I have a 12 year old house. The past couple of months a couple of hot water pipes have sprung pin-hole leaks at the solder joints. This has happened on four separate occasions.

I've had three different plumbers look at it .

  • One thought just coincidence or bad luck.
  • One suggested perhaps a bad ground. Disputed by the other
  • One suggested water quality. Water was tested and appeared fine.

Wondering if anyone would have some thoughts / suggestions?


To update, the cause was a hot water re-circulator. Apparently the flow of water over the course of years can erode the solder around the pipe joints. The hot water fittings were replaced and a timer put on the re-circulator to run only in the mornings.

2 Answers 2


It depends on where the actual leaks are. If the leaks are at the solder joint, then this would indicate poor workmanship from the installer. If the pipes themselves are developing pinholes, then you could have gotten a bad batch of copper pipe that had impurities in it. Recycled copper used for pipes can have impurities in them which can lead to pinhole leaks. I have heard that this was a common problem for a while. I'm not sure if it has been resolved yet.

  • 1
    I agree. Bad luck here seems like a poor solder job (person or materials). If the same plumber did whole house I was think you might have more issues.
    – DMoore
    Oct 30, 2014 at 18:05
  • The leaks are in the solder joint. Just struck me as strange that it would start happening after 12 years...
    – jim31415
    Oct 30, 2014 at 18:10
  • @jim31415 yeah this does seem like a long time before something like this is noticed. The only thing I can think of is that contracting and expanding of the pipe from repeated heating and cooling cycles could have been enough to make the joints fail. However, this is only a theory. Oct 30, 2014 at 18:15

Pinholes are a sign of a poor sweat job or defective pipe. I would replace the entire length of pipe with PEX, removing any possible catastrophic leak.

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