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Thread: copper pipes pressure vs leaks

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member darque's Avatar
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    Default copper pipes pressure vs leaks

    do copper pipes leak at the one weakest link "only" or can they leak at multiple places at the same time? my question relates to a concern about fixing a small leak at the water heater connection that is not that big of a deal knowing a little corrosion will eventually block the leak vs fixing it and discovering it leaks worse in the attic?

    currently, it does not leak in the attic. so, my assumption is if i fix the leak at the water heater it should for the time being not leak elsewhere? is that thought process accurate or is anything possible with pressure

  2. #2
    In the Trades Jerome2877's Avatar
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    Fix it, if another leak happens, fix it. Corrosion doesn't fix leaks!

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Copper pipe, properly installed, can withstand far greater pressure than you'd ever see in a home. Now, depending on your water chemistry, it can literally eat holes in it. Incorrect installation can cause premature erosion of the pipes downstream from say a joint where the pipe was not properly prepared. So, unless you have agressive water, or there were other installation errors, one leak at the WH, is not an indication of impending problems elsewhere. Now, if your neighbors all are having pipe failures, then that is another story! SOmething to look into.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member darque's Avatar
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    ok ok thanks guys..... fix it i will

  5. #5
    Homeowner Thatguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darque View Post
    so, my assumption is if i fix the leak at the water heater it should for the time being not leak elsewhere?
    This is statistically unsound reasoning, I think. It's definitely in violation of Murphy's Law.

    Maybe somebody pressure tests residential pipes in place to ensure there is still a safety factor over and above the normal pressure it has to withstand. Hopefully the test would not speed up the failure of an already marginal pipe wall.

    We had a rash of pinhole leak failures several years ago so the WaCo put orthophosphate in the water.

    There are devices that will detect water running/leaking and will either alarm and/or shut off the supply.
    Last edited by Thatguy; 10-21-2010 at 06:44 PM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Copper joints leak because they were NOT done properly in the first place, or there is a water/erosion factor causing them to go bad. If there are more than one bad joint, they could ALL fail eventually, or NONE of them may. It depends on how bad the joint is. If it is a functional problem then it could happen anywhere at any time.

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