What Causes Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes?

What Causes Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes?

Copper pipes are popular in homes because of their longevity and quality, but that doesn’t mean these lines won’t be susceptible to issues in the future.

Pinhole leaks are unique to copper piping. The tiny holes develop over time due to erosion and can lead to plumbing failure. Continue reading to find out what causes pinhole leaks in copper pipes.

What Is a Pinhole Leak?

Pinhole leaks are slow-developing leaks from corrosive materials inside copper pipes. They’re called pinhole leaks due to their tiny size, less than a 1/8 inch wide. They look like, you guessed it, a pinhole!

The leak represents a worse corrosion issue on the pipe’s interior. The small leak isn’t the big picture; it points the homeowner and plumber to the larger problem inside the line. The copper piping has undergone significant corrosion for the tiny leak to appear.

Hard Water Affects Pipes

Most pinhole leaks appear due to the water composition that flows through copper pipes. Hard water, highly acidic water, or basic water contribute to pipe corrosion. As a refresher, acidic water has a high pH, and basic water has a low pH.

The minerals in the water supply flow through the pipes at elevated pressures and wear down the lining. Fittings and elbows are highly susceptible to pinhole leaks because the water changes direction at these spots.

Improper Installation or Poor Quality Pipes

The plumber or previous homeowner could have installed the pipes improperly, or they could be of poor quality. These issues are less likely, but they’re not impossible. You’re more likely to see this if you or another unprofessional installed or retrofitted the pipes. Retrofitting is when a pipe or other equipment is modified to fit a current piping system.

Retrofitted and improperly installed copper pipes may not have the same resistance to erosion as they should. This lowered resistance allows pinhole leaks to form.

Pinhole Leak Signs

Are you nervous your copper pipes have pinhole leaks? These are signs to look for that signify something is happening.

You’re dealing with a leak if you have a higher water bill. All leaks will raise your water bill. Lower water pressure is another sign of leaky pipes. Listen for dripping sounds to determine if you have a leak.

You have a leak if you notice mold or mildew growth around or near your copper pipes. Condensation on the lines is another sign. Pipes should never feel moist or wet to the touch.

Understanding the causes of pinhole leaks can help you prevent them in your home. If you need to replace any piping in your house, turn to Craft Supply. Our brass pipe fittings are among the many quality products we offer our customers. Look to the best when you need remodeling supplies.