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Pinhole Leaks Sound Small, But They’re Big Trouble


Last year we wrote a post about hidden leaks in homes and how they can lead to major trouble with high water bills and water damage. There are many ways leaks can begin in residential plumbing and remain hidden from sight for a long time. One of the most common is the pinhole leak, and we want to shine a spotlight on this problem in today’s post. The more you know about this insidious problem in your plumbing in Medina, OH, the easier it will be for you to spot the signs and call us to take care of it.

The Basics of Pinhole Leaks

The name pinhole leaks gives you an idea of the size of these leaks, but the definition goes past just how big they are. Pinhole leaks start through specific circumstances: chemical reactions in copper pipes.

Copper replaced other types of plumbing metals several decades ago because it is lightweight, inexpensive, and resistant to corrosion. Although copper pipes are better all-around for home plumbing than galvanized steel, lead, and cast iron, they have their own set of issues, such as pinhole leaks.

Copper is susceptible to a specific type of corrosion called formicary corrosion. This corrosion starts either outside or inside the pipe and leads to small, gray patches along the copper where the metal has weakened. The exact cause of formicary corrosion isn’t fully understood, but it may be connected to formaldehyde in the air and various chemicals and minerals in the water. 

The corroded spots on the pipe will weaken to the point where water starts to escape. These are pinhole leaks.

The Pinhole Leak Problem

Any leak is trouble. It wastes water and also allows an accumulation of moisture within the walls and floors to cause damage and allow for the growth of mold and mildew. Pinhole leaks can remain unseen for so long that they create lasting water damage the mold growth requiring expensive mold remediation.

There’s another concern, which is pinhole leaks spread throughout the plumbing. If leaks are occurring in one spot, they are probably occurring elsewhere because of chemical reactions. This is why having leak detection done is so important: it allows plumbers to find out where else leaks are developing so they can solve the problem at the core. 

Fixing Pinhole Leaks

If you have plumbing that’s more than 20 years old, the emergence of pinhole leaks often means you need extensive repiping done—this is the most effective way to fix the problem and stop it from occurring again in the near future. You can depend on our plumbers to handle the repiping, which may need to be done for the entire house.

For newer plumbing, we can replace the affected pipes and then make recommendations for water treatment systems to lower the chemicals leading to pinhole leaks. Water softeners are sometimes helpful. You can trust that our team will find the best way to protect your plumbing and house. 

Call Crown Group Ohio for all your plumbing needs in Akron, OH and the surrounding areas. Your comfort experts since 1963.

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