On a couple of occasions during my career as a home remodeler I have accidently driven nails or drywall screws into copper plumbing lines. Sometimes the leak will begin to seep days, weeks or even months later as electrolysis causes the hole to enlarge or the fastener to corrode. I’ve found these situations to occur most often while nailing base trim on walls that hide plumbing for baseboard heaters. Damp spots on the floor, wall or downstairs ceiling may be the only indication of trouble. The problem can be fairly easy to fix; the hardest part is finding out which nail did the damage.
To solve this problem, 1 use a long set of probe cables for my volt/ohm meter. I test for continuity by plugging one lead into the ground terminal of a nearby outlet. I then use the other probe to test the head of each fastener until I find one that completes the circuit. Remember that it may be necessary to wait until the area dries out somewhat to be sure that the wood or drywall itself isn’t wet enough to conduct electricity on its own.
Chris Dowd, Biddeford, ME