In a recent post, we approached one of the major problems that can hinder a home’s air conditioning system: refrigerant leaks caused by corrosion linked to chemicals in the air. In this post, we’re going to look at a similar problem that can negatively affect your home’s plumbing: pinhole leaks.
Few other plumbing troubles are as hard to catch, and yet so damaging, as pinhole leaks. These small holes that open up in water pipes can go undetected for long enough that the escape of water can inflict large amounts of property damage to walls and floors. Should you ever suspect pipe leaking of any kind, call a professional plumber right away for leak detection and repair services.
What causes pinhole leaks
As with the formicary corrosion that creates leaking along refrigerant lines, pinhole leaks occur because of a chemical reaction with copper. Copper is a corrosion-resistant metal, but with a few important exceptions. One of these is formicary corrosion from formic acid along the copper surface, but this is rarely a problem for copper water pipes. The issue for pipes comes from within: chemicals found in the water supply. These chemicals create pitting corrosion, a gray patch along the pipe that weakens it with numerous tiny holes. Unlike standard corrosion, which affects general areas, pitting corrosion occurs in small spots, which makes it tough to find. Enough pitting corrosion will lead to tiny pinhole leaks springing up.
The exact cause of pitting corrosion is not well understood. Chlorides are the most likely source of it happening in homes. Unfortunately, there is not much defense against this; regular maintenance and pipe inspections are the best methods to catch the problem before it turns into actual leaking.
Red Rock Mechanical in Burlington, VT has the plumbers you need for your regular plumbing inspections as well as for detection and repair of pinhole leaks caused by pitting corrosion.