Copper piping is present in a lot of homes and buildings because the material is a conductor of heat and electricity. Copper became prevalent throughout the plumbing world in the 1960s because the material was extremely durable with an average lifespan of 30 to 40 years.

Copper pipe repairs are relatively easy to perform and they don’t take long to complete. However, you should know how to diagnose the issue and the steps you take towards repairing it.

Why Choose Copper?

There are many benefits to installing copper pipes. The material is extremely durable and will last for a long time in non-acidic systems. Copper will resist heat and bacteria, plus it will hold up well in earthquakes. Copper piping also tends to have smaller diameters, which makes it easier to remove sections and solder on new ones.

What Causes Leaks?

If acids are present in your water supply, then this will inevitably lead to leaks in your copper pipes. These are referred to as “pinhole” leaks. Age is also a cause of pinhole leaks in copper and if you are not sure where the leak is occurring, then this typically indicates that you won’t find it until you uncover water damage. Other causes of pinhole leaks include:

  • Chloramines in your water system (a combination of chlorine and ammonia)
  • Corrosion due to an old water heater
  • High water pressure

Methods of Repair

A common way of repairing copper piping is by cutting out the section where there are pinhole leaks and replacing it with a new section of piping. You will need to solder the material together, which requires special tools and equipment. You will also need to shut off your water supply before performing any repairs.

Repairing longer sections of copper coupling will require a new sweat coupling, which you can purchase at a hardware store. You will need to determine the diameter of your copper piping ahead of time before you obtain a new copper coupling.

When repairing your copper piping, you will need to measure the size of the cut. The coupling should cut one inch longer than what you cut so that you can establish a good connection. After cutting out the section of the copper pipe that you are replacing, you will need to smoothen the edges of the coupling.

To get the best results, you should ensure that it’s dry on the inside of your copper pipes while you are soldering. We suggest stuffing a wool cloth into the pipes to absorb any of the water inside the pipe.

Alternatives to Soldering

You can also seal off the leak with either a pipe clamp or pipe tape. Severe leaks will require you to replace the section of the pipe where it’s occurring. For clamp repairs, you will need to know the size of your copper pipe which is usually 1/2″ or 3/4″. You will also need to clean the area where you are applying the clamp with high-grit sandpaper or very fine steel wool. All that is left to do is to tighten the bolts of the clamp so that it fits snugly in place.

Adhesive pipe tape is available in most hardware stores and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. The hole in your copper pipe is bigger than a pinhole, then we recommend that you apply putty epoxy to seal it off. You will need to soak the adhesive tape in water before you apply it to the affected area. Make sure you wrap the tape securely around the copper pipe. Smooth out air bubbles if they are present. The tape takes about an hour to harden.

Are you uncertain about anything? You can always contact one of our technicians to learn more about professional repair and replacement solutions for the copper pipes in your home.