Micro leaks in copper pipe

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adam9215
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by adam9215 »

Hi Guys

Our house is circa 1960 recently we had a leak and after our plumber came round traced it to 6 or so micro leaks in a 50cm section of old 15mm water pipes ( the hot water to be precise) he replaced the section and we now have a ~£2600 quote for replacement of all out water pipes ( not including heating as this was replaced two years ago, we went from warm air to a wet system) we are in two minds about having it done, on one hand we want the piece of mind but also it’s a decent amount of money and wondered is there are likely to be any more pipes about to fail!?

From your extensive knowledge, where there is one leak in a random section of pipe, is there likely to be more or more around the corner?

It’s worth mentioning that the plumber said the wall thickness indicates it was from a bad batch of foreign pipe from the 60’s with too thin walls, but it’s been up there for about 60 ish years and been fine until now.

Any advice or opinion welcome
Adam
dewaltdisney
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by dewaltdisney »

Strangely I can relate to this. My father's house was a 1967 build and shortly after we moved in he had trouble with a mains water pipe with similar multiple micro leak problems. The plumber who we knew and came to sort it out was a bit of an old school type who spotted a defect in the pipe and forensically followed it up via the builder, supplier, etc and found the manufacturer. After a lot of argument, the firm conceded that a batch of pipe had been drawn thin or something, resulting in micro holes developing. They paid for all the remedial work. Now I am thinking this might just be a coincidence but the era is the same. I cannot recall if it was imported but there was a shortage of copper back then and I remember Passivated mild steel tube was used for a while.....that was a bloody disaster.

I am sure this relates to your issue but I would point out we never had any other leaks and I cannot think that the tube was from a different source for the rest of the house.

DWD
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ayjay
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by ayjay »

I do remember a thin copper problem, (istr there was a shortage with the normal suppliers and a lot was sourced from elsewhere) but I thought it was later than that, more 70s or even early 80s, but maybe there was also an earlier problem.
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by dewaltdisney »

To remedy this I think that there is an element of 'I don't want to do it job' and the quote is to put you off. How big is the house? A conventional 4 bed property at the time was not a difficult plumb layout as it was only a bathroom upstairs, kitchen, and a downstairs loo.
You may have already had the tank out of the loft if you have a new boiler. The biggest part of this job is clearing a way to get boards up for relaying the pipe. It is unlikely that a 60's house has chipboard floors so the biggest problem is carpets and moving a few beds and stuff. Work out a plan of how you could tackle it by plotting the pipe runs. Do the easy runs first as each part replaced lessens the odds of leaks. :thumbright:

DWD
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by Dave54 »

ayjay wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:41 am
I do remember a thin copper problem, (istr there was a shortage with the normal suppliers and a lot was sourced from elsewhere) but I thought it was later than that, more 70s or even early 80s, but maybe there was also an earlier problem.
70s I thought ayjay. I remember it, and remember my plumber mate saying about it.
dewaltdisney wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:01 am
To remedy this I think that there is an element of 'I don't want to do it job' and the quote is to put you off. How big is the house? A conventional 4 bed property at the time was not a difficult plumb layout as it was only a bathroom upstairs, kitchen, and a downstairs loo.
You may have already had the tank out of the loft if you have a new boiler. The biggest part of this job is clearing a way to get boards up for relaying the pipe. It is unlikely that a 60's house has chipboard floors so the biggest problem is carpets and moving a few beds and stuff. Work out a plan of how you could tackle it by plotting the pipe runs. Do the easy runs first as each part replaced lessens the odds of leaks. :thumbright:

DWD
Agreed. I re-plumbed our thirties three bed semi, apart from the heating, back in the 70s. Took me a day and a half as I remember it. It was all basically in the one corner of the house.
It's not that difficult, and a lot of the donkey work is getting access and drilling holes.
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by dewaltdisney »

I do not want to be pedantic but I remember the copper pipe shortage went from the late 60's through the early 70's. The domestic central heating boom partly caused this as people were moving away from huddling around one heat source to having an allover warm house. I was in my first job with the gas board and I was on the central heating team. During this time the Board introduced a package called Guaranteed Warmth which was a cheap variant to a tailor-made system and that used the passivated steel pipes instead of copper as that was banging the price up. They were all sh*t installations with lots of problems and we never wanted to sell the package, it was £400 against £700 bespoke system installed by an approved installer. They did a proper install rather than the Boards in house installation team who were not the best. The most popular boiler at the time was the Ideal Concorde E Type we did loads of them.

A trip down memory lane.

DWD
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by fin »

a while back we were working in a house and had to get some gas alterations done so the plumber came and he was concerned about the gas leak he found when he tested the system. in the past someone had ran a length of pipe over the top of the gas fire and it was all covered in soot. he reakoned that had affected the pipe as it was all full of little holes he said.
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toolbox
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by toolbox »

As said 1970 on there was a pipe shortage due to Rhodesia declaring UDI all kinds of rubbish was used which leaked everywhere in time.
Remember a house built in the 60's may have had wet central heating retro fitted in the 70's as warm air was all the rage then, or even just a fire and back boiler for water.
It is also possible to have poorly made copper tube with debris incorporated into the tube leading to pinholing .
A re-pipe is the best solution sadly.
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by ayjay »

dewaltdisney wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:03 pm
I do not want to be pedantic but I remember the copper pipe shortage went from the late 60's through the early 70's.
I don't doubt that you are probably correct, but I didn't start working in the real world of building sites until the early 70s and I can remember a copper supply problem suddenly starting some time after that - the main problem with the pipes that were available then from a new source of supply was that you couldn't bend it without it kinking, it may well also have been prone to micro leaks later.
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by fin »

as it happens im currently working in a house in south shields that looks like it was a 60's build. its funny as it looks a modern style sort of house. but the roof is a traditional cut roof. it has cast iron soil pipe and down pipes. and it had a warm air heating system thats now been ripped out. the plasterers have just patched the holes in all of the walls although i do think the system must have been ripped out maybe say 10 years back as theres a kinda old baxi potterton combi boiler there now and all of the radiators are modern style convector type rads.

fantastic view from the front window of the leas and the beech and the north and south piers mind
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Dave54
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by Dave54 »

ayjay wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:10 pm
dewaltdisney wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 1:03 pm
I do not want to be pedantic but I remember the copper pipe shortage went from the late 60's through the early 70's.
I don't doubt that you are probably correct, but I didn't start working in the real world of building sites until the early 70s and I can remember a copper supply problem suddenly starting some time after that - the main problem with the pipes that were available then from a new source of supply was that you couldn't bend it without it kinking, it may well also have been prone to micro leaks later.
Yeah I seem to remember something about the time I went into the works from the training school. That'd have been early to mid 73.

We were using a lot of Pyro cable at that time, and there was a shortage of copper. We were sorting through all the old stuff I remember. But then again that's the first time I'd have seen any real impact myself.

Not saying you're not right what you say though DWD.
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Micro leaks in copper pipe

Post by Grumps »

I remember those passivated steel pipes. They corroded from the cut ends inwards.

When I moved into my first house, early 1970's, the CH had been done with such. I eventually replaced it all, during the course of which, I put a leg through the Lounge ceiling. ::b

The CH system was a gas fired Baxi Bermuda fitted into a lounge hearth. The gas pipe ran under the upper floor and down a boxed in area next to the chimney. In the back bedroom, my missus could swear she smelt Gas. Nah! Eventually, I had to agree with her.

Gas Board (of the day) attended and diagnosed a perforated copper supply pipe in the boxed in area. Two of them, and they did a cracking job.

It took them most of the day and I was expecting a HUGE bill but, when it came, it was actually quite moderate.
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