipes are over twenty years old and have previously developed pinhole leaks, it is impossible to prevent the further spread of the leaks since the conditions necessary for pinhole leaks to form are already present. Efforts to repair the system will be futile and very expensive. The most cost-effective solution is to secure the services of a licensed, bonded, and insured plumber to install new plumbing throughout the entire house.

If the copper pipes are under twenty years old and are leak-free or almost leak-free, there are two options. These options include reducing turbulence in the pipes or installing a whole-house water softener if water hardness is a concern.

Option #1: Have a plumber inspect the system and reduce turbulence in the pipes.

A major cause of pinhole leaks is water turbulence, which occurs when water travels through a pipe at fluctuating speeds, such as when water flows through joints and elbows. At these junctions, the minerals carried by the water slowly wear away the inner lining of the pipes; once the inner lining is thinned or worn away, leaks are inevitable.

The plumber has three ways to lower turbulence in the copper pipes:

#1. Reduce the water velocity in the pipes. Water velocity in copper pipes should be stable at eight feet per second for cold water and five feet per second for hot water. Higher speeds result in greater turbulence and faster wear.

#2. Make sure piping is the correct size. Pipes that are too narrow increase water friction, which wears out the lining of the pipes.

#3. Make sure that pipe fittings are not too close together. When fittings are too close, water grates harder against the inner lining of the pipe, wearing them out. Re-spacing copper fittings can extend the life of the system, but the adjustments may be quite expensive.

Option #2: Install a whole-home water softener. This solution is for areas with “hard water” or heavily mineralized water. This arrangement can halt pitted corrosion which leads to pinhole leaks in copper pipes.

Locally owned and operated, SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is prepared to implement an immediate response when a homeowner or business needs water damage restoration services. For more information about water damage restoration in Glen Rose, TX, contact the damage restoration and cleaning company by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

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