Re: Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes
Posted by Jim Riehl on September 04, 2002 at 01:02:45:
In response to Re: Pinhole Leaks in Copper Pipes
: Can you help me please. After building my house 25 years ago, I have had several pin hole leaks in the domestic water copper pipes that lead to and from my boiler (my boiler heats water for the hot water heating system and for domestic hot water). These leaks have all been within 6 feet of the boiler.
: My water has been tested with the following readings:
: Hardness = 7 gpg
: Iron = 0
: PH = 7
: Manganese = 0 ppm
: My plumber is recommending a water softener to solve the problem of the pipe leaks. In your experience, could the hardness of the water be causing the pipes to deteriorate to the point that the leaks are occurring? My electrical system is not grounded to the plumbing system.
: Thank you for any help that you can give to me.

sounds to me like the pipes have been eroded by the scouring action of air bubbles introduced into the hydronic system. the air bubbles are as abrasive as sandpaper and can be minimized by eliminating any air in the boiler and piping system. there should be a bleed valve on the boiler and/or in the piping system for this purpose. the only remedy for the existing holes in your hydronic piping system is, of course, replacing them. as this erosion is a process that has probably been occuring for years, the insides of the pipes would normally be worse nearer the boiler and at or near fittings that were not properly installed (reamed and soldered correctly). check the insides of the pipes for characteristic grooves which are normally evidence of erosion and replace any you find (if the leaks are all evident within six feet of the boiler, you can bet the pipes are also eroded out farther than that). i would recommend replacing the pipes with type "L" copper which is thicker than type "M". by the way....hard water almost always coats the insides of pipes with a protective layer of minerals which would lessen the erosion process so i don't think installing a softener would help.

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