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Pin Hole in Copper Pipe

CarmineCarmine Posts: 10Member
I have a single family house without a basement. From the water meter, 1/2" copper pipe going upstairs feeding cold water to the house has a pin hole leak. I would like to cut out about a 3' section and eliminate the elbow. Can I use bendable type "L" copper to do this? Can I also use Push Fit couplers instead of sweated couplers?

Comments

  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,107Member
    edited July 2016
    Why try to bend it if you don't have a bender? That could result in kinking it. Just use hard drawn and shark bite fittings. It would only be one more Ell, correct?

    Be advised that you may be in for more pipe failures if you have aggressive water. If that begins to happen, look at using pex to replace the copper. In fact, you could use a piece of pex to replace the leaking copper. The shark bite fittings will work on copper or pex since they're the same diameter. Just make sure to use the insert with pex.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    A spring bender for 5/8" OD copper would give you a pretty good bend, that tool is not very expensive. If you bend without a bender you will egg shape the tubing or add a kink which leads to future leaks at that point.

    If you are not into soldering then I would suggest compression couplings. Less money than the push on ones and mechanically seeming more secure........Hopefully the repair would remain visible for your future inspection.......but one pinhole may lead to more.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,665Member
    Where is the pinhole? In the elbow?

    Is the entire home fed with 1/2"? If so you could have excessive velocity eroding the tube or fittings.

    Aggressive water, excessive velocity, stray electrical current, electrolysis, are a few of the causes of pinholes.

    I agree with others, it's rarely just one pin hole that you will see developing. Troubleshoot the cause(s).
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • CarmineCarmine Posts: 10Member
    The pinhole is not in the elbow. I think I will try the shark bite fittings and not use bendable copper. Thanks to all for your help.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,107Member
    Use type "L" if you go with copper.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,264Member
    As to why. I'm with @hot rod 1/2" copper off the meter is giving high velocities. What's the water pressure? Is this city, or a well?
  • CarmineCarmine Posts: 10Member
    I live on Long Island and have city water not well water. Do not know what the pressure is. So I thinkI will use pex like Ironman suggested.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Posts: 2,190Member
    Here is an excellent read on copper pipe performance in a plumbing system. As you read it you will find that there are many potential causes for leaks.

    https://www.wsscwater.com/water-quality--stewardship/research/pinhole-leaks--corrosion-control/copper-pipe-white-paper.html

    @Dan Holohan
    You're may find this interesting as well. I seem to remember you were having some issues in your house?
    Ramer Mechanical
    ramermechanical.com
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 271Member

    Here is an excellent read on copper pipe performance in a plumbing system. As you read it you will find that there are many potential causes for leaks.



    https://www.wsscwater.com/water-quality--stewardship/research/pinhole-leaks--corrosion-control/copper-pipe-white-paper.html


    ...

    One cause not mentioned is the change from chlorine to chloramine for disinfection by some water utilities. Once that happens, it's only a matter of how old (i.e virgin or recycled) and how thick one's copper plumbing is before the pinholes start.

    We had our first in January. When the second appeared in June, I said "no more." The entire house was just completely re-piped using Uponor pex.

  • ratioratio Posts: 2,051Member

    One cause not mentioned is the change from chlorine to chloramine for disinfection by some water utilities. Once that happens, it's only a matter of how old (i.e virgin or recycled) and how thick one's copper plumbing is before the pinholes start.

    Why's that?

  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Carmine, where on Long Island. We're in Bethpage. Many of the neighbors are seeing this. We had it happen four times in the past three years. Pinholes in the cold-water line, not in the hot. It's copper from the '80s. The copper from the '50s original construction is fine.
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,665Member

    Carmine, where on Long Island. We're in Bethpage. Many of the neighbors are seeing this. We had it happen four times in the past three years. Pinholes in the cold-water line, not in the hot. It's copper from the '80s. The copper from the '50s original construction is fine.


    Dan, the CDA is headquartered in NY, they are the go-to folks for all things copper. I would think they have the ability to determine the cause of multiple pin-holeing incidences in their back yard.



    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Thanks, Hot Rod. Richie Levi put a bunch of dielectrics on the piping during the boiler changeout. We're hoping that does the trick. It's crazy what's been going on around here. Our water is polluted by Grumman and the Navy from the chemicals they dumped into the ground in the '40s, '50s and ;60s. They recently shut one of the wells because of radioactivity from the glow-in-the-dark stuff they used on the cockpit instrument panels. There's a huge underground toxic plume that's moving from Bethpage to the Great South Bay. The fix is very expensive and the locals are trying to get Grumman and the Navy to put up more money but that's not moving very quickly. They're treating the water extensively and it's drinkable. We filter beyond what they're doing, but I wonder whether this has anything to do with the holes.
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    Copper from the 50's could have been mined virgin ore as the war would have used up all scrap copper available. (We were the big dogs on top in the 50's, so why mess with recycled copper :D ).

    The 80's copper, in my guess, was from recycled scrap, (probably from the 40-50-60's tear out), but mixed with anything that came along. IMO
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Makes sense.
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    Just some think logic I learned from reading and listening to a guy who always stress the history of our trades. :)

    Your almost at 1000 postings now, just keep going.....I see you have been stuck at 999 for the last 2 postings.....you should talk to the admin as to why you are not getting credits. :'(
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    LOL!
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,665Member

    Thanks, Hot Rod. Richie Levi put a bunch of dielectrics on the piping during the boiler changeout. We're hoping that does the trick. It's crazy what's been going on around here. Our water is polluted by Grumman and the Navy from the chemicals they dumped into the ground in the '40s, '50s and ;60s. They recently shut one of the wells because of radioactivity from the glow-in-the-dark stuff they used on the cockpit instrument panels. There's a huge underground toxic plume that's moving from Bethpage to the Great South Bay. The fix is very expensive and the locals are trying to get Grumman and the Navy to put up more money but that's not moving very quickly. They're treating the water extensively and it's drinkable. We filter beyond what they're doing, but I wonder whether this has anything to do with the holes.

    That is a shame, maybe it will get addressed in our lifetime. The dielectrics are a good addition, but if it is a chemical reaction it may not help.

    Get a hold of the chemist that figured out the Flint water issue.

    Some wells in our area became contaminated and we ended up on a Superfund list. The state came out and tested for about 80 different chemicals. Most of them I couldn't even pronounce. We were within the EPA acceptable range, that makes me feel great :)

    They suspect a fly by night dry cleaner dumped some drums of old solvents on his way out of town.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    It was legal to dump this stuff when they did. That's part of the problem. All our water comes from the aquifer. Test wells are going down on every other block.
    Retired and loving it.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    Technology has made us more aware of how much we have soiled our nest so to speak. It has also showed us the dangers of just living on planet Earth. Because now we can easily test for parts per billion or whatever......naturally occurring Arsenic in water is now an issue. Always been there, but now we know about it and must do something about it according to the EPA. And now Radon gas has always been in our caves.... (we didn't start the fire etc.)

    The dry cleaner (maybe carbon tect cleaner) was around for a long time and thought to be safe, as Dan pointed out.

    The radium paint was a common product, really neat clocks and watches you could see in the dark. However the "Radium Girls" used to wet their brushes with their tongue to get the bristles together for a more defined number painting on the clock faces. They have gone down in documented history with their demise of the effects of that poisoning.

    Someday all will look back and wonder why people were allowed to inhale carcinogenic smoke produced by burning highly chemically treated tobacco. (Just makes me want to light up thinking about it....but keep chewing this damn gum instead).

  • FredFred Posts: 7,907Member
    @JUGHNE said: Someday all will look back and wonder why people were allowed to inhale carcinogenic smoke produced by burning highly chemically treated tobacco. (Just makes me want to light up thinking about it....but keep chewing this damn gum instead).
    As I sit here reading this, puffing great clouds of cigar smoke! :)
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,264Member
    JUGHNE said:

    Technology has made us more aware of how much we have soiled our nest so to speak. It has also showed us the dangers of just living on planet Earth. Because now we can easily test for parts per billion or whatever......naturally occurring Arsenic in water is now an issue. Always been there, but now we know about it and must do something about it according to the EPA. And now Radon gas has always been in our caves.... (we didn't start the fire etc.)

    The dry cleaner (maybe carbon tect cleaner) was around for a long time and thought to be safe, as Dan pointed out.

    The radium paint was a common product, really neat clocks and watches you could see in the dark. However the "Radium Girls" used to wet their brushes with their tongue to get the bristles together for a more defined number painting on the clock faces. They have gone down in documented history with their demise of the effects of that poisoning.

    Someday all will look back and wonder why people were allowed to inhale carcinogenic smoke produced by burning highly chemically treated tobacco. (Just makes me want to light up thinking about it....but keep chewing this damn gum instead).

    I think one day we will even look back on some medical practices as to how primitive the treatments were for the disease. One will be the treatment of cancers. I just shake my head at drug commercials at the end with all the possible side effects some worse than the illness treated for. FDA approved though.

    Funny how radon gas came to the fore front. Action level of 4 PCL. Mine depending on the ground conditions, and time of year can range from 2-11 PCL. The people who lived here before me never died from, or had lung cancer.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,264Member

    It was legal to dump this stuff when they did. That's part of the problem. All our water comes from the aquifer. Test wells are going down on every other block.

    We had the same sort of thing. Factory near me made casket hardware. Open pits for the acids, and other chemicals. For decades leached into the ground. Turned into a superfund sight. Water is okay, but test wells all over the place.

    In your case for a contractor that serves the DOD, and that entity in itself. I would think they would get this taken care of asap. It's all tax money any way that made the mess.
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 271Member
    ratio said:

    One cause not mentioned is the change from chlorine to chloramine for disinfection by some water utilities. Once that happens, it's only a matter of how old (i.e virgin or recycled) and how thick one's copper plumbing is before the pinholes start.

    Why's that?

    Because the chloramine eating through copper takes less time when the pipe wall is thinner and/or crappy Chinese junk.

    I'm in southern Orange County, California. There's a rolling wave of plumbing pinholes here that tracks those factors perfectly. The first subdivisions to go used thin, Chinese tubing. Next, slightly older thinner US manufactured stuff. We're in the third group with thicker, US-made pipe.

    Chloramine replaced chlorine because its disinfection byproducts are less bad for human health than those associated with chlorine. After numerous legal actions, the courts have decided no blame should be allocated to the water providers who switched disinfectants in order to comply with EPA requirements. The insurance companies have changed homeowners policies to remove coverage for pinholes. Thus, repipe cost is entirely on individual homeowners, unless one is "lucky" enough to experience the failures in a newer home still under its builder's warranty.

  • ratioratio Posts: 2,051Member
    I don't know that much about chloramine. I guess it's time to check out the water bill & see just what we're using. I've got a lot of copper in this place, & the guy I got it from did a lot of his own work--I'm quite certain he cheaped out as much as possible.


    It's to be expected though. Once anything is legislated, it's a sure bet that unintended side effects will become obvious. What I can't understand is why we don't go back & revaluate the original intent once something like this comes up.

  • CarmineCarmine Posts: 10Member
    Dan - We live around the corner from you :)
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Oh. Got it! LOL
    Retired and loving it.
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 271Member
    According to the Bethpage Water District's 2015 Water Quality Report, it uses sodium hypochlorite, not chloramine, for disinfection, so that can't be the problem at Dan's house.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Or Carmines. Thanks, Sal.
    Retired and loving it.
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,348Member
    Can be a shipment of bad copper. Can be erosion at a specific site from no or bad reaming. If you get multiple pinholes you know which. Wrong water for wrong copper rots the pipe and you can tell when you remove the leaking section. There's places where water chemistry was changed and only then did copper pipes fail. Different copper for different water. Trend today is plastic pipes and who knows how that will work out.
  • DoRightDoRight Posts: 7Member
    Not to many aware, but "dielectrics on the piping" it does opposite, its created bigger electrical potentials, which might biggest contributing factor in developing pinholes.
    When old US+thick, it will take very long time if ever to develop.

    Given good grounding from furthers copper pipe ends to once grounding location with 12 gauge copper cable should stop any electrolytes process in copper piping.
    Ground on this "central location" should be done with "electrical ground rode" at lowest point (basement, with somewhat equal distance to copper furthest ends).

    Pretty much homes have their electrical panel grounded in same was for protection reason, but doing same for copper piping separately should minimize all galvanization processes, specially you have "mix of metals".
  • Sal SantamauraSal Santamaura Posts: 271Member
    An interesting segment on tonight's PBS News Hour Weekend about Bethpage water:

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/new-york-moves-to-regulate-a-likely-human-carcinogen-in-drinking-water
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,914Member
    I had several leaks in my boss's house a few years back. All in the cold water pipe. Nothing in the hot. Every few months a new leak sprung up.

    What I had read about at that time was "interior flux corrosion" It was said that excessive flux inside the pipe can cause this. Hot water washes the flux away. Cod water wont
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 777Member
    Has any private testing been done ? By a private company?

    Maybe taking a private water sample test by a private company will show different results. Treat the test as if it was coming from a well in your back yard and not from the utility.

    I have repiped many a home because the water tested with results of a low ph. Some even with water supplied by a water provider and not a well.
    Could a low ph be part , and I say only a part of a combined reason for these leaks? Or has that already been covered?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,907Member
    About three years ago I had a couple pin hole leaks in my copper piping, inside the house, in horizontals in the basement. At that time and for a different reason, I had the water meter moved to the outside, near the sidewalk on my property (not public tree line) and had Pex installed to replace the old galvanized pipe from the street to my house. I have not had a problem since. I'm wondering if there is some interaction/reaction between galvanized and copper pipe as a result of some kind of leaching?
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 777Member
    Anaconda copper. Seems like a lot of that copper I have come across with the pin hole leaks. @Fred as you have stated. They have always been found on the "horizontals"in the basement.

    The leaks I have found are so small they feel like you are walking through a strand of a cobweb. That is until you wipe your face and feel water. It's the tiniest stream of water. Not always a drip.

    Is that the way you have found them?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,907Member
    edited February 26
    @Intplm. That "cobweb" feel was the case on one of the leaks. The other was a tiny, tiny drip where for a week or two I couldn't decide if it was a leak or condensation that dripped. It was a pinhole leak.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 777Member
    Tough to find when it is condensation . Especially in the summer time when there can be a trail of it the entire length of the horizontal pipe.
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