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Old 02-04-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


Last night, while getting ready to take my dog on a walk, I heard a slight hissing sound coming from the crawlspace. I crawled around under the house and found water spraying from a long, horizontal run of copper pipe under the addition to my house (house is ca. 1917, the addition is from the mid 70's).

I was wrong but I assumed it was from a burst pipe, since it's been so cold lately. A plumber came out and replaced that section of pipe. He showed me the removed section and it had a hole about 1/8" inch in diameter and it was badly corroded with a mound of green corrosion on the inside.

Is something like this an isolated instance or is it an indication that I might be in store for problems down the road? Are there any precautions/inspections I should take now or is this a "wait and see" issue?
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


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Originally Posted by PirateKatz View Post

Is something like this an isolated instance or is it an indication that I might be in store for problems down the road? Are there any precautions/inspections I should take now or is this a "wait and see" issue?
There's nothing more to be done; the problem was fixed. There is absolutely no way of telling if the problem is going to happen with another pipe or fitting...so don't lose any sleep over it.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:59 AM   #3
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


AFAIK, this is thr most comprehensive study of this problem to date: http://paragoninspects.com/pdf/plumb...erplumbing.PDF
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:02 PM   #4
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


My house and my neighbours were built mid 70`s. He told me we have aluminium wire because there was a world wide shortage of copper at the time, also resulting in thinner walls on some copper pipe.
Years ago one of his pipes burst. The plumber repaired the section and gave it to him to show the insurance company for a claim and they paid.
He is very detail oriented and an exceptionally bright guy. I assume this info is accurate. Point here is, you might wnat to check further into the age of the house and the problem with the pipe....
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:23 PM   #5
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


No better way to learn to do DIY plumbing than to start systematically replacing sections of pipe.
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:36 PM   #6
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


1/8" hole in a pipe is NOT small...didn't it flood the area?

My folks had a piece of copper in there addition, around 1976. The first 8-10 years it was fine...after that...it had pin hole after pin hole. In 10' there must of been 20-25 repairs. It actually got to be a conversation piece -- "So Dad, how many holes did you have to repair this month" kind of a thing. Of course dad's repair method was to use a piece of bicycle inner tube with a pipe clamp....

Finally that piece was replaced...and no more leaks in any other copper installed at the same time...nor since...you may have gotten faulty piece. As KC says...start replacing as needed....and by all means keep checking for additional leaks. Of course you could replace the copper with PEX as long as your doing it. It would be easier to splice in and if your not comfortable sweating joints in tight locations it could be a bit easier....

Good luck!
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:49 PM   #7
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


I agree, a 1/8" is a big hole, when I lived at our last house, had well water, was forever getting pin holes in the copper, I forget the mineral in the water that caused that, used to do the inner tube and clamp thing. If it got bad, I'd change out a section of pipe.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:09 PM   #8
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


Thanks for all the info.

The pipe itself probably dates to when the addition was built, sometime in the 70's. I guess hole size is relative in plumbing... I think I lucked out with the flooding, as we were actually out-of-town the entire previous week and only been back for a few days. The leak started some time during the day but most likely occurred while I was walking my dog--I didn't hear it when we left but heard it when we got back (no more than a half hour).

I would tear off all the insulation to inspect the other pipes but I don't know if it would do any good. On the piece the plumber removed, all of the corrosion was on the inside.

My wife and I travel a good bit. This makes me wonder if it would be a good idea to install some kind of a shutoff valve at a reasonably accessible point, in order to simply turn off the water when we leave town for an extended period of time.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:48 PM   #9
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Pin hole leak in pipe--How worried should I be?


Corrosion on the inside will eventually become holes...so don't think you're out of the woods yet. Removing the insulation may or may not revel the extent of your problems, if it's like you say with the corrosion being on the inside. It seems to me like you have a couple of options...sit and wait to see what happens...or start replacing pipe as you have time/money.

If your going to wait...given that your gone a lot, I would think that it would be in your best interest to install an easily accessible shut-off. A small hole can really swamp stuff quickly. My house is just over 1 year old...I plumbed EVERYTHING, and have no reason to think anything will leak. When we are gone for an extended period...I run downstairs and close the main valve. I've never turned the water off on a daily basis....but for extended periods I think it makes sense and it's the responsible thing to do.
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