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Leaking Plumbing Pipes

Most homes in Tucson have plumbing pipes that carry water, gas or waste water.  Plumbing piping in Tucson homes can be very diverse:  Copper, pex, polybutylene, ABS, CPVC, PVC, galvanized steel, black steel, cast iron, clay, TracPipe and a few others. All of these plumbing pipes can form leaks over time.  Usually the metal plumbing pipes wear out over time and the plastic plumbing piping can be damaged by physical abuse.  At AriCo we are trained in repairing all types of plumbing piping fast and efficiently.

Finding the Leak
Copper Pipe With Pinhole Leak

If the plumbing leak is not obvious, the first thing to do is to locate the leak.  There are a few techniques that can be used to locate a leak.  If it is a water leak under the concrete floor, this type of leak can be the most challenging to find.  At Arico we use Electronic Listening equipment to pinpoint the location of pressure plumbing water leaks under concrete floors.  For leaks in other locations, it is generally just a matter of the technician using his training and skill to locate the leak.  This is where a skilled technician will save time and money.

Is The Plumbing Pipe Repairable?

If you know where the leak is, it is generally not a problem to repair.  The only issue you may run into is if the piping that is remaining is stable enough to survive the stresses required to repair the leak.  Usually, galvanized steel over 25 years of age is unable to handle the stress, while most other types of piping can be repaired. Polybutylene piping should not be repaired, except temporarily. Polybutylene is a defective piping material and needs to be removed from all installations.

Copper Water Leaks Beneath Buildings

Leaks in copper water lines under homes is a major problem is Tucson. Usually soft copper piping is the piping that is used under homes.  Soft copper is used because of it flexible characteristics. Under home piping is not allowed to have joints (aka fittings).  Plumbers use soft copper and bend it rather than use joints under building concrete floors.

This condition is known as pinhole leaks.  Several studies and research projects have been conducted to determine the possible cause of pinhole leaks in copper pipes, but no definitive causes have been established.  Some blame it on the chemicals in the water, while others blame it on workmanship and temperature gradients.

If you start to generate this type of leak in your home or business, it is usually an entire building wide piping failure.  This type of failure requires a complete replacement of the soft copper piping. Since the piping is under the ground in most cases, the piping is rerouted in walls, ceiling and attics as needed.  We do not replace piping under concrete slabs except for small repairs.

If a repair is made on soft copper piping, there is a great chance that a new leak will generate within a few feet of the repair.  This is because of the stresses inflicted during the repair process and other holes in the area are disturbed and hasten their failure timeline.

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