JOIN THE MVP PROGRAM for as little as **$9/month** Ask Us How! Read More

Skip navigation

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

The Trouble With Pinhole Leaks in Your Plumbing


Leaks of any type in your household plumbing are trouble. However, people often think of plumbing leaks as a large amount of water gushing from a burst pipe, or at least leaking out a steady amount. Honestly, if you have those leaks, you’re almost lucky. You at least know you’ve got a serious problem that requires immediate attention from a professional plumbing service in Mission Viejo, CA.

It’s sneaky leaks that can really get you. The leaks that can drip away, hidden from sight, for weeks and months at a time. Among these types of hidden leaks, one we encounter quite often in local homes is the pinhole leak. The name gives you an idea of just how difficult this kind of leak is to notice. Make no mistake, however: pinhole leaks can do plenty of damage and cause serious problems.

What is a pinhole leak?

A pinhole leak is not only defined by its size. It describes a leak that starts because of a specific kind of corrosion that affects copper pipes. Copper piping replaced galvanized steel in the 1970s because it’s more corrosion-resistant (as well as lighter, less expensive, and more durable). But corrosion-resistant doesn’t mean no type of corrosion affects copper. One kind of corrosion that can harm copper is formicary corrosion, which occurs from a reaction with certain chemicals either in the air or the water in the pipes. Formaldehyde is one of the leading causes of formicary corrosion.

This kind of corrosion creates a grayish patch on the copper where the metal is weakened and thin. This weakness is often enough to allow the pressure inside the pipe to begin to create tiny holes—which is also enough for water to begin to drip out.

How pinhole leaks create trouble

Because people rarely notice pinhole leaks (they’re small and usually hidden behind walls and in ceilings), they accumulate large amounts of water waste over time. It doesn’t take much to lead to gallons of wasted water over a month! 

But worse than water waste is what pinhole leaks can do to your home. A small amount of standing water due to a pinhole leak is a breeding ground for mold and mildew to develop. These growths rapidly eat through common building materials like drywall. The increase in humidity from the water will also allow for the development of wood rot, which can cause severe damage to the wooden beams of a house. 

An easy water supply and a highly humid environment are also attractive to many types of pests and vermin that can get into your walls.

How to find pinhole leaks

If you suspect you may have pinhole leaks in your home because you’ve seen an increase in water usage, noticed discolored spots on the walls, or felt a rise in humidity, please call our team for leak detection. This service allows us to pinpoint any spot in your house where you’ve got leaking pipes. Once we’ve zeroed in on the leaks, it’s an easy job for us to remove the affected sections and replace them, getting your plumbing back into great shape.

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Contact us to solve pinhole leaks or any other trouble with your home’s plumbing.

Comments are closed.

Let's talk about your project.