In Maple Grove and Plymouth we have VERY hard water. Hard water has a lot of minerals and deposits in it that can cause issues with your plumbing. One of the problems that’s caused by the water hardness is pin hole copper pipe leaks.
The most common place for a pin hole leak is on first 10′-12′ of copper pipe that comes in to your house. This is due to the fact that this pipe has the greatest amount volume and usage in your house. In other words any time you use water anywhere in your house it has to pass through this pipe.
Another factor in pipe corrosion is turbulence. Turbulence is caused by joints and turns in the copper piping. Water will swirl when it reaches passes a joint and due to the swirling it slowly eats away the inside of your pipe. This is why when a pin hole leak occurs it’s almost always near a joint. The most common spot is near an elbow. The picture to the left is of an elbow joint that has been cut in half to show what the inside of a corroded pipe looks like.

There are a few products out there that claim to be a quick fix for a leak occurring in a copper pipe. Most of the products out there are meant only to be a band aid fix until it can be repaired properly. When you have a pin hole leak caused by erosion the problem is normally concentrated on that specific spot. In most cases the pipe is worn thin for a few feet near the point of the leak. Because of this it’s not recommended that you use a pipe repair clamp like the one to the left. The already weakened copper pipe can collapse due to the fact that you need to clamp down tight on to the pipe.

There are other products that can help to stop the bleeding temporarily until the bad section of piping is removed and replaced. One of those products is called Pow-r Wrap Pipe Repair. It is a water activated fiberglass wrap that can slow and even stop the steady steam of water shooting out of you water pipe. It’s rated for up to 600 PSI and cures in 30 minutes. I’ve heard of people having good luck with this product completely stopping the leak. However, some people say that it didn’t totally stop the water from coming out. They did say it was worth it if just to slow the water down.
The best and only real option to curing the problem is to remove the section of problem piping and replace it preferably with a heavier section of type “L” copper. Most residential houses are piped throughout the house with the standard type “M” copper. Type “L” is a thicker copper that is used most of the time in commercial plumbing do to the high volumes of water needed to run through the pipe. Type “L” copper will last longer simply due to fact that it’s thicker. It’s also important to note that when you cut out and replace the section of copper you need to make sure to ream out or debur the copper pipe that you put back in. When you cut a section of copper tubing with a tubing cutter it leaves a lip or bur of copper on the edge that when water passes by it causes it to swirl. There are deburring tools that you can purchase like the ones to the right. Many copper tubing cutters have built in deburring tools built in to their handles.
In any case when it comes to plumbing, it’s a good idea to know your limitations. If you want the job done correctly so that you won’t have the same problem appear six months later it’s a good idea to have a professional licensed plumber the work. As always we at LeVahn Brothers Plumbing carry the products mentioned above at our retail hardware location. If the job is above you capabilities we would be more than happy to send one of our licensed professional plumbers to come take care of the issue.
To contact LeVahn Brothers Call 763-551-8990
Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove, MN
Visit us on the web at http://www.levahnbros.com
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