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Serving the Olympia, WA area since 1994



Why Small Leaks Matter

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 10:04 am

A lot of people think that plumbing leaks are only worthy of professional attention if they’re very large. As though if a pipe isn’t threatening to rupture and flood your house, it isn’t worth calling a plumber over. In reality, the most dangerous leaks are often the smallest. Let’s examine these tiny leaks, and why they have the potential to actually become the bane of your existence if you ignore them.

Pinhole Leaks

The most common kind of small leak is called the “pinhole leak.” These leaks exclusively affect copper pipes, which also happen to be by far the most common pipes in American homes. Pinhole leaks are caused by pitted corrosion, which is where the pipe degrades from the outside in. No one really knows what causes pitted corrosion, though the EPA has been trying to figure it out for years. Eventually, an opening no bigger than a pinhole opens and begins leaking water, one drop at a time.

What’s the Big Deal?

Leaking one drop at a time may not seem like that big of a deal, in the same way that a dripping faucet may not seem like a big deal. However, those drops really add up over time. A dripping faucet can actually waste over a thousand gallons of water over the course of a year. A pinhole leak can waste that much water pretty easily, but it’s actually much worse.

Pinhole leaks tend to affect areas that are out of sight, which means they’re very likely to go unnoticed for a long time. The leak is not large enough to cause a drop in water pressure, and because of the pitted corrosion that causes it there won’t be any rust in the water to tip off the homeowner. So, pinhole leaks can go without being noticed for a very long time, wasting thousands of gallons of water without you even noticing.

The other issue is that pinhole leaks tend to occur in areas surrounded by things like insulation and support beams. The slow drip of water can cause these things to rot away over time, damaging the wall or ceiling in which the pipe is located and causing much more expensive repairs.

The best way to combat pinhole leaks is to have your plumbing frequently checked. If you haven’t had your home’s plumbing checked this year, call Brooks Plumbing. Our expert plumbers cover the whole Turnwater area.

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