When you think about threats to your plumbing system, leaks are probably the first things that come to mind. You would be correct to assume that leaks are capable of causing an immense amount of damage to a plumbing system, especially if a pipe cracks or ruptures. However, you would be wrong to assume that most damaging leaks are big or easily noticeable. In fact, the most dangerous leaks are the ones that are virtually undetectable to the untrained eye. These virtually invisible threats are called “pinhole leaks.” Let’s take a look at what pinhole leaks are, why they are such a threat, and what you can do to stop them.
What is a Pinhole Leak?
A pinhole leak is a leak that is so small as to only release a few droplets of water, instead of a stream or torrent. They are called such because they are usually no larger than the head of a pin, which is what makes them so difficult to detect. A pinhole leak is like a dripping faucet. It doesn’t seem like it’s wasting much water, only a few drops here and there. Those drops add up quickly, however, and before long you’ve lost thousands of gallons of water to a faucet that you refused to fix. Pinhole leaks are even worse than dripping faucets, though, because they are both hidden from sight much of the time and located in areas that are not meant to be exposed to water.
What Causes Pinhole Leaks?
Honestly, no one knows for certain. There are many theories about the cause of pinhole leaks, but no one has ever been able to conclusively point to a factor that directly contributes to it. What we do know is that pinhole leaks are the result of pitted corrosion, where a pipe will actually corrode from the outside inward. Beyond that, it’s a mystery.
Why are Pinhole Leaks so Damaging?
As mentioned above, pinhole leaks are bad news because they’re hard to detect, and located in areas that can be seriously damaged by exposure to water. Plumbing pipes often run through walls, where they are within reach of insulation and support studs. Even a minor flow of water, over a long enough period of time, can rot out the area and weaken the wall. This is why you need to be so vigilant with plumbing maintenance, because if you aren’t there’s a good chance that something small like a pinhole leak will cause quite a bit of damage.
If you haven’t had your plumbing checked in a while, schedule an appointment with the experts at Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We provide professional plumbing repair services in the Bethesda area.