Nobody likes to hear the drip, drip, drip from a dripping tap.
At first glance, it may seem like a simple leak coming from under the sink in your kitchen.
But, did you know that a dripping tap could mean that there is something more serious in your pipes?
When water pipes corrode, they can leak and cause multiple problems for you and your home.
Leaks may be something small like a drip, but they certainly can be something much more disastrous for your home and your belongings.
Leaks in your pipe can waste your home water, damage your home, and encourage unwanted organic growth.
Since you can not see most of the pipes in your home, you may not always know that a leak has formed.
Small changes in the foundation of your home can create large adjustments in your water lines, causing them to disconnect or break.
Excessive Water Pressure
High water pressure causes damage to the pipes.
The water that circulates at high speeds through the pipes increases the risk of the pipes exploding.
Sudden changes in water flow direction may be too large for pipes to withstand, which could cause leaks.
Small cracks in the piping systems may release water vapor in the soil, where the roots of the trees will attach to their pipes and cause major problems.
While it is not such a big concern in some of our newest neighborhoods, many older homes in the area use copper or galvanized steel pipes, which may be susceptible to oxidation.
Extreme temperature changes (usually cold weather) can cause the pipes to break and start to leak.
Unfortunately, copper pipes do not last forever, though they last a long time, sometimes more than a lifetime.
Changes in water chemistry can make copper pipes more difficult and lead to unwanted repair costs.
In most cases, they have no impact on water quality, but they no doubt cause the owner to lose money.
Leakage is the result of the perforation of copper pipes, fittings or pipes in the domestic water distribution.
This is the result of corrosion caused by pitting on the pipe inner or water surface of the pipe.
Pitting and corrosion of copper pipes are rare, but when they are discovered they are a costly problem.
The chemistry of the water itself has been found to cause the pitting.
Pinhole leaks are a common copper pipe repair, and so professionals continue to monitor pipes for corrosion.
Of course, these leaks could occur in any pipe made of copper in your home.
While there are various types of corrosion, the hole leakage is mainly caused by pitting in copper pipes.
The attacks are clearly localized and characteristic. Various, small areas are typically attacked.
High rates of water flow can erode the coating of bare copper, and will require a water line repair.
It also results in high corrosion once eroded.
The biggest effect is when forced water changes the flow direction and damages the whole system.
Galvanized steel pipes are only steel with a zinc coating for protection. Over time, however, the zinc layer decreases and you only down to steel. And of course steel rusts.
The pipes rust inside and this corrosion tends to clog the inner diameter of the pipe.
Due to the smaller inner diameter, you have less water flow and lower pressure on your devices.
Hot water pipes corrode faster, as the heat accelerates the corrosion process.
Reduced water flow and pressure is the predominant problem, but the pipes can also rust and start to leak.
Leaky water pipes can, of course, cause considerable damage, especially if the leak is in a wall.
The threads usually rust first, so you should check here when inspecting your galvanized pipes.
Leaking Pipes: Cast Iron
When examining cast iron pipes, you will usually find two different signs of failure.
One is the crack you describe, which is usually formed at the top of the pipe or in a seam.
This is due to the fact that the hydrogen sulfide gas accumulates in the concentration and the resulting acid attack weakens the pipe wall.
The other external signs of faults in cast iron pipes are rusty spots, which are usually located in horizontal sections below.
The size of these bubbles can be from small pimples to about the size of half a walnut shell.
These are not as obvious as cracks and can be overlooked as they do not leak permanently.
When the iron is oxidized by a pinhole, the iron expands and seals the leak.
While they may not actively leak when discovered, this is certainly a sign that internal corrosion has penetrated the pipe wall.
Leaking Pipes: Plastic
PVC pipes are extremely reliable and durable, but not infallible. Failure to properly install PVC may result in failure. If this happens, it can cause significant damage.
Burying plastic pipes with soil containing sharp stones can lead to later punctures and leaks.
Over stressing pipes that are not properly embedded with sand or buried at the correct depth can cause leaks or ripples in the pipes.
Even if the buried water pipe is not leaking, when the water pressure and flow are trapped or crushed in the building, the pressure is reduced.
Freezing pipe damage:
While plastic pipes may tolerate limited freezing better than some metal pipes, you should still inspect a water inlet or drain pipe that is water-filled and freezing for a crack or burst.
By overheating plastic pipes during bonding, the plastic can be chemically altered, making it fragile near the connection and prone to cracking.
Excessive tightening of metal connection components such as as stainless steel bands can sometimes crack or crimp a pipe or fittings (as mentioned above).
When plastic pipes are heated during bonding, the pipe may crack when pushed over a fitting or connector.
Metal parts that are over tightened, such as hose clamps, often lead to immediate or short-term leaks in the corrugated tube connector.
Check out our article on thawing frozen pipes