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Pinhole Leaks: What You Need to Know

Most of the plumbing pipes used in today’s homes are made of copper, and for good reason. Copper is long lasting, rust-resistant, and doesn’t bleed into the water that runs through it. This is in contrast to iron and lead pipes, which frequently rusted out and leaked dangerous material into the water supply.

As great as copper pipes are, however, they are not perfect. There is still one type of corrosion that can cause trouble for copper pipes: pitted corrosion. Read on to find out more about pitted corrosion, and the pinhole leaks that it can cause.

Pitted Corrosion

There are two very unusual things about pitted corrosion. The first is that it is focused in a relatively small area of the material it affects, in contrast to oxidization that is more spread out. The second is that it works from the exterior of the pipe inward, again in contrast to rust that starts inside the pipe and works outwards. These two characteristics allow pitted corrosion to open up leaks very quickly, though the leaks themselves are very small. This is why they are called “pinhole leaks.”

Pinhole Leaks

Pinhole leaks are only large enough to release one or two drops of water at a time. That may not seem like a lot, but it is still enough to cause significant water damage if allowed to continue. Pinhole leaks are too small to display any outward symptoms unless you examine the pipe. Since your pipes are largely out of sight, inside the walls and floors of your house, you often won’t notice that you have a pinhole leak until it has rotted out the surrounding area.

The only way to stop pinhole leaks from causing too much damage is to catch them early on. If you haven’t had your plumbing professionally inspected in a year or more, call SPS Mechanical Inc. We provide plumbing services throughout Southern New Jersey.

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