Many older homes are plumbed with copper pipe. Copper was formerly a preferred plumbing material because it’s generally resistant to corrosion and very malleable, making it easy to work with. However, copper is far from perfect as a plumbing solution, and one of its primary problems is its tendency to develop pinhole leaks.
What Are Pinhole Leaks?
First things first – what causes pinhole leaks, and why are they so destructive? When corrosion inside copper pipes finally breaks through to the outside, the result is a pinhole leak. These leaks may be tiny, but they’re a serious problem to have—if left untreated, pinhole leaks can cause an entire plumbing system to fail.
Early signs of pinhole leaks are difficult to detect with the untrained eye, but there are ways to tell when pipes have developed pinhole leaks. Here are some common warning signs.
- Pipes appear dimpled
- Weathered-looking copper
- Sharp increase in water bills
- Audible dripping
- Water stains or discoloration on walls
- Problems with mold or mildew
Options for Addressing Pinhole Leaks
If a plumbing inspection reveals pinhole leaks, it’s time to repair or replace the pipes. Repair may be an option for those with less severe pinhole leaks. Copper pipes can last about 20-50 years, so a plumber may also recommend a simple repair instead of a replacement for pipes that are less than 20 years old and, therefore, less likely to be fully corroded.
In cases where pinhole leaks are all clustered near the same spot, a plumber may suggest replacing just that portion of the pipe, rather than repiping the entire system. However, repiping may be necessary when pinhole leaks appear frequently, or for copper plumbing that is more than 20 years old.
The Trenchless Option for Pipe Replacement
Property owners who are facing pipe replacement should be aware of all their options. Traditional plumbing techniques that require excavation of the entire pipe are disruptive, time-consuming and costly, and leave property owners with damage to landscaping and hardscaping. However, trenchless sewer pipe lining requires minimal digging, expense and mess, and experts in this technology can typically complete the repair process in a fraction of the time compared with old-fashioned plumbing work.
With a trenchless sewer repair – also known as cured-in-place pipe lining – the plumbing professional will gradually guide a tube coated with epoxy resin into the damaged pipe. When the resin is fully dried, it results in a brand-new pipe within the existing pipeline. The new, seamless pipe is extremely durable and resistant to future cracks, leaks and corrosion.
Specialized Pipe Technologies Makes Leaks a Thing of the Past
Specialized Pipe Technologies is an industry leader in non-invasive pipe solutions for home and business owners in 10 locations across North America. Founded in Florida in the early 1990s, SPT has more than 20 years of experience in plumbing repair and replacement. They specialize in cured-in-place pipe lining, and are the No. 1 installer of Nu Flow Technologies’ patented pipe lining system in the United States.