A Pin-hole Leak Can Do A Lot Of Damage

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

A pin-hole leak can do a lot of damage.

A pin-hole leak is exactly that, a very small leak at a joint or other corrosive deterioration in copper tubing.  It is sometimes called a progressive leak.

This pin-hole leak looks to have begun where the yellow arrow points.

That is a soldered joint.

It must not have been done well, or leaked slightly for some other reason.

These leaks are so small that minerals in the water will come out, which you can see accumulating here from the arrow toward the bottom.

These minerals are slowly building up here, exactly like stalagmites and stalactites you have seen in caves.

As that leaking water attacks the connection at the top of the unit, which is the rusting area at the bottom of the photo, it will deteriorate more an more.  The ultimate corrosion can cause the water heater to fail.

This water heater is only 2 years old!

With corrosion like this it will not last long.

The entire connection, from the yellow arrow to the connective tube at the top of the heater needs to be replaced.

My recommendation:  when done carefully and properly copper pipe connections should last many decades.  That this one only lasted a short while is indicative of the unprofessional nature of the installation.  Hire good service providers!  Your house will appreciate it.  So will your checkbook in the end.  Like Red Adair said, "If you think a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur."

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comments (20)

Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I haven't looked at ours in years.  maybe I'll have to take that panel off and look.

Jan 17, 2018 02:29 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Well, now that could be entered in some sort of art show!

Jan 17, 2018 03:03 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Jay. Periodic inspection can prevent this kind of damage. Enjoy your day!

Jan 17, 2018 03:18 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

Jay Markanich I've seen alot of homes that have plumbing that looks like that!!

Jan 17, 2018 03:49 AM
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Thanks for sharing!!! We see it so many times!!!

These leaks are so small that minerals in the water will come out, which you can see accumulating here from the arrow toward the bottom. These minerals are slowly building up here, exactly like stalagmites and stalactites you have seen in caves.

Jan 17, 2018 04:17 AM
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Jay. It always pays to hire an expert. I learned years ago you can do it right or you can do it again and again.

Jan 17, 2018 07:03 AM
Fred Hernden, CMI
Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area - Albuquerque, NM
Albuquerque area Master Inspector

I see this a lot, and it's an out of sight out of mind thing. With water heaters being raised 18" above floor level in garages if it's a gas water heater, you can't really see the top of the unit without an effort. Make the effort, the water heater you save may be your own!

Jan 17, 2018 10:25 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

I had a listing that had this is some plumbing and needed a thermal picture to find.

Jan 17, 2018 01:26 PM
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

Great example of the damage a leak can do over time.  I've seen mineral buildup, but nothing like this example.  Well done.

Jan 17, 2018 02:06 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Tammy - look at the tubes on top of the water heater.

Kat - it reminded me of Luray Caverns!

Wayne - the time to catch this was when it first started!

Barbara - and now you know what it's called!

Jan 17, 2018 02:15 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I see it very often too, Sham.

Sheila - hence my comment about hiring the professional vs. the amateur!

Effort for sure.  This is a basic homeowner who probably saw something happening and did not think anything of it, Fred.  He will now!  Live andlearn!

Joe - for a thermal image to show anything the leak would have to be continuing.  This location was dry.

Stephen - and this was not much time!  And this was a thick one too!

 

Jan 17, 2018 02:36 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Go away xiaojun13.  That isn't what this site is for.

As you know.

Jan 19, 2018 03:55 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Mark - if that is your name...  AR is not a place to join to repeat someone else's words to promote your own service.  Advertise where you should advertise and write your own blog post!

Aug 04, 2018 04:03 AM
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Jay,

That is a great example. Surprising that nobody caught it in a more timely manner

Oct 18, 2018 10:17 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thanks Dorte.  Little things can become big things!  And break bigger things!

Oct 19, 2018 03:33 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Jay, for sharing this experience and your advice.

Oct 20, 2018 12:34 PM
Maria Sapio
Keller Williams of Central PA - Carlisle, PA
Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA. Mariasapio.com

Thank you for offering this blog post  - and yes indeed, a pin hole leak can truly spell d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r!!

Jan 06, 2019 03:32 PM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Roy.  I'm always glad you enjoy my posts!

Maria - and thank you!  It's the little things that often make a big difference.

Jan 06, 2019 04:48 PM