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Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc. Blog

Pinhole Leaks: What They Are, Why They’re a Problem

There’s an adage in professional plumbing that there is no such thing as a “small” leak. A leak in a pipe may be tiny, but it is still a significant problem because it wastes water, lowers water pressure within the plumbing system, and creates significant damage to walls and flooring. If not fixed, the leak will almost certainly worsen.

A good example of how those small leaks are really big problems is a condition called pinhole leaks. This is a common trouble in residential and commercial plumbing, as we’ll explain.

Pinhole leaks

Although the name makes the leaks sound as if they’re merely a tiny holes in pipes, pinhole leaks actually describe a specific type of problem that occurs in copper plumbing. Although copper pipes are corrosion-resistant, there is a particular type of corrosion that affects them, known as pitting corrosion. Studies are uncertain what causes this kind of corrosion, although the most likely culprit is formaldehyde in the air. (Formaldehyde is present in most homes and is very difficult to eliminate, even with the best air purifiers.) This corrosion creates a grayish patch across the copper, which weakens it to the point that tiny holes open up and allow water to drip out.

The trouble with pinhole leaks

Pinhole leaks will allow enough water to escape from pipes to start causing damage to drywall and wood rot in flooring. This accumulation of water is very destructive. But worse, pinhole leaks are difficult to find or even notice at first—and they aren’t easy to prevent. This is one of the reasons that professional plumbers encourage homeowners and business owners to schedule regular maintenance for their plumbing. Plumbers will look for the signs of pitting corrosion and fix and replace pipes to prevent damage from pinhole leaks.

Call Ken Neyer Plumbing, Inc. for plumbing service in Montgomery, OH. We’ll help protect your home from harmful leaks of all sizes.

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