Pin hole leaks in copper tubing, fix or replace?


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Old 09-07-16, 01:02 PM
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Angry Pin hole leaks in copper tubing, fix or replace?

Living in a 1979 home using copper tubing. My county water supply comes from a large water impound (lake) and every time the lake level drops I start getting pin hole leaks in the copper tubing. Assume it's caused by changed water chemistry when the level is low (low mineral content, very soft water). The leaks have always been in the cold water tubing which makes me think the anode in the hot water heater protects the hot water tubing. Over the years I've probably fixed over two dozen leaks by soldering in slip couplings.

Looking for recommendations. Getting to old to continue this routine, should I have the whole house redone and if so with what? Maybe get by with just replacing the cold water tubing? Add some kind of mineral feed system that could be put in service when the lake level gets down by 6 or 7 feet?
 
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Old 09-07-16, 01:56 PM
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It can also be caused by minute bits of sand in the water. It will wear the inside of the copper to a paper thin consistency. I re-plumbed my water lines and was astounded to find out how week the copper walls were. I realized it was a disaster waiting to happen. I replaced it all with PEX. You may want to consider replacing it and be done with the headaches.
 
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Old 09-07-16, 02:45 PM
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One more vote for replacing with PEX.
 
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Old 09-07-16, 03:46 PM
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Thanks Chandler, in my case it isn't from abrasive wear. There are actually small spots of corrosive activity. How long does PEX last and is it sensitive to water chemistry?
 
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Old 09-08-16, 05:16 AM
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The ground/well water in parts of my county is corrosive especially to copper. When one of my rental houses develops pin hole leaks it's time to re-pipe the whole house. A pin hole leak in one spot is a good indication of the condition of the rest of the piping. If it's all not replaced then you are faced with ever more frequent leaks and repairs. I always replace with PEX. It's easy to install as a retrofit, it's inexpensive, is not affected by water chemistry and it's highly resistant to damage from freezing.
 
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Old 09-12-16, 01:15 PM
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Well another leak showed up located in a terrible location to repair. Broke down and called the plumber to replace this troublesome copper tubing. He talked me into going with CPVC due to all the lawsuits involving this type of piping and the trouble with access to make secure clamps in a retrofit project. Don't know about the lawsuits since these seemed dated (<2013) but the business about getting good clamp action made sense.
 
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Old 09-12-16, 01:18 PM
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due to all the lawsuits involving this type of piping
To what piping are you referring?
 
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Old 09-12-16, 01:50 PM
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It’s usually blue on cold water piping and red or orange on hot water piping. It may also be black, white or grey. Heating system piping is most often orange.
Piping named in the lawsuit includes the following brand names: Kitec, Plumbetter, IPEX AQUA, WarmRite, Kitec XPA, AmbioComfort, XPA, KERR Controls or Plomberie Améliorée.
Fittings may also say Kitec or KT.
 
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Old 09-12-16, 02:47 PM
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But not PEX, so your plumber is going to install a second rate product that can harden up over time, is not flexible, and will burst instantly when frozen. I believe I'd get a second opinion. PEX is a proven player, and is far superior to CPVC in many ways.
 
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Old 09-12-16, 05:58 PM
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As far as I know, there haven't been any significant lawsuits involving PEX. (there may have been one with the 'first-generation' pex used in residential settings, but the issues have been fixed).

I find that PEX is the best piping solution out there right now. I use copper in very specific circumstances, or when doing a minor repair to an all-copper system. Most new runs or new systems are completely PEX. It's easy to use, reliable, and reasonably priced.

I personally wouldn't use CPVC. It's code compliant and reliable, but usually seen as an inferior product to copper and PEX.

Just my opinion.

-Mike
 
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Old 09-13-16, 04:43 AM
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Copper is definitely out for me due to the water coming into the house. PEX would be my choice if I were doing the change over myself but it isn't perfect either. Researching plumbing and piping issues you do run across some negatives. "With the sudden increase in the use of PEX in recent years, failures in PEX plumbing systems have been observed. Failures can be linked to two areas; the pipe and the fitting. The pipe can fail when exposed to chlorine within the water, or over exposure to sunlight before installation. In addition, PEX pipe has also been found to be permeable when exposed to some solutions, including oxygen and some petroleum products, and can leach toxic chemicals from the pipe material. As far as the fitting, the leading cause of failure in a brass fitting used with PEX is caused by dezincification. This causes the fitting to corrode and eventually create leaks." I also found a recommendation that if the house is unoccupied for 3 days or more, all the lines should be flushed. I guess this is because the tubing must be installed 'lose' to allow for expansion/contraction so the low spots can concentrate anything in the water that will settle out.

In my case CPVC should be OK. There is no possibility of freeze damage or mechanical impact and I don't need it to last more than 20 years.
 
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Old 09-13-16, 05:24 AM
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I can't believe anyone these days would install CPVC. It sounds like you're dealing with an old plumber who won't change his ways and he's citing some old lawsuits of the past.
 
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Old 09-13-16, 07:42 AM
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Well, you seem to have made up your mind.
 
 

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