Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Henri


Acidic water erodes copper pipe

Q.    My wife and I bought a 40-year-old house nearly three years ago. In the basement, above a finished ceiling we had to have a plumber fix a pinhole leak in a copper pipe. It was not at a joint or a bend.

We have just discovered a second occurrence of this problem (in a different pipe). Nothing is coming in contact with the pipe at the point of the leaks. There appears to be a small reddish stain around this most recent pin hole. I’ve never heard of problems with copper pipes leaking like this. Do you have any insight as to what could be causing these leaks?

A.    It sounds very much as if your water has low pH (below the neutral reading of 7); in other words, your water is acidic and it has eaten the copper pipes over 40 years. This usually occurs on horizontal pipe runs. You are facing the replacement of all copper runs as this is not going to get better. You should have your water analyzed and an acid neutralizer installed to prevent further damage.

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