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Undetected or unaddressed minor water leaks can cause substantial structural damage and create serious health risks. As part of an ongoing effort to raise awareness of the importance of leak prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency has declared March 18-24, 2013, as “Fix a Leak Week.” Celebrating its fifth anniversary, the annual event serves as a reminder for American homeowners to check plumbing pipes, fixtures and irrigation systems for breeches and leaks.

Consequence of Ignoring Leaks

When water bills become unusually high, it is important to begin the leak detection process. Unfortunately, a significant amount of water damage may have already occurred by the time a leak is discovered. Early signs of a compromised plumbing system include constant dripping or hissing sounds from behind the walls or ceiling.

By its nature, water can be a very destructive force, and undetected leaks can ruin floors, ceilings, walls and personal belongings. The corrosive nature of water can attack electrical connections, which may lead to service disruptions and expensive repairs. Black mold colonies thrive when moisture is present, and airborne spores distributed through the heating and air conditioning system can cause a variety of respiratory illnesses.

According to the EPA, fixture and piping leaks in the average household account for over 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year. Ten percent of American homes have serious leaks that waste 90 gallons of water per day. The consequence is that over 1 trillion gallons of water is wasted annually.

Deteriorating Copper Pipes

Copper pipes are a significant source for water leakage. While many people believe that copper piping has an infinite service life, the original design usage was only projected be 20-25 years. Some copper piping systems can fail much sooner, depending on the mineral and chemical composition of the local potable water source.

Copper pipe has been the most widely used material in the plumbing industry because of its reasonable cost, easy installation and resistance to gas or liquid infiltration. However, the continual evolution of water treatment science has resulted in the addition of certain chemical agents that degrade the integrity of extruded copper over time.

Pitting corrosion is the most common cause of pinhole leaks. This type of deterioration is usually associated with hard water that has a relatively high pH factor. The corrosion is most likely to occur on the cold water side with interior wall pitting that is deep and narrow.

Advantages of CPVC Replacement Piping

Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) is extruded from thermoplastic material developed to meet the challenges of changing water chemistry. CPVC is typically less expensive to install when compared to copper, especially in re-piping applications.

CPVC is completely impervious to corrosion, chemicals and scale build up. The material has exceptional insulating properties that can help reduce hot water heating bills, and its low thermal conductivity virtually eliminates condensation and pipe sweating. Due to its inherent properties, CPVC is almost four times quieter than copper when used in plumbing systems. This helps to significantly reduce the noise associated with running water and also essentially eliminates the water hammer sound of closing fixtures.

A Better Plumbing System

As an eco-friendly alternative to copper, the professionals at Aqua Plumbing invite you to explore the many benefits of a CPVC piping retrofit.