What causes pinhole leaks in copper plumbing anyway? This is what you should know and how you might be able to prevent it.

The ceiling sags slowly, the bulge forming over days, and when you finally notice and decide to do something about it—SPLASH—it has dumped all over your entertainment system. Taking a closer look at the ceiling, you see a tiny leak spouting a thin stream of water out of your copper pipes.

Could that pinhole leak really cause that much damage? Absolutely. All it needs is time.

What causes pinhole leaks in copper plumbing?

Hard water and unbalanced pH are the most common causes of pinhole leaks in copper pipes. When your home’s plumbing system has hard water running through it, calcium and other minerals tend to build up and corrode the inner lining of copper pipes, eventually wearing through in places. Likewise, if your water is too acidic or basic, the water within your plumbing can slowly eat away at the pipes.

Additionally, any abrasive materials, such as sand and dirt, that move through your pipes can wear down the copper on the inside of the pipes. Over time, the pipes can wear thin enough to spring a leak.

Can you prevent leaks from happening?

Depending on the age of your home’s plumbing, you may be able to prevent leaks from forming. If your pipes are only a decade or two old and you have only had one or two pinhole leaks form, you may be able to minimize the damage they sustain from mineral deposits and unbalanced pH.

First, have a plumber test your water for hardness and pH. Once you know for sure what the problem is, then you can implement a solution. For instance, if you have hard water, you can install a water softening system to reduce the presence of calcium and other minerals that cause damage to pipes. If your water is too basic—i.e., it falls above a seven on the acidity scale—a water softener will also address this problem.

For acidic water, you may need to consider installing a filter with calcium carbonate to neutralize the acidity. Another common solution that homeowners use to fix pH imbalances and hard water is to install a reverse osmosis filtration system. Reverse osmosis pushed the water through a semipermeable material to filter everything out except for the water.

Don’t know what to do about the pinhole leaks in your plumbing? We can help.

If you have had to fix more than a few pinhole leaks in your home’s plumbing, it’s time to find a real solution, not just put a bandage on a systemic problem. We are here to help you diagnose and fix your plumbing problems. Get in touch with Custom Plumbing of Arizona today to set up an appointment. We’ll send one of our plumbing experts to your home as soon as possible.

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What size tankless water heater do I need for my home? If you are thinking of replacing your traditional water heater with a tankless model, this article offers a quick guide to finding the right size.

Investing in a tankless water heater can save you money and ensure you never run out of hot water again. Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless models produce hot water on demand so you only heat the water that you are going to use. They also have longer lifespans, which helps to justify the higher purchase and installation costs.

Before you get started, however, you need to be sure the unit you are buying is going to be able to keep up with your demand. Depending on how many people live in your home, the number of water sources you want to produce hot water, and some other factors, some tankless water heaters may not be able to meet your needs.

Here’s how to figure out what size your tankless water heater needs to be.

  1. Determine the Number of Hot Water Sources You Need

How many showers and sinks do you have in your home? Do you need hot water for laundry? The first step in finding the right size for your home is to determine how many hot water sources you want for your home. You should also think about how many sources you want to be able to run at once without losing heat.

  1. Calculate the Flow Rate

The next step is to calculate the flow rate for each of your water sources. The flow rate varies depending on the source—for instance, a kitchen faucet generally produces less water than a shower. Faucets typically produce between one and two gallons per minute, while showers are usually over 2 gallons per minute.

To get an accurate reading so you don’t accidentally undersize your tankless water heater, you may want to consider running a test on each hot water source in your home using a bucket and stopwatch.

What size tankless water heater do I need? Let us help you get the optimal size for your needs.

  1. Know Your Temperature Rise

Depending on the temperature of the water entering your home, your tankless water heater may have to work harder. In the Phoenix area, the groundwater temperature is between 57-62 degrees. In general, hot water for use in the home is between 105 and 115 degrees. Make sure that your tankless unit can handle the necessary temperature rise before making a purchase or you may end up with a unit that is too small.

Contact Custom Plumbing of Arizona to Learn What Size Is Right for You

Do you have questions about replacing your current water heater with a tankless model? We are here to help you determine the best size for your needs. Get in touch with Custom Plumbing of Arizona today so we can start working on a solution.

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How much will slab leak repair cost you? To answer this critical question, we need to lay out a few variables that contribute to costs. Here’s what to know.

Deteriorating pipes underneath your home’s slab foundation can cause serious destruction if you don’t repair them quickly. Leaky pipes in your home can be expensive—not only do they raise your monthly water bill, but they can also cause permanent damage. When the leak is located below a concrete slab, your foundation could be at risk of failing.

The question that most homeowners ask when they hear they have this problem is, “how much will slab leak repair cost me?” According to HomeAdvisor, it can be quite expensive:

  • Detecting a leak beneath a slab can cost $150 to $600.
  • The average cost to repair a slab leak is $2,280.
  • Repairing your slab foundation after fixing the leak often costs over $2,000.

As these figures demonstrate, a few factors can contribute to overall costs. This article provides a general outline of what to expect.

Detecting the Slab Leak

Finding a leak beneath a slab foundation is more difficult than locating a leak in your home. Because the pipes are buried under the foundation, a leak detection specialist will need to use special equipment to find the exact location of the leak to minimize the damage to your foundation.

If you don’t know where the leak is located, hiring an expert who has the experience and equipment to do the job efficiently can save you hundreds, maybe even thousands, in slab leak repair costs.

Repairing the Leaky Pipe

A broken pipe can cost anywhere from $150 to nearly $400 to repair. The price tag goes up quite a bit on average if the pipe in question is your main water line. It may cost as little as $150, though the average cost is about $840, and some repairs cost as high as $3,000 to complete.

Keep in mind that costs are relative to the extent of the damage to your pipes.

Foundation Repairs

The majority of your slab leak repair cost will most likely come from foundation repair. Fixing a slab leak requires cutting through your foundation to access the pipes, and depending on how much of the foundation needs to be removed, it can get expensive.

On average, pouring a new foundation costs between $3,600 and $7,200, though you should be aware that this is for an average-sized home. If your home is large, the average cost can be much more of a burden. You may also want to consider rerouting your plumbing to save on costs.

How much will slab leak repair cost you? Get a free estimate today.

Have your water bills been higher than usual? Have you noticed the sound of running water when your taps are turned off? You might have a slab leak. If you suspect your home has this surprisingly common problem, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Custom Plumbing of Arizona. We are slab leak experts you can trust.

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Hydro-jetting is an excellent solution for serious plumbing blockages. But is it always safe for your pipes? We break it down for you here.

Sometimes plungers and drain snakes just don’t cut it for tough drain clogs. When you need to break through a blockage so your water can drain properly, it may be necessary to try a high-pressure tool—instead of poking a hole through the debris that is clogging your drain, a hydro jet will completely clear the pipe.

The question that many homeowners have, however, is whether this method of drain cleaning is safe for their pipes. In most cases, hydro-jetting is absolutely safe and will not damage your pipes, but a few exceptions exist to prove the rule.

Here are a few scenarios to consider.

 

3 Scenarios When You Should Avoid Hydro-Jetting

  1. Your plumbing is damaged.

If your plumbing is damaged, hydro-jetting can make your problems exponentially worse. This method of drain and pipe cleaning uses a high-pressure stream of water to cut through, break apart, and push debris and sludge out of your home’s plumbing system. When your pipes have weak points—from rust or corrosion, for example—the pressure can be great enough to bust through the pipe.

When you have a broken drain or sewer pipe, the escaping water can cause serious problems, even total failure if the soil surrounding the pipe settles or erodes.

 

  1. Your plumbing is old.

Many homes were built 50 or more years ago, and some of them still have the original plumbing. The materials we use for plumbing today are much more resilient than their forebears. For example, PVC pipes are not prone to corrosion and breakage like old cast iron and clay pipes are, so hydro-jetting them is not as risky (though some risk still exists).

It is always critical to consider your plumbing’s age when looking for drain cleaning solutions.

 

  1. Your plumber is inexperienced.

Unlike a drain snake, using a hydro jet is reserved for professionals. However, it is critical that homeowners understand that not all plumbing professionals have the experience and industry knowledge required to keep their plumbing intact during the process.

A trained, experienced professional knows to inspect pipes for issues like those listed above before beginning work. Only amateurs begin work before a complete inspection that ensures the pipes in question are strong enough to withstand pressure up to 4000 psi.

 

Talk to the Hydro-Jetting Experts at Custom Plumbing of Arizona

The plumbing experts at Custom Plumbing of Arizona are experienced in using a hydro jet to clear the worst clogs. If we think your pipes are too old or frail to handle the high pressure, we will work with you to come up with another solution.

We are here to help you keep your plumbing working. Get in touch with us today and we will send someone to your home to complete your free estimate.

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How often should a wax ring be replaced on a toilet? It’s a simple question, but don’t be fooled. Things can get complicated. Here’s what to know.

Every toilet in your home has a wax ring connecting it to your plumbing, which creates a waterproof seal to keep what goes down to the sewer from seeping out the sides. This piece of equipment usually lasts as long as the toilet, about 30 years. However, if it dries out and starts to crumble, you could be at risk for a messy leak.

At that point, it’s time to install a new one.

 

Installing a New Wax Ring

You should be able to find a replacement at any hardware store. Before beginning, you will need to have the proper tools nearby:

  • A putty knife
  • A bucket and towels in case of a leak
  • A wet/dry vacuum
  • A wrench that fits the hardware of your toilet

Here’s how to replace your toilet’s wax ring.

 

  1. Disconnect the water supply.

To disconnect the water supply to your toilet, turn the water lines leading from the wall to your toilet to the “off” position. After doing that, flush the toilet to get as much water out as possible. You may want to have a wet/dry vacuum handy to remove any water that remains in the tank and bowl. Otherwise, you will need to use a towel. Once all the water is out, disconnect the water supply line from the bottom of the tank.

 

  1. Remove the toilet.

Next, remove the toilet. Take off the caps covering the bolts at the base of the toilet, then unscrew the bolts using an appropriate wrench. You should now be able to rock the toilet loose from the old wax ring. Once it is free, lift the toilet and set it out of the way.

 

  1. Scrape off the old wax ring.

Using a putty knife, start scraping away the wax on the flange, the pipe that connects to the toilet, as well as the bottom of the toilet. If the flange looks damaged, you should call a plumber before continuing as the new wax ring may not seal properly.

 

  1. Install the new wax ring.

Make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging of your new wax ring and proceed to install it. Once you have it in place, gently put the toilet back where it was, aligning the bolt holes on the toilet with the bolts in the floor.

Once the toilet is in place, close the lid and sit down to use your weight to finish the seal. Gently move your weight around to ensure a complete seal. The toilet should be flush with the floor when finished.

 

Need help with your toilet? Custom Plumbing of Arizona is here to help.

Not sure you have the know-how to fix your toilet on your own? That’s not a problem! Get in touch with us today and we will send a plumbing expert to your home as soon as possible.

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