Looks like my sister's 12 year old house has a problem.
She just had to have her bathroom torn up to repair a
pinhole leak, and the plumber told her that this is
just the beginning. We found a company that claims it
can coat the insides of the pipes with epoxy, which
seems more appealing than replumbing the entire house.
Can this work?
He's replaced all the copper pipes in about 100 houses
in her area. There seems to a problem with the acidity of
the water, the quality of the pipes, or both. I typed
pinhole leak copper pipe into google and learned for the
first time that this is a widespread problem. It's serious
enough that a company is now in business (DuraFlo) coating
the inside of pipes with epoxy. They guarantee their work,
but I'm skeptical. They blow an abrasive through the pipes,
but it doesn't seem like that would get them clean enough
for a good bond with the epoxy. It's much less disruptive
and cheaper than re-plumbing, though.
The other option is jack hammering up her floor, since the
house is on a slab and the pipes are buried. I wondered if
the pipes could be run exposed on the outside of the walls
until they get to their respective fixtures. The pipes would
then be covered with some sort of trim.
Why demolish the floor? Repipes are done all the time by merely abandoning
old piping. Is there no attic?
Check you codes, it is probably unacceptable practice to put freshwater
piping on outside of the structure. If your sister lives in a cold climate,
furthermore, piping can freeze and burst. Insulation is recommended, even
for cold water pipes.
I've never heard of widespread pinholes in Cu, certainly not in 12
Is it a joint or the tubing leak? I <can> believe poor job of
installation but unless it was some reject tubing or there's a real
water quality issue I'm having trouble believing widespread tubing
As for the lining, that's something I'm not aware of...possible I
suppose, although I'd want to investigate thoroughly before committing.
I've experienced it. We moved into a new house in about 1957-58.
The contractor used the cheapest imported type M copper pipe that
anyone ever saw. Pinhole leaks inside the walls all over the place
by 1965. Riped it all out (ranch style 1 level house) from the
crawl space and replaced it. Had to tear down the walls in the
bathrooms to get at it all. Pain in the arse - which is why I
never use type M for anything - use type L only and no cheap imports.
Me too. I've had this happen in a house that I rented a while back. It
was amazing how thin the copper had become in so many places. Just
picking up a small section of the piping that had been replaced caused
it to be crushed. The water was a bit acidic I suppose, always had a
lovely turquoise colored tub and sink. I would just stick my head under
the house and listen for the hissing sound. Sorry but I don't know
anything about how to treat this other than by replacement, but I do
know that "widespread tubing failures" certainly can exist.
She must live in a region of rally nasty water for tubing to go in 12 years.
I have heard of it happening in some places in the west.
Rather that try to coat the existing tubing, replace it with PEX. Easy to do
compared to copper, reasonable cost, won't corrode.
Heat speeds up the reaction between Copper and the Lime in the concrete.
Your hot water pipe will suffer the same fate. PEX may have other
problems, but I am not an expert and I believe we need another 20 years
or so to see how current installations work out. Back in 1970
everybody thought copper pipe in a concrete slab was fine, but we not
know it was not.
One reason I suggested PEX is the ability to run it easily through a house.
For the most part, it can be pulled the same way you pull wires, thus
eliminating the need to go into a slab or open wall to put in a length of
rigid tubing. Since we know copper in this case is good for about 12 years,
I'd sure try some other material that was simple to install and even replace
A good arguement for plastic piping.....If it was up to me I would use
schedule 80 on every new construction and it would last almost forever...but
they use 40 out here in Florida....Of course we don't have to deal with
freezes very often....hehehe...82 degrees today and in shorts....What a *&%$
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