Causes of Copper Pipes Failure

Copper Pipes Failure

Causes of Copper Pipes Failure

Copper is the most widely used material in plumbing systems due to its ease of use and high resistance to erosion from liquids and gas. Copper has been used in water supply for both residential and commercial infrastructures for over 50 years.

Just like any other material in plumbing; Copper, likewise does not last forever. Copper is often projected to have a life span of 20-25 years but due to many various circumstances that is not always the case. High temperature spots on the floor or wall, soaked carpets, walls and ceilings and drastic changes in the water bill are often tall tale signs of Copper Pipes failure.

Copper Pipes Failure

“Pinhole Leak”… the two words you hope to never hear your Plumbing Technician say. What exactly is a Pinhole Leak you may wonder? While your technician may give you an over simplified answer, the actual definition is; a pinhole breakthrough in the internal surface of the copper piping due to pitting corrosion. Pitting corrosion is described as; “the non-uniform localized attack of the inner wall of copper tubing”.  Although fairly rare, pitting corrosion can be extremely costly.  Unfortunately pitting corrosion is nothing that the homeowner can control, it is often caused by changes in water chemistry.

Pitting Corrosion

The other cause of Copper Pipes Failure is when the copper tubing installed, is too small in diameter for the pressure and flow of water. The high velocity can erode the protective coating inside the tubing causing pitting corrosion to occur.

What Are My Options

Unfortunately, without routine check ups from a trusted professional it can be hard to know if pitting corrosion is occurring. If you have an older house it may be good to have a local Plumbing Technician check your copping piping, it is better to act early before any substantial damage occurs.

There are several repair options that can be taken if pitting corrosion has occurred; external solder, replacing section of tube, coating leak with internal epoxy. In many cases quick fixes often lead to more damage down the road. It is often most common for a complete re-piping if the damage has become too great for repair. 

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