• Feb 21 B blue BG

Englewood & Cape Haze 475-3808      Venice & North Port 480-9747

Pinhole Leaks

What Are Pinhole Leaks?

Pinhole leaks in copper pipes seem to occur from aggressive water. A round of tightening federal drinking water requirements that culminated in the mid-1990s removed "inhibitors" - organic materials that protect the pipe from corroding. That contributed to the frequency of the problem. The cleaner you make the water, there's no question it gets more aggressive.

There are five or six 'theories. Pretty much everyone points fingers at everyone else. One thing is for sure. Once the pinholes start in your house, it's going to continue. It's along the same lines as when your car starts to rust.

After years of research, Dr. Marc Edwards, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech claims he has proven that the recent epidemic of pinhole & slab leaks in copper pipes is caused by the water. In order to comply with the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1991, water treatment plants began disinfecting our drinking water with Chloromines instead of Chlorine. This removed the Natural Organic Matter (NOM) from the water which did make our water safer to drink, but in turn made it very aggressive to the copper pipes. With NOM in the water, the copper was able to develop a protective film coating. Like when you put a penny in water, it would eventually form a blue-green patina. As the protective film develops it protects the pipe from the water and the corrosion rate decreases. However, the changes made to our water chemistry have interferred with the formation process resulting in accelerated pitting and corrosion.

After an outbreak of the leaks in Jacksonville, Fla., the city banned the use of copper pipe for residential water lines. Most insurance won't cover fixing the leaks, although some of the damage may be covered.

Allstate Insurance Company looked into legal action after processing 32 pinhole claims, mostly from the same neighborhood in Summerville, but decided the money that could be won back wasn't worth the expense of pursuing it.

Attorney Robert Turkewitz, of Richardson, Patrick, Westbrook and Brickman, is investigating for that firm after being contacted by "well over" 300 people. It's an epidemic. It's either in the water or something they put in the water," he said. "I can drink it, but it's killing my home."

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