hot water heat leak

I've got a pin hole leak in a copper pipe on my hot water heat sytem.
Murphy is my partner. So, of course, the leak is right where the pipe
goes through the floor and you can't get at it. A proper repair is
going to mean removing the radiator above, cutting out a whole section
of pipe and replacing.
To avoid this job, does anyone suggest some sort of goo to just apply
to the surface of the pipe? Other easy fix?
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
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I've repaired pinhole leaks with a piece of inner tube and a band clamp but that's not going to work in your situation. If it were me I'd bite the bullet and call a plumber. You'll be out a hundred bucks, it'll make him happy, and you can get on with your life without the stress. Mouse
Reply to
Mouse
Sucks to be you. Unless there is evidence of mechanical damage, that means the pipe is rotted from the inside and will probably start leaking somewhere else pretty soon and maybe even burst. Also it is probably about as fragile as eggshells so getting a good proper repair even if you take the floor up is problematic.
In similar circumstances, I've just drained down, cleaned the pipe gently with wire wool and soft soldered a piece of copper foil over the hole. There are also various epoxy pipe bandage products, but for those you will need access right round the pipe.
With luck, it *MAY* get you through the winter so you can do some major pipe replacement work in the spring, but I'd make sure all valuables that are vulnerable to water damage are moved out of your ground floor, or stored well off the floor and wrapped in heavy plastic.
Reply to
IanM
Might wanna be more descriptive. You didn't say joint, so one may conclude that it's in a section of pipe. You didn't mention damage, so one might think nobody nicked, poked, drilled into it. So, why is it leaking? If it's corrosion, there may be a weak spot much bigger than the CURRENT leak.
Weigh the cost of water damage against the hassle of fixing it right.
Reply to
mike
Cutting out a section of pipe and replacing it *is* the easy way to do it. Once you have some experience soldering plumbing you'll realize this and just cut and replace the offending section rather that spending 3X the time trying to band-aid it.
You need to at least partially drain the loop so there is no water in the area you are working on. Get one of the little fiberglass heat shield cloth squares to use to back the work area and avoid torching the wall, floor, etc. Have a damp rag available to wipe excess solder from hot joints for neatness. A pair of channel-lock type pliers is essential if you try to un-solder any existing connections.
They make couplers that do not have the center dimples / grove and allow you to slide them fully onto a piece of pipe before aligning with another pipe and sliding over the joint. Make a mark on the pipe so you will know when the coupler is centered. A good lead-free paste flux and some abrasive cloth are essential in getting a good joint, especially on existing pipe. Use lead-free solder as well, likely all you'll find these days anyway.
Don't skimp on pipe cutters, get something decent like Rigid and in both full-size and the mini ones which you can use in close quarters. One of the mini-hacksaw handles is also helpful for areas too tight for even the mini tubing cutters. Don't bother trying to use a propane torch, only use MAPP or MAPP equivalent and use a good trigger-start torch like a Bernz-o-Matic TS4000. Don't be tempted to use oxy-acetylene, it's too hot for soldering (good for brazing), plumbers sometimes use air-acetylene, but not O/A generally.
Use only type L pipe, not the thinner type M. If you have a pinhole leak and it's not from mechanical rubbing damage, you may well have a lot more places ready to go unless you are lucky and it's a manufacturing defect in one spot. BTW, it's a "hydronic" heating system.
Reply to
Pete C.
$100 plumber job? Where the heck do you live? Here, $100 is what we pay for them to show up and ask questions.
I'd estimate total costs for that fix here to be $300-450.
Regards, Joe Agro, Jr. (800) 871-5022 01.908.542.0244 Automatic / Pneumatic Drills:
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V8013-R
Reply to
Joe AutoDrill
Ain't no easy fix if the thing is leaking where it goes through the floor, IMHO. Be sure to protect the new pipe from abrasion in the floor-hole. Given that you'd need to pull the pipe to get anything on it, no point in not just replacing it - paint won't do, and if you try to slop enough epoxy on there to hope it will stick, it won't - the area around the hole will be dirty and the epoxy will stick everywhere else, making the eventual removal of the pipe more difficult when it still leaks. For an accessible leak you can clean and shut off the water for, epoxy can work.
Radiator stop-leak (the automotive product) might just work, and might just cause other side effects you'd rather not have in your heating system. There may be a version intended for heating systems with less side effects, but it's a kludge in any case, not a repair.
If accessible, a tight wrap of waterproof electrical tape can hold up far longer than you might expect (on a well-cleaned pipe), but it's not accessible...
Reply to
Ecnerwal
So, cut the pipe below, lift out the radiator and the bad section, work on it at sawhorse height, then lower the new work into the hole and make the final join below. Hoisting the radiator is the only hard part. If quarters underneath are cramped, it might pay to use those push-on coupler gizmos (sharkbite, I think).
Reply to
whit3rd
What is the floor material? The reason I ask is that you may not have the situation others have referred to where the pipe is rotting from the inside. I had a pipe in my house develop pinholes where it passed through a tile/cement wall. The pipe was eaten from the outside.
can JB Weld do this fix? I've never tried it.
Reply to
rangerssuck
Lead free is not required on non-potable water - and lead solder is a LOT easier to work with in this application.
Reply to
clare
"boiler sealer" used to be a common product used for that kind of repair. "irontitie" was a common brand and is still available -. Just checked my bottle - it says "Irontite products of Canada Ltd, 295 Norfinch Drive, Downsview Ontario."
Reply to
clare
I found a pipe repair epoxy tape in McMaster Carr. I'll try that, when, not if, it fails I'll call in a pro. This is the worst possible spot. There's fifty feet of baseboard radiator all around the north end of the house. The bad spot is right at floor level going up to where the radiator starts. I can see no way to move the radiator without tearing out a bunch of sheet rock walls.
Reply to
Karl Townsend
THANKS for the tip. I wasn't going to try automotive stop leak, but I will try this. But I'll check with an HVAC and plumber type first.
Karl
Reply to
Karl Townsend
my excitement only lasted a second. Here's what google found: (I have baseboard raditors and a water lubricated pump)
A leak or crack in your boiler can be fixed with a simple sealer solution. These boiler seals are designed to be used in steam or hot water boilers. It creates a chemical seal that is tough, expands with heat and resists pressure. Very similar to products you can purchase for your car, the seal works by mixing with the water in the boiler and creates a gummy seal in any cracks or small holes. The liquid seals are not to be used in systems with water lubricated pumps, or base board radiators. It should also not be used on excessive leaks, as it won?t work on very large cracks or holes.
Read more:
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Reply to
Karl Townsend
I have drained the water, tinned the outside of the leaking pipe around the hole. Then I split a scrap of the same size pipe. Tin the inside of that piece of copper, then sweat them together with a large soldering iron. If I need room to work safely I will drill a couple holes to remove a little of the floor or wall, then fill the gap with foam insulation.
Reply to
Michael A. Terrell
Shut off the water and drain as much as you can beforehand, hoping to put it on a dry surface with no pressure behind it. If you can get to it, sand the outside of the tubing. Let it stand for 12 hours before pressurizing.
Reply to
Steve B
Irontite can be used in pump circulated systems as it is also sold for use in automotive engines (and radiators) It also searves as a water pump lubricant according to the label on the bottle.
Oh - you want the Irontite AllWeather seal, NOT the Ceramic.
My bottle is old. It's now a Kwik-Way product.
Reply to
clare
Cut it out and replace the bad section with pex pipe and sharkbite fittings,.
Scott
Reply to
jano
You won't find lead solder at the big box stores, and in my experience the lead-free solder works equally well on potable water copper pipes or hydronic heating copper pipes.
Reply to
Pete C.
Or equally poorly.
Reply to
clare

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