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Are the pinhole leaks scattered over the entire length of the recirc line? Or are they grouped together.
Personally first I would check the ph of the water. If it's acidic, that plus the combination of constant hot water could be causing the problem.
Next, I would get the smallest circ pump you can to handle the job and have it operate off a thermostat so it's not running 100% of the time. (assuming it's running 100% of the time.
Lastly, it's remote, but perhaps the tube is just bad? When I piped my house, I used type L copper and I had two pinhole leaks in a length of copper. I had never seen this happen before or since with new copper.
Ok, here's an update. We removed 4 sections of tube today that had pinholes in them. I was originally told the recirc lines were 3/4 L, they were in fact 1/2 M. The entire house is plumbed in M copper.... not what I was wanting to see. The pinholes are predominately in the recirc lines, with the occaisional fault in the hot water supply. There actually is some L soft copper in the home in the recirc lines, and so far, there has been no problem with it. The homeowner has been working with an enviromental engineer from the university, so I'm hoping to meet up with him in the next couple of days.
Homeowner said her water used to be a pretty cobalt blue color until they installed a device with a magnesium anode rod in it.
All of the pinholes we removed today were within an inch of a soldered fitting. It makes me wonder if some tube had not been reamed?
I'll work on getting pictures up shortly if anyone is interested.
HHmmm........ that's one that had gotten past me. I'm anxious to talk to the enviromental guy about the water yet. The blue color has me puzzled.
One other thought..... I noticed that the hot water storage tanks are Marathon, be these are non metallic tanks I'm assumming there are no anode rods in them? The magnesium protection they've installed is on the incoming cold water supply also.
In Florida we had an epidemic with pin hole leaks. It is a combination of many issues; The water,sand,unreamed piping,acid based flux,shells not to mention poor construction. The rebar or wire on many homes are placed on top of the copper tubing.
A very high percentage of the pin holesleaks occur within 3-5 feet of a soldered joint and mostly in the cold water side of the piping system.
In my apprenticeship class we had a class on different reasons to de-burr piping, one of them being eventual pinhole leaks within a couple inches of joints especially on "always on" circulating lines. Wiping the flux off, (and not over fluxing to begin with) is another issue entirely.
Is this well water? My parents' house had pinholes in their copper pipes as well. It was caused by a high acid concentration in the water. They have a well. An acid neutrilzer should stop the pinholes from forming if the acidic water is the problem. We ended up replacing all of the copper in the house with PEX after the acid neutrilizer broke. My dad got tired of dealing with the acid neutrilzer and found out that it was broken after three pinholes formed in one week. Since all of the major plumbing was contained in the damaged wall, we eliminated the pinhole problem by switching to PEX. At any rate, the acid neutrilzer does work.
iTS FROM NOT REAMING THE PIPES .SEE IF SURROUNDING BUILDINS HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH THEIR PIPES.
not reaming is not necessarily the problem or the only problem. the wear and tear from a pump running 24/7 is the real issue. no pump, no real wear.
i get a few calls a month with pin holes on the hot. both reamed and unreamed. same thing in common is the system is the hot return with a pump. i always install a timer and the smallest pump possible.
copper is far from the best product out there. old school gal pipe lasted 50+ years with no issues. brass pipe even longer. i believe that pex will be the pipe of the future and copper will eventually fade away.
At this point, I'm guessing that the issues with the pinholing in the hot water piping is an errosion problem. If I've done the math right, flow rates should be under 2.9 gpm to stay under 4 fps. 2 of the spots we replaced were on the downstream side of ball valves that were bing used to throttle the loops. Pipe was almost wore completely in two at the solder line in the joint. A third spot had been peplaced once before and had a big glob of solder in the bottom of a coupling.
All of the copper I have seen in this place is the nicest green color on the inside.....both hot and cold. I haven't managed to get ahold of water test results yet.