When you think of leaks in your pipes, you probably think of something big and catastrophic, like a pipe cracking or completely rupturing. Though that can sometimes happen, the far more common and insidious leaks are the ones that don’t draw attention to themselves. These are the slow leaks, the ones that only release water one drop at a time, far too little for you to notice a change in your water supply. These are pinhole leaks. Let’s take a look at pinhole leaks, why they happen, why they’re so bad for your house, and why you need professional help to spot and seal them.
What is a Pinhole Leak?
A pinhole leak is the result of what is called “pitted corrosion,” where a pipe corrodes from the outside in. It exclusively affects copper pipes, which are normally resistant to all other types of corrosion. Pinhole leaks are normally very small, only large enough to allow the occasional drip of water. However, that slow drip can cause quite a bit of damage if left alone for long enough. No one really knows for certain why copper pipes have this tendency to corrode in such an unusual way. Many believe it to be something in the air that causes the pipe to degrade. So far, however, the EPA has been unable to conclusively identify the cause of pinhole leaks.
Why is it a Big Deal?
Pinhole leaks may seem like they aren’t a big deal, simply because they don’t adversely affect your water supply. However, they introduce moisture into areas of your house that really aren’t meant to get wet. Often, pinhole leaks drip water onto the insulation in your walls, leading to black mold and mildew growth that can have a very negative effect on your health. They can cause wood to rot, and supports to weaken. Don’t ever underestimate the power of even a small amount of water to destroy a structure over a long enough period of time.
Why Do I Need Professional Inspection?
Pinhole leaks, as has been mentioned, are extremely small. Even with close inspection, they can be difficult to detect. As such, it is very important to have regular inspections conducted in order to find and seal any pinhole leaks before they can cause serious damage to the surrounding areas. Professional plumbers have the tools and the expertise to deal with pinhole leaks as quickly and efficiently as possible.