Hot Topics: Replacing Copper Plumbing

Copper plumbing that needs to be replaced.

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Once you get a pinhole leak, the panic starts. Is it necessary to replace functional copper pipes with plastic to prevent future leaks and damage? The forum weighs in.

Original Post: Do Pipes Need Replacing?

mvoong Member

I recently did a temporary fix on a pinhole leak in my copper pipe using Rubber Magic Tape, and am thinking of doing a permanent fix by soldering the pinholes later. However, I was told I should be replacing my pipes with ABS pipe. I've attached some pictures of my pipes. Can someone confirm if it's necessary to replace the whole pipe?

Copper pipes that need to be replaced.

Copper pipes that need to be replaced.

Copper pipes that need to be replaced.

Norm201 Member

How much work are you willing to go through? If the pinhole in the copper appears to be caused by age, wear, or corrosion and it might be typical of the whole run, then yes, you should replace with PEX piping. However, sometimes it may be just an anomaly in that one spot and a quick solder job letting capillary action fill the hole may solve the problem. I had a valve with a pinhole in it, which I discovered after I soldered the whole system. I used solder to fill the hole and it's been good for over 30 years since.

I'm not familiar with Rubber Magic Tape, but I have used Rescue Tape and recommend it to those who need a long term but temporary fix.

PJmax Group Moderator

Try squeezing the pipe where the pinhole is. It may be worse then can be seen from the outside. The pinhole could just be a starting leak. The pipe may be in poor shape.

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

I would go ahead and replace as much pipe as possible while you have the wall open. You will need two special, no-hub couplings that connect copper to ABS. The copper and ABS have different outside diameters. If the copper is 1-1/2," you will need no-hub number 3001-150.

joecaption Member

I'd be replacing every inch of that pipe with ABS or PVC—whichever is common in your area. Any time I've come across that old larger pipe where it runs horizontal, the whole bottom is paper thin and leaks.

mvoong Member

Thanks for all your replies/advice everyone! I will start looking into replacing the pipe and probably cutting out the drywall to replace the pipe horizontally within the walls. Which type of pipe is good for this job: ABS or PVC? Also, what's the difference between no-hub coupling and flex coupling?

Marq1 Member

Was this a pinhole leak in the pipe or a fitting joint?

Copper is forever, or at least something close. I would never replace good copper pipe with PVC or ABS. In a lot of locations, you're not allowed to put PVC/ABS in a wall.

Handyone Forum Topic Moderator

No-hubs are designed specifically for this purpose—to replace sections of pipe with complete confidence. They are allowed to be buried in walls, have a middle stop and ribs, and will not leak when installed properly. So-called flex couplings will not fit most pipes snuggly and are not approved for in-wall use, as far as I know.

Post back when you need specific advice on how to install the couplers. This is not a normal situation!

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