A pinhole leak is a tiny hole in a pipe that spurts out a steady stream of water or spray. These leaks occur when the pipe has eroded from within. Though copper piping usually lasts for decades, there are circumstances that shorten its lifespan, causing the piping to wear out prematurely. For instance, the water in some areas of Los Angeles County has a very high mineral content that can cause pipes to erode earlier than anticipated which then requires a repiping.
There are a few other factors that can cause pinhole leaks:
- Poor Installation – If the piping has been installed by someone who does not know how to cut and join copper segments properly this can accelerate the corrosion of the pipes. When the pipes are installed the cuts must be clean and the pipe reamed out properly. Reaming the pipe means that after the pipe is cut, there will be a lip on the inside that needs to be flattened. If the lip is left there it can create extra turbulence as the water flows through it and inevitably the pipes will begin to wear out prematurely.
- High Water Pressure – If you live in an area that has high water pressure your pipes will most likely wear out in less time than in areas where the water pressure is lower. This is because increased pressure means more turbulence in the pipes and thus wear and tear. If you also have a high mineral content in your water, combined with high water pressure, it is almost a guarantee your pipes will wear out more quickly.
- Aging Pipes – Even copper piping under excellent circumstances will eventually wear out. Pinhole leaks are often the first sign that it is time to put in new pipes.
Pinhole leaks should not be ignored or just patched up. They are signs your pipes are corroded and you could start to have a lot of plumbing problems. It is important that when you do make the decision to repipe that you do it with a company that has experienced and professional installers. A poor installation job will shorten the duration that your pipes are in good condition and cost you more money in the long run.