copper pipes pressure vs leaks

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by darque, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. darque

    darque New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    orange county california
    do copper pipes leak at the one weakest link "only" or can they leak at multiple places at the same time? my question relates to a concern about fixing a small leak at the water heater connection that is not that big of a deal knowing a little corrosion will eventually block the leak vs fixing it and discovering it leaks worse in the attic?

    currently, it does not leak in the attic. so, my assumption is if i fix the leak at the water heater it should for the time being not leak elsewhere? is that thought process accurate or is anything possible with pressure
  2. Jerome2877

    Jerome2877 In the Trades

    Messages:
    397
    Location:
    BC
    Fix it, if another leak happens, fix it. Corrosion doesn't fix leaks!
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,937
    Location:
    New England
    Copper pipe, properly installed, can withstand far greater pressure than you'd ever see in a home. Now, depending on your water chemistry, it can literally eat holes in it. Incorrect installation can cause premature erosion of the pipes downstream from say a joint where the pipe was not properly prepared. So, unless you have agressive water, or there were other installation errors, one leak at the WH, is not an indication of impending problems elsewhere. Now, if your neighbors all are having pipe failures, then that is another story! SOmething to look into.
  4. darque

    darque New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    orange county california
    ok ok thanks guys..... fix it i will
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    This is statistically unsound reasoning, I think. It's definitely in violation of Murphy's Law.

    Maybe somebody pressure tests residential pipes in place to ensure there is still a safety factor over and above the normal pressure it has to withstand. Hopefully the test would not speed up the failure of an already marginal pipe wall.

    We had a rash of pinhole leak failures several years ago so the WaCo put orthophosphate in the water.

    There are devices that will detect water running/leaking and will either alarm and/or shut off the supply.
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,529
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Copper joints leak because they were NOT done properly in the first place, or there is a water/erosion factor causing them to go bad. If there are more than one bad joint, they could ALL fail eventually, or NONE of them may. It depends on how bad the joint is. If it is a functional problem then it could happen anywhere at any time.
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