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Old 06-01-2009, 04:35 PM   #1
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Copper


My house is 30 or 40 years old and I have found 3 pin hole leaks, I guess is how I would put it. One seemed like a fix under the kitchen sink and was almost like a T connection that fed to a hose just laying in the crawl. The second hole also seemed to be a T connection feeding a line that I guess was for an Ice maker line for my fridge. I can come up for reasons why those two exist. Now the third, I discovered yesterday while I was checking on my previous patch. Another pin hole on the hot water line coming from the HWH, I can't figure out how that happened, MY question is whether or not these pin holes just happen or not, and if I am better off getting some copper to pex fittings and switch out all that I can. thanks.
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:45 PM   #2
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Two causes of pin holes that I know of are excess flux when sweating and the other is cause by not reaming out the tubes after cutting. The flux is an acid and if a bubble of it settles and cools in a spot it will eventually eat through the copper. The other is because the burrs on the inside of the tube cause a vortex action immediately after the burr which wears away the copper.
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Old 06-01-2009, 08:01 PM   #3
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Copper


OK, when I did my patches I used a tubing cutter, now would that cause more problems down the road because I know that I didn't ream out the tubes at all, I thought I was doing a sufficient job. What should I use to do that in future patches or repairs? and How would I keep the burrs from entering the line? Now the excess flux settling and causing a bubble how long does that take to eat through the pipe, b/c no one has been under there to touch anything in at least 5 years.
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Old 06-01-2009, 09:52 PM   #4
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If you used a tube cutter similar to this if you notice there is a fold out blade on the back. It is used to ream out the tube after cutting. The cutter rolls the inside edge of the tubbing and that is what causes the problem.
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Old 06-01-2009, 10:04 PM   #5
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Copper


Another possibility to consider is that your water may be acidic. If so, the water could be literally leaching the copper out of the pipes.

Do you have blue-green stains in any of your sinks or toilets? If so, those are copper deposits.

If this is the case, and you are beginning to develop leaks, you may be faced with replacing all of your copper pipes. To prevent further leaching, you would need to install a water treatment system to filter your water through limestone sand.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:33 AM   #6
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Copper


Three leaks in a short period of time on old (or old-ish) work would scare me, unless you think that maybe the leaks at the tee fittings were caused by poor DIY repairs.. (Not blaming you here; from the last guy). Initially it sounded like that to me based upon your hose-to-nowhere comment.

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Another pin hole on the hot water line coming from the HWH,
That one is more worrisome if you're saying the pin hole was in the pipe, away from any fittings.

In your shoes, I'd cut out a couple of short (6") pieces of easy-to-access pipe from different spots around the crawl space and see what the inside looks like. (Obviously patching some copper back in so you can use your water ). If you have pitting or extensive corrosion on the inner walls in all the samples then LookoutRanch may be right and you need a complete re-fit.

On the other hand, if all the samples look reasonably good (a little oxidation on 30-40 y/o copper is OK), then it might have just been some bad fittings and the mid-pipe leak could be a coincidence -- mfr. defect or something.
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Old 06-02-2009, 12:38 AM   #7
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My house was built in 1959, and used 50/50 tin lead solder on all the joints. I am on well water, pH about 5 to 5.5 (relatively acidic). Over time, all of the copper pipes developed pinholes, especially at the joints. I ended up replacing all of the pipes with PEX, since I did not want to install a water treatment system to change the pH to neutral.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:06 PM   #8
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thanks for the advice and knowledge, the first pin hole was a patch or at least looked like one under the sink, nothing was leaking that I noticed, and that was a year ago. The 2nd seemed to be an old connection that rusted, The 3rd is what scares me. I will definitly take all advice, I have to do something , Im trying to move out of here in a year or two.
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Old 06-02-2009, 08:20 PM   #9
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If you're moving out in a year or 2 then patch patch patch and let the next guy worry about it.. (And hope he doesn't have a thorough home inspector.. )
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Old 06-02-2009, 11:45 PM   #10
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i was working on my plumbing today replaciing a few leaky shutoff valves, i noticed that the solder joints 40 years old were not very tight at all , i was able to pull solder joints apart withg my hands. after i was done one of the old joints blew apart after i turned the water back on. I think its just old plumbing that weakens or something. i dont get it though cause the joints are water proof.
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