Water Line Leaks In San Diego: What Causes This?
Why copper lines leak:
The use of copper for water lines has been common in home construction for many years as the material is relatively inexpensive, and easy to work with. But any water leak, no matter what material the pipe is should be repaired immediately. Putting the repair off will cause massive damage with time leading to very costly repairs. Contact a Carlsbad Plumber if you are in North County or a San Diego Plumber elsewhere.
Some copper piping experiences a “pinhole leak” problem. A leaking pipe is caused by corrosion referred to as “pitting corrosion”. According to the EPA, when there is a lot of copper line pitting corrosion going on in an entire community, it is “likely associated with water chemistry”. According to Darren Lyle, the EPA is studying the chemistry of the water in communities like San Diego that have this issue. Water shortages have also forced communities to seek new water solutions for their residents. Water that has a PH value of less than 6.5 is acidic enough to affect copper pipe. It is best to have your water tested. A symptom is blue-green stains around water joints.
If you have a well, your water is more likely to be acidic due to airborne pollutants brought down by rain and decomposition of plants. A calcite neutralizer filter placed in line before the water enters the house can help reduce pitting corrosion later.
Another source of leaks is am aged or worn out soldered joint. Sometimes, if the joint is just heated up, that is enough to re-seat everything. It is a good idea to add some solder to make sure of your repair. Always turn the water back on to check your repair.
Copper lines are also subject to freezing and bursting in some parts of our country. If it is a small fracture, there are specially made clamps that can be installed to repair the leak with no further action needed.
If leaks are prevalent, you can go to a heavier copper grade. There are 3 grades—K, L, and M. K is the heaviest. It is more expensive, but may be worth it. Also, you can consider going to PVC pipe. It has improved greatly over the years and can work with existing copper pipe so you can do your conversion gradually. Be sure to support the pvc lines so they cannot sag.
Often, the water lines to your refrigerator and ice maker are copper. Connections and parts of the lines where they may rub against other surfaces are common failure areas. If you have a leak, first check the fittings for tightness. If the leak is elsewhere in the line, locate and cut the line with a tube cutter, and replace the affected area. If it is a small enough leak, a specially designed copper line clamp may do the trick without doing all the cutting and re-seating of fittings.
Many homes have copper piping delivering their water from the main valve to bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Even the smallest pin hole –be it caused by corrosion, joint failure, burst, human error, or any other event, can in time be very costly. Water in the wrong places is costly and can lead to safety issues within your home. React right away , and if the leak is beyond your basic handyman abilities, have a professional plumber evaluate and repair your copper pipes. Go ahead and hire a Carlsbad plumber or one of our experienced San Diego plumbers that can help you with your pipes today.
Need leaking pipe repair? We work all of San Diego including: Chula Vista, Poway, Escondido and Santee. Call us at 619-838-1322 to schedule service or click here.