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My house has sprung a leak! HELP!!!!  RSS feed

 
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So I crawled in amongst the creepy crawlies and I think I found it. The pipes are grey, and it is spraying out from, I hope, a T juncture. I think this pipe is attached to the hot water heater, though the spraying water is cold, so this is before it gets to the water heater. Simply replacing the T might work?


Any one know af a RELIABLE you tuber who can show me how to attach the fittings? I know there is a special glue... How long does that take to dry?
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Ummm. I went back under the house, it IS hot water that is leaking.
 
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First you have to figure out which plastic the pipe is made from, it is printed on the side of the pipe every few inches. After that you Google-Fu which type of glue you need( it will probably be a separate solvent and glue, i would guess its PVC). You will then need to make a new section of pipe using your replacement T-fitting, two short sections of pipe on either side of the fitting and two couplings, one on either end. Then you will need to cut out the pipe on both sides of the fitting(be careful, it is brittle) exactly as long as your replacement pipe (don't forget that there is a small amount of pipe that goes inside of the fittings). After making sure that everything fits nice THEN you can glue it all together. make sure all of the ends getting glued are super clean and dry, also make sure that the cut ends are smooth and free of burrs. The glue usually takes 24 hours for a full cure

bonus points if you use the cut out sections of pipe as the short sections in your new one :)

o and try not to breath the fumes from the solvent  Good Luck!
 
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First off, if it's still leaking, you should probably either turn off the water to the house or preferably close the next valve upstream of the water heater.  Hopefully there's a valve on the inlet side of the water heater you can just close.  That way you won't continue to leak water into your crawlspace.

What kind of pipes do you have?  If they're greyish metal with possibly some white dusty deposits they are probably galvanized steel.  If they're grey plastic, then that's something else.

I think you likely have to remove the fitting or whatever part is leaking and reassemble with new parts and new sealant.  I doubt you can just put some glue or fix-it stuff on and resolve the issue long term.  If the fitting has rusted through, there's a chance more parts of your system are also rusting though.  If it's right at the exit or entrance of the water heater, there's a chance the original installer didn't put in a dielectric union.  That separates copper piping from steel piping with an insulator so that the electrical action of the dissimilar metals don't cause corrosion.  When that fitting is not installed, I think the closest steel fitting will rust prematurely.  Hopefully this is the case because it indicates the problem is isolated and fixable.

The challenge with replacing a fitting is figuring out how many other fittings/joints you have to unscrew to get to the one you need to fix.  Can you snap a few photos of the piping in question?

Assuming it is galvanized steel pipe, you can use pipe dope or thread sealant tape to seal the threads when you screw them together.  They dry/cure pretty quickly. 
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Okay, I shut off the valve that exits the water heater. This results in the awsomeness of having some running water in the house. Yay me!!

"First you have to figure out which plastic the pipe is made from.."
It's a gray plastic...
PB110 SDR11 .062 8137.8 CPS-00 100 PSI 180 F ATSMO-3309

Trying to find what THAT means. Some id was unreadable.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Mike Jay wrote:Can you snap a few photos of the piping in question?



I wish. No camera.

 
Mike Jay
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Ok, then the whole dielectric fitting part can be ignored.  As can the rusting part   I'm not sure what kind of plastic that is.  My plastic piping is whitish in color.  Pex is usually red or blue (I think).

How old is the plumbing? 

Can you tell that the leak is coming out of the joint between the T fitting and one of the pipes coming out of it?  And not a split or crack in the pipe or fitting?

Since it is plastic, there's a chance some sort of fix-it goop could repair the issue. 

Once someone on here has identified the plastic, your local big box store, hardware store or plumbing supply place could confirm if there's a suitable goop to repair it with. 

If you have to replace the tee, it likely involves cutting the pipe on all three sides of the tee, adding couplings to the new cuts and then adding in new straight pieces and a new tee.  Depending on if the pipes have room to move that job can be a pain or a breeze.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Maybe polybutylene pipe? If so, they are no longer made. Bad product, frequent fails. I really can't repipe my home.
https://sizes.com/materials/pipe_polybutylene.htm


I don't know how old the pipes are. I think it's the fitting. I can't see any cracks though. The pipes rest at a high arc, so I think there is more length than they had to have.

A company, SharkBite, claims to carry a fitting to bridge polybutylene to Copper, PEX, CPVC or PE-RT. But is that necessary? And PVC is different than those listed?
http://www.sharkbite.com/product/polybutylene-transition-couplings/
 
Mike Jay
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The sharkbite fittings do connect a bunch of different types of pipe together so they are an option.  I haven't tried them myself but they are intended for the do it yourselfer.  It looks like the one you found is to connect PB to another type of piping.  In that case you could get a CPVC tee and a short bit of CPVC piping and recreate that portion of your piping.  Then cut the old tee out and install three of those sharkbites.  Then measure carefully and trim the new CPVC pipes to the right length and stick them into the sharkbites.  The biggest issue will be if there's enough wiggle room with the piping to allow you to insert the pipe into the fittings.

PVC is a bit different from the others, including CPVC.  My house has CPVC.  PVC is used for drain and vent piping and isn't used for supply piping.  I'm not sure why but I'd guess it's not safe for drinking water.

Here's a guy on YouTube who seems to have a similar problem to you.  He fixed it with PEX piping and fittings.  I've never used PEX due to a possibly erroneous belief that the crimper tool is too expensive.  Maybe they're cheap now.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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So I went back under the house.... the pipe says it's 1/2 inch pipe... So that's the INSIDE dimention?
 
Mike Jay
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According to the chart on your earlier link, yes it's a 1/2" Inside Diameter (ID) and .625" OD.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Going back to the hardware store. Oh, fun times.

Thanks for you help! I may still need more of it though. Fair warning.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Mike Jay wrote:The sharkbite fittings do connect a bunch of different types of pipe together so they are an option.  I haven't tried them myself but they are intended for the do it yourselfer.  It looks like the one you found is to connect PB to another type of piping.  In that case you could get a CPVC tee and a short bit of CPVC piping and recreate that portion of your piping. 

Here's a guy on YouTube who seems to have a similar problem to you.  He fixed it with PEX piping and fittings.  I've never used PEX due to a possibly erroneous belief that the crimper tool is too expensive.  Maybe they're cheap now.



Okay, I may have overlooked it, but I didn't find a CPVC T. So, I bought a brass T, CPVC pipe, and 3 fittings. I shall report back if the house leaks.

This work is over for tonight. Tomorow is a new day!

EDIT to add...

For those interested, a link for instalation instructions on those SharkBite fittings.

Oh, that PEX tool runs about $90. Ha.

EDIT Ooops, missed the Sharkbite link: http://www.sharkbite.com/sharkbite/wp-content/uploads/SharkBite_Installation_Instructions_2018_WEB.pdf
 
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For bang for the buck PEX cannot be beat, PEX will freeze and stretch and thaw and reform to its original dimension.
If you have to replace pipe I recommend replacing it with PEX and replace the entire system as possible.
Pex allows foolish extravagance with marginal maintenance temperatures without a mistake becoming a consequence.

For what its worth I prefer the Wirsbo system to the Sharkbite or the copper rings, but the equipment is even more expensive, however....they will last a lifetime....
Wirsbo is problematic in cold weather, in that, extra time / heat must be allowed to facilitate the rings shrinking back to their original diameter.

All other forms of piping are subject to breakage during freeze /thaw cycles

CPVC is intended for hot water as its stable to a much higher temp than PVC.
PVC starts to off gas chlorine and break down the structure at high enough temps
Poly pipe is inadequate for hot water as it swells too much and renders fittings marginal
ABS is not approved for potable water.
PEX is stable at all household temps. PEX is also excellent for air piping in your shop as well as a reasonable low cost solution for in floor heating
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Red Smith wrote:For bang for the buck PEX cannot be beat, PEX will freeze and stretch and thaw and reform to its original dimension.
If you have to replace pipe I recommend replacing it with PEX and replace the entire system as possible.
Pex allows foolish extravagance with marginal maintenance temperatures without a mistake becoming a consequence.



It sounds like PEX would be good when we have to replace everything. I just can't justify that much for the tool to be used on one project. The whole system, likely worth it. Thanks.


Update

Success!!

I did indeed purchase the Sharkbite connectors I mentioned above. One T connector (will connect any of the following, PEX, CPVC, PE-RT OR Copper), CPVC to be connected to the 3 adaptors for CPVC (or PEX, PE-RT, or Copper) pipe to BP (the for shit pipes at are under my hose). I bought a pipe cutter, not imagining a clean cut with the contortions I must endure while wielding a hack saw. :D This kind of pipe cutter (https://www.amazon.com/WORKPRO-4-Inch-3-32mm-Tubing-Cutter/dp/B01CSB3B4A/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1522879665&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=pipe+cutter&psc=1) will not cut my for shit PB water pipes!  (It did a fine job on both PVC and CPVC, I checked before rejoining the creepy crawlies.) It will only score and squish PB. I was right, the hacksawed pipe ends got themselves really chewed up. I am certain that had nothing to do with the saw operator! Quit laughing!

Back to the hardware store… with my butchered pipe segment. So the clerk and I found a pipe cutter (https://www.amazon.com/TEKTON-6466-PVC-Pipe-Cutter/dp/B000NY4THS) that would actually cut the BP, rather than squish it. (Also cuts PVC and CPVC well.) The result was clean, without a single burr.
I returned under the house and replaced the T that had actively dripping water… Ummm… I replaced the cold water T. The one that apparently was CLOSE to failing.

Soooo, my Honey got home late that night. Hardware store was closed. Next day, ditto… Next day, I made it to the store. They had not restocked. “It may be in on Thursday. Or if not, the following Thursday…”  She said with a cheery smile. GRRR!

The next opportunity to drive into the city, 45 minutes away to the big box store was yesterday. I bought the required T and 3 adaptors. And this afternoon, I replaced them on the CORRECT already badly spraying hot water pipes.

Yay me!
 
Mike Jay
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Awesome!  I'm glad it worked :)   Now you can replumb the rest of it as needed.  As you learn each part of it, you start to get better and pretty soon you actually could replumb a whole house. 

I agree with your pipe cutter findings.  The first one is good for copper but I'm not sure plastic.  The second one is what I use for cpvc and pvc.  It's a clean cut and square enough for plumbing.

Congrats!
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Thanks again Permies! I wouldn't have tackled this without ya'll. Thanks for helping us save some bucks.
 
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I love a happy ending. Great job there Joylynn!
 
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A helpful hint to any and all reading this thread for "next time", especially when you need immediate results and proper repair parts are far away, etc.....just about ANY leak can be fixed, at least temporarily if not long term, with enough strips of bicycle inner tube!  This is a good material to have on hand around the farm for numerous uses....simply take an old inner tube, cut it open where the valve is and cut it into long strips, anywhere from half an inch wide to wider sizes.  To stop a leak, start wrapping a piece of the stuff beside it on the pipe, catching the end under the first wrap, and then wrap on, overlapping each course on the edge of the last, very tightly.  Gradually proceed up and over the crack or joint or wherever it is leaking.  When you run out of the first piece, and if it's still dripping, add in another, catching the two ends together under the first wraparound, and then come back over the leak.  Do it with the water on, or turn it back on before you finish, to test the work, and just keep doing it until it stops dripping.  Finish by trapping the last end under the wrap before it, or with a piece of duct tape (this will also protect the rubber from sun if the leak is out in the open...sun rots rubber fast).  I have patched the main pipe from our well pump this way for months, also propane, and even high-pressure steam coming from a boiler! 
 
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Joylynn

Congrats on getting it fixed! 

I work in the plumbing trade and would offer the following:

Polybutylene got its bad rap from the fittings failing, not the pipe itself.  I have worked on lots of jobs with PB and as long as it's still flexible, I don't try to convince homeowners to replace it, especially if it's obvious that they can't really afford to.  The class action suits happened due to flooding catastrophies caused by fittings leaking, most likely poor installation jobs.  PB was not designed for interior plumbing systems.  The systems used mostly home runs with minimal fittings.  The story I heard was that ambitious salesmen got together and convinced plumbers to use PB for applications it wasn't designed for.  The plumbers used tons of fittings, and buried them in walls, a good number did it really poorly!  Back in the day, I walked up to PB failed jobs and saw water running out the front doors of apartment complexes. 

I have jobs with PB that were build in the 80's.  So they are going on 40yrs old!  I have replaced lots of fittings and old distribution manifolds, all connected to the original PB.  You will hear lots of people tell you PB is horrible, and to never buy a house with PB.  I have lots of experience that proves otherwise.  So I would recommend checking for structural integrity, and flexibility, then use the proper transition fittings and continue on with pex.

The transition couplings are less than a dollar to just a couple of dollars, much less than the sharkbite fittings, but yes, you do need a crimp tool.  You will save money in the long run buying a crimp tool and fittings rather than sharkbite fittings.  I have had sharkbite fittings leak a disturbing number of times, and never use them anymore!  I know lots of plumbers who use them, they are quick and easy, but, In my experience, as well as the experience of friends in the business, they are not a safe long term fix, and should never be buried in walls or inaccessible areas.

The fitting you want is this
https://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBite-3-4-in-Brass-PEX-Barb-Polybutylene-Coupling-UC4016LFA/202270594?cm_mmc=Shopping%7CTHD%7CG%7C0%7CG-BASE-PLA-AllProducts%7C&gclid=Cj0KCQjwkpfWBRDZARIsAAfeXaqUcJ12K6HvMD67AqW_hx6aD4AABpKC2fNvHMm1Uhjtx0Niu3GkVZ0aAhEzEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CID_l_nppNoCFVAmHwod5BcOEw

If you get it at Home Depot or lowes, it comes with crimp rings, the bright one goes on the PB,
And the end with closer ridges goes into the PB.  They are cheaper at the plumbing supply house, you just need to buy rings separately. 

The cutter you ended up will work fine, the trick not to crush the PB, even with  that cutter is to put a little pressure on the pipe with the cutter, then rotate the cutter back and forth a little. This will start the cut and make it easy to finish.

This cutter from Home Depot is fine also, only $7

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-1-1-4-in-Poly-Pipe-Ergo-Cutter-26120/202206817?cm_mmc=Shopping%7CVF%7CG%7C0%7CG-VF-PLA%7C&gclid=Cj0KCQjwkpfWBRDZARIsAAfeXarrFKS-T7yep5gCzYE_1ffat8I5Y-FRxBBuViYSVFvSmKkCxnivVXgaAhcXEALw_wcB&dclid=CJGW88PwpNoCFY1IhgoddpcGwA



 
Joylynn Hardesty
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Thank you Kevin. Now it seems like a job that might get done before catastrophe.
 
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My experience with this tubing is that the larger diameter dose erode with hot water near the tank.  The 3/8 tubing was not a problem except at joints. I never had problems with the shark bite fittings for replacement or repair.  I replaced the 3/4 inch from the tank as far as I could reach with PVC and was able to joint with the polybutile with compression fittings.
 
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