Customer's house, there are several locations where water is seeping through
the pipes. Are there tests that can be done to find out what is causing
this? there seems to be no fixture damage, or deposits. The electrical
system was not bonded to the plumbing, and there was no continuity between
the two. Electrolytic damage? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
Some friends of mine have an old house with well water. Apparently their
water has no minerals in it and consequently over time their copper pipes
began to errode away. For several years they put on patches and hoses with
clamps to keep the water from leaking out. I had never heard of such a
thing, but I saw how thin the walls of the existing pipe had become. In
some places the pipe was paper thin. Their plumbing system also had no
ground continuity and I had installed a 10' ground rod to compensate for
They finally had to get all new pipes throughout the house and install some
water treatment equipment to restore balance to their water. It is too soon
to tell if this actually works or not, but they had consulted with many
experts before the repairs were made.
You might want to have the water tested at your customer's house.
The lack of minerals, or the amount, has little to do with the causes of
this type problem. It is true that very aggressive waters have low
mineral content (naturally soft water) but that type water will have a
high acid, DO and CO2 content as well and they are the real cause
factors. Adding mineral, as in a sacrificial mineral (crushed limestone)
filter buffers the acidity and reduces the DO an CO2 content while
adding hardness and increasing the pH and TDS content of the water.
There are many other causes of water line corrosion and some are high
TDS, chlorides, sulfates etc. (mineral content) where the water acts
like a slurry causing erosion corrosion. That damage is usually close to
fittings, as is improper preparation of the tubing by not reaming the
end before soldering. Bacteria is another cause. They produce a local
acidic effect and cause pitting of the surface where more corrosion
takes place under protective slime coatings and encrustations.
Here is a good site for this. You have to roam around the site because I
can't give you exact URLs for various pages. But start here:
Quality Water Associates
Yes there are tests. But there are many causes of pinhole leaks in
copper tubing. Electrical grounds, both the panel box grounding and
appliance/phone, etc. grounds on the water lines must be good, and
should be moved to (good) ground rods. Dissimilar metals corrosion, high
dissolved oxygen, carbon dioxide, TDS, chlorides content, carbonic acid
and certain types of bacteria along with lightening strikes, and
hopefully I'm not missing one or two things, all can cause this type
From your signature, you should be able to check the grounding issues. A
water treatment dealer experienced with this problem should be called in
for the rest. And if one parameter is found and fixed, don't stop
looking for other causes or you may not fix the problem but think you
I have to say that with leaks as you describe, or I visualize,
replumbing sounds as if it's in order here. The aggressive water or
electrical ground problems still have to be fixed because this adds
metals to the water which is a health concern. It also destroys fixtures
and water using appliances.
Quality Water Associates
Don't know where you live, but here in Pacific Northwest there was a company
that made copper plumbing pipe/tubing and purposely made the tubing with
walls thinner than spec. to enhance their profits.
They closed up about 15 years ago and today, there are hundreds, if not
thousands, of houses with copper water pipes that are constantly springing
leaks. If my memory serves me, the parent company was located in Georgia
and 'Wolverine' was the brand name of the copper pipe they manufactured.
My 1970 house had copper heating coils in the concrete slab. Eventually
pinholes resulted in multiple small leaks. I abandonned the original system
and replaced it with heavy duty copper pipes. Channels were cut in the slab
to get passed doors. Tough work, but it has performed well for a few years.
It sounds like someone put acid in your water. Do you get high when
you drink it? If you do, there is acid in the water, and that is the
problem. Well, actually it's not a problem because acid is really
groovy. I'd just drink lots of the water and not worry about the
pipes. Sooner or later you'll get high enough to want a shower and
the pin holes in the pipes are a natural shower created by angels.
Best yet, showering will just add to the effect since acid is absorbed
by the skin. While you are showering, toss a 33rpm Hendrix record on
your record player, crank the volume up, and imagine youself at
Woodstock in the rain.
Enjoy your trip!
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