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Question DetailsAsked on 2/14/2013

Copper water supply pipes,laid under cement slab, on the ground, are deteriorating & perforating=leaking GALLONS of H2o Pls HELP! Solution?

A couple years ago, discovered approx 30k gallons used in 1 month, had leak detection service, 3 tries to find leak location, broke thru cement slab, plumber dug 3 ft to copper pipe laying on ground, leak created muddy sink hole below, 1/16" sz hole in 3/4" dia copper pipe - seems to be from inside out. Copper pipe on ground under slab, typical water supply method in 1989 when house built. Previous and only owners had Culligan sealed whole house H20 treatment system w/reverse osmosis at sink. Both not functionng when bought house. Leak problem has come back WORSE than before. No one can explain cause. 3 Proposals: Abandoning copper pipe, rerouting Wirsbo PEX tubing 1) under slab 2) in the walls 3) lining copper pipe with epoxy - w/leak detection find leaks, break thru slab, repair active leaks. All create mess=DUST(have to cover & pack up house contents/move out/ enviroCLEANING) Huge expense! Insurance doesnt cover bec problem is under slab even tho there's injury to house. Ideas?

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2 Answers


I've seen what hard water issues can do to copper pipe. Litterally can make it brittle over time. I'm more for the pex Idea and with some kind of access walls, cielings.
It is expensive having to break up concrete. I personally don't like plumbing into concrete but sometimes it just has to be.
Plumbing above ground is usually best to be able to access it easier.
Above ground copper or pex is fine.

Answered 7 years ago by Guest_94015629


The problem with the copper lines is more than likely caused by improper installation when it was built. Hard water wont make them go bad unless there are other factors at play. If copper comes into contact with concrete at any point it will corrode. All pipes should be wrapped with pipe insulation to prevent that from happening. With that being said if you fix the bad spots there will prob be more bad spots in the future and it my be a never ending battle. If you can re-route the lines you will be much better off in the long run. We use Pex everyday and would highly suggest that route.

Good luck!
Master Plumber
St. Louis, Mo.


Answered 7 years ago by hockeycoachtim

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