Go Back  The Hull Truth - Boating and Fishing Forum > BOATING FORUMS > Dockside Chat
Reload this Page >

3/4" Copper pipe keeps creating leaks

Notices

3/4" Copper pipe keeps creating leaks

Old 01-14-2010, 01:19 PM
  #1  
SIM
Senior MemberVendorCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Washington Island,Wi USA
Posts: 13,904
Default 3/4" Copper pipe keeps creating leaks

Has anyone seen where copper pipe for house plumbing gets pinhole leaks in various random locations?

I have changed some of the plumbing around in our hose several years ago and I have had to replace 4 or so 90 degree fittings and a couple of small section of pipe. Every time its been a small pinhole that sprays a very fine mist of water. No rhyme or reason with the locations. The only thing is the fittings were purchased at our local hardware store. Of course.........they have never heard of it. And this is not from freezing.

I had another go last night in our utility room on the incoming pipe to the water softener. After looking at this leak, its a very slight split(1/8" or so) going the length of the 3/4" pipe. The inside of the pipe is clean. No corrosion. I fixed it and added a water hammer pipe adjacent to it since this is the second time I have had to fix one in this area. First time it was a 90 degree fitting. Never hear any slamming when we shut off faucets ect.

Anyone ever heard of this? Its getting aggravating.
SIM is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:30 PM
  #2  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Jax Fla,Horseshoe Beach Fla
Posts: 13,398
Default

all the time,once it starts getting pin holes it is time to repipe.other wise you will be chasing leaks forever
tommyr904 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:30 PM
  #3  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: On The Razors Edge
Posts: 9,934
Default

ABSOLUTELY! And from what I've been told (I'm in the remodeling business) is that it is due to a grounding issue related to electrolosis but I can't get a definetive confirmation on that. This has been going on for years and it usually takes 10-15 years for it to occur. It's also usually on the "hot" side. The last occurrence was in a house where we put in a new kitchen and one of her exisiting copper pipes had a pinhole leak coming off the water heater.
How old are those fittings??
Very rare to see this in relatively new installations.

On a side note, do you know who owns the 2nd largest copper mine in the world? CHINA!
And guess who purchased THE largest copper mine in the world in 2009.
Yep, CHINA!
Just1more is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:33 PM
  #4  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: San Diego
Posts: 4,683
Default

Yes, as stated. COmes from using the plumbing as the ground, rather than a ground rod I have been told, and from stray current from improper neutral circuits.
doughnut is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:35 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sebastian, Florida
Posts: 186
Default

In the past I've had to fix numerous pinhole leaks in copper water pipes both in my
home & my inlaws home. At the time both homes had well water that had alot of iron
(as well as who knows what else) in it. What would happen is the pipe would erode
from the inside, making the walls very thin & eventually spring pinhole leaks. The pipe
became so thin in spots the pipe would crush when trying to cut out the bad section
with a pipe cutter.
The problem was strictly with the cold water pipes, never had a problem with the
hot. Switching to city water solved the problem in both homes.
hardwired is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:45 PM
  #6  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,654
Default

...so the three-step program is to:

1. Determine whether your have a ground rod or whether the main ground is attached to a copper pipe. Can't hurt to sink a rod into the ground.
2. If you use well water, get it sampled and find out whether any of the impurities are bad for copper.
3. Is Pex an option in your area? If you re-plumb, consider using something other than copper.

Anything else we should mention?
bamaboy473 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:49 PM
  #7  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: MA and ME
Posts: 16,795
Default

I've never heard of it caused from using the water pipe as a ground. In fact we are on a well. Electrical ground is to ground rods, not the well casing. Plumber left yesterday after repairing a pin hole in a 3/8 feed to the ice makers. It's not the first time he's been here. House is coming up on 20 years old.
I guess I call BS in that theory.

One option is to replace it with PEX and be done with it forever. Using PEX is like pulling wire.
Mist-Rest is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:53 PM
  #8  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,654
Default

...and I wonder why somebody hasn't made a cheap PEX crimper yet. $88 for a pliers is bizarre.
bamaboy473 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:55 PM
  #9  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: On The Razors Edge
Posts: 9,934
Default

Originally Posted by Mist-Rest View Post
I've never heard of it caused from using the water pipe as a ground. In fact we are on a well. Electrical ground is to ground rods, not the well casing. Plumber left yesterday after repairing a pin hole in a 3/8 feed to the ice makers. It's not the first time he's been here. House is coming up on 20 years old.
I guess I call BS in that theory.

One option is to replace it with PEX and be done with it forever. Using PEX is like pulling wire.
PEX is crap. Mice love that stuff!
The copper piping is not "the ground". It just needs to be grounded, thats all. And if the clamp is galvanized, there will be an issue later on.
Just1more is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 01:58 PM
  #10  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
bsmit24's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Republic of West Florida
Posts: 17,695
Default

A copper pipe is still used to terminate the pex at faucets so if it is caused by the ph or mineral content of the water how do you deal with it? If it is caused by electricity, I believe pex is dielectric, then problems solved.
bsmit24 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 02:02 PM
  #11  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Jax Fla,Horseshoe Beach Fla
Posts: 13,398
Default

there are 2 kind of copper,L and M.my guess is you have type L made in China.here in Fla the biggest problems with copper is the fittings not the pipe.I fix more slab leaks because of the 90's.
tommyr904 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 02:11 PM
  #12  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: NC
Posts: 3,261
Default

They have had that problem in spades in the Washington DC /suburban Maryland area. Check the WSSC via Google and you may find some information. The best wisdom is it was due to additives that are put in the water during the filtration process along with traces of Al. The WSSC changed the additives they were using. You should let your water company know you are having a problem. Here are some links:

http://www.wsscwater.com/copperpipe/...igation_fs.pdf
http://www.wssc.dst.md.us/copperpipe/pinhole_charts.cfm

Last edited by itwonder; 01-14-2010 at 02:34 PM.
itwonder is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 02:20 PM
  #13  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: MA and ME
Posts: 16,795
Default

I don't allow mice in my house. (That's what I tell the wife anyway) I use bait everywhere as a preventative measure in every home I manage. In my personal home I have well over 4000 feet of PEX. Mice also like vinyl insulation from wiring. It doesn't mean that we only use EMT or BX in our homes does it? Control the smaller problems before they become bigger problems.

bsmit24 is correct about the water quality.

While tommy904 brings up a point. Type L (low oxygen) was designed for boiler work but it does have a heavy wall thickness. It does defeat the purpose when it's soldered to a POS formed thin wall fitting. It's also pretty hard to use it as tubing for ice makers and what not. Furthermore it's 100X better than using nylon tubing for these feeds. In fact a high rise in NYNY does not allow it's use for a very good reason. We had a ice maker prove that point as it damaged 2 floors below us. They changed the rules after the remodel.
Mist-Rest is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:12 PM
  #14  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Boat,Town Cove, Cape Cod. Live south of Boston.
Posts: 1,441
Default

There are actually 4 grades of copper pipe, DWV, (drain, waste, & vent, though you wont find it in smaller sizes, paper thin no pressure and now probaly replaced by pvc pipe) type M, light wall commonly used in base board heat where the psi is limited to 15. Type L is your intermediate wall and most commonly used in house plumbing. Type K is your heavier wall copper and has been used for the hot water lines. All your sweat fittings such as 90's & T's are supposed to be type K pressure rated. Hard water eats up copper pipe and in those situations it's best to use type K pipe.
PF-88 is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:19 PM
  #15  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location:
Posts: 1,909
Default

Originally Posted by PF-88 View Post
There are actually 4 grades of copper pipe, DWV, (drain, waste, & vent, though you wont find it in smaller sizes, paper thin no pressure and now probaly replaced by pvc pipe) type M, light wall commonly used in base board heat where the psi is limited to 15. Type L is your intermediate wall and most commonly used in house plumbing. Type K is your heavier wall copper and has been used for the hot water lines. All your sweat fittings such as 90's & T's are supposed to be type K pressure rated. Hard water eats up copper pipe and in those situations it's best to use type K pipe.

I have not seen K copper in years, soft L is all I can find anymore for ground works.
nanjemoycat is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:23 PM
  #16  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGERPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Maui and SoCal
Posts: 7,103
Default

I've always suspected that electrolysis could be a problem when using the piping for a ground, but reading the information in the links that itwonder posted above sure seems to indicate that a lack of phosphates in the water itself can rapidly accelerate corrosion in copper piping. I've seen copper last way more than 20 years with no evidence of any deterioration at all.
kerno is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:32 PM
  #17  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 7,290
Default

Originally Posted by SIM View Post
Has anyone seen where copper pipe for house plumbing gets pinhole leaks in various random locations?

I have changed some of the plumbing around in our hose several years ago and I have had to replace 4 or so 90 degree fittings and a couple of small section of pipe. Every time its been a small pinhole that sprays a very fine mist of water. No rhyme or reason with the locations. The only thing is the fittings were purchased at our local hardware store. Of course.........they have never heard of it. And this is not from freezing.

I had another go last night in our utility room on the incoming pipe to the water softener. After looking at this leak, its a very slight split(1/8" or so) going the length of the 3/4" pipe. The inside of the pipe is clean. No corrosion. I fixed it and added a water hammer pipe adjacent to it since this is the second time I have had to fix one in this area. First time it was a 90 degree fitting. Never hear any slamming when we shut off faucets ect.

Anyone ever heard of this? Its getting aggravating.
Is your water supplied by a well? Most likely acidic water.
NJFISH is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:35 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Bright Side of the Moon
Posts: 3,503
Default

If the house is on well water get it tested. Flux used to solder pipes can also be corrosive. Wipe any excess off and try not to get to much inside.
Mine Now is offline  
Old 01-14-2010, 03:40 PM
  #19  
Senior MemberCaptains Club Member
PLEDGERPLEDGERPLEDGERPLEDGER
 
Snapper Head's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Republic of West Florida - the ORIGINAL lone star state
Posts: 17,777
Default

It's caused by midgets poking the holes in the pipe.

And we know why


Big Al
Snapper Head is online now  
Old 01-14-2010, 05:41 PM
  #20  
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Jax Fla,Horseshoe Beach Fla
Posts: 13,398
Default

Originally Posted by kerno View Post
I've always suspected that electrolysis could be a problem when using the piping for a ground, but reading the information in the links that itwonder posted above sure seems to indicate that a lack of phosphates in the water itself can rapidly accelerate corrosion in copper piping. I've seen copper last way more than 20 years with no evidence of any deterioration at all.

thats the biggest problem around here.the city water is terrible.
tommyr904 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread