A different outdoor faucet leaking indoors deal

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Blooze, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    Today we noticed that a corner area about 12" square of carpet was damp near an outside faucet. We always pull the hoses off long before a freeze hits here and put those little styrofoam covers over the spigots and haven't turned on the faucet since. We have built in cabinets in the corner where the leak is occuring and the faucet appears to go through the brick siding and behind the inside cabinet sidewall, not behind the cabinets, so there is maybe 8 inches from the outside edge of the brick to the inside edge of the cabinet. Oh, and we are built on a slab.

    It's a very slow leak most likely at this point and is just dripping as there is not a ton of water, just the carpet pad and carpet a little wet as well as the bottom of the cabinets. Must have started in the last week. Wouldn't have noticed it if my daughter wouldn't have asked what that was over in the corner (it was a little mushroom growing in the very corner). I went out and opened up the faucet and the worst rusty colored junk came out then cleared up. It didn't seem to make it leak any worse yet like you usually see with a split faucet though.

    I've doodled a little picture from the vantage of looking straight down. The cabinets and interior walls are black, the outside brick blue, faucet yellow, and wet spot red.

    corner leak.jpg
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,360
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Those styrofoam covers are insulation, but don't have much R factor. Keep in mind that insulation does not provide heat. It slow heat transfer, but if it is cold enough for a long period of time, pipes will still freeze. Now, this may or may not be you problem, you'll have to get to the source of the leak to tell for sure what has happened. The best hose bib is a frost free type that has the actual shut off occur within the heated part of the building.
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,439
    Location:
    IL
    I would take the mushroom as tending to indicate that the leak started well earlier than that.

    I see two choices.
    1. Replace the faucet from outside by unscrewing it and hope you find it is the source of the leak. You really should have a freeze-free bib in Amarillo, TX, since it can get down to zero degrees on rare occasion. If you don't have one, you might get by with an insulating cover in the winter.
    2. Go in from the inside and replace the leaky pipe and clean up mold etc while you are there. Install the right hose bib.
    3. Both 1 and 2. This is the best choice.
  4. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    You were right. It's most likely been leaking for a couple of weeks according to the plumber we had out to look at it. If I hadn't of stepped on that little square of carpet in my socks I wouldn't have known though.

    The plumber dug away the mortar from around the spigot and took a peak inside. Seems back when they were building these homes in the neighborhood they liked to use galvanized unions from the copper to the brass bibb to save a buck. He's pretty sure it's rusted out and dripping. We have a large outdoor loveseat right by the spigot and when we moved it sure enough, the bricks were all soaked through in a 3' diameter circle and around the corner of the house. You can't really tell unless the light is shining on it well. There was a nice white ring of dried calcium deposits a foot away from the spigot on the brick as well, but the kids are never getting the hose tight and spraying the bricks all summer so we didn't think much of it.

    My wife spent all afternoon, bless her, removing the 4-5 bricks from around the spigot so the plumber can come see what to fix tomorrow. Our biggest concern now is the sheathing that is all wet behind the bricks. The plumber said if we leave it open for a week or so it will dry out and since the moisture problem (leak) will be taken care of mildew should be minimum. I really don't want to remove a 4 foot square section of brick from my house if at all possible. Hopefully it's leaking in front of the sheathing and not back in the wall, otherwise he said they would remove more brick and cut out the sheathing to fix it. He's trying to avoid going in from inside the house because they would have to go through the built ins which would be very costly to replace.

    He did check our other spigot on the front of the house and said it had been changed sometime in the past so we should be all right there.

    It's going to be costly either way, but I'd rather pay a professional than fix it myself when it comes to stuff like this, even if it's going to hurt the pocketbook pretty good.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,156
    Location:
    New England
    Take something like an icepick and poke at the wall around the valve. You will be able to tell if the wood is rotten or not. If it goes in really easily, you should open things up more to assess what may need to be replaced...if it is all solid, let it dry out, then reinstall the bricks.
  6. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    This is what the issue was. Someone had used a galvanized nipple to attach the bibb. Then torqued the copper line coming from the slab as well.

    IMG_20140312_104820.jpg


    This is the fix. Plumber cut the copper line and sweated an extension up then out to the new bibb. I question the fact it's not frost-free, but the one that he removed wasn't either. My wife is taking care of all of this since I'm not available, but she said the plumber seemed very knowledgeable and explained everything he was going to do and did quite thoroughly. He came recommended from a good friend of ours that has had a couple of leak repairs done.

    IMG_20140312_104747.jpg
  7. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,249
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    Since it is not frost free, you should have an accessible valve with a drain port on the inside of the building, so that this line can be drained or blown out during the winter.
  8. SHR

    SHR Member

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Nice job. I like what he did. Just make sure you have that shut-off valve with a drain port inside the heated portion of the home.
  9. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    I'm not sure there is anywhere to put a valve with a drain. The pipe goes straight down into the slab. Directly behind the pipe, inside, there is a built in cabinet that we would have to remove to put any kind of valve in the wall. The thick edge molding of the cabinet lines up with the pipe which is one of the reasons the plumber went in from the outside. If it had been directly behind the back of the cabinet or behind drywall I would have most likely asked him to cut a hole and just put an access panel. It's just in a really weird, inconvenient location.

    IMG_20140312_104726.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  10. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    I do have a question about replacing the insulation in this small space. The studs and a horizontal stud form a small rectangle around the pipe. The studs on the sides are about 6-7 inches from each side of the pipe (it's centered) and then there is one that is just behind (horizontal) the top elbow of the pipe. The pipe was not anchored in anyway to the horizontal stud according to my wife. There is about 2" behind the black pipe insulation and the drywall then the pipe insulation is up against the back of the foam board.

    I've pulled out all the fiberglass insulation you can see in the last pic because it was wet. Do I need to just go back with R-11 fiberglass and pack it all around the pipe, or just on the sides and between the pipe and the foam board, leaving a gap to the drywall as wide as the pipe insulation? I fear that packing it all around might insulate it from any heat from the inside of the house, although it has to go through 3/4" cabinet and drywall or mud texture, paneling, and drywall on the regular wall.

    Thanks for all the help BTW!
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2014
  11. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    This is what I ended up doing. Since the pipe insulation around the lay right up against the foamboard, putting anything between it and the foamboard wasn't possible. So I doodled a little sketch of what I did. Insulated on each side with a strip of R13, leaving a gap from the pipe insulation to the drywall. Tried putting a whole piece between the pipe and the drywall with some taken out of the middle, but there wasn't enough room to push it in so I opted for two smaller pieces for the sides. Put a little Great Stuff foam in the smallish gaps where the new foamboard didn't fit perfect and taped it up.

    Bricklayer will be here tomorrow to put everything back and do some pointing on the rest of the house. Since the mortar is the only thing holding the pipe steady I'll have to trim the pipe insulation back a little bit towards the foamboard.

    On an walk this evening around the neighborhood I didn't see one frost-free faucet. Most people still had their hoses hooked up. I'm not that daring and at least remove my hoses and try to keep the wind from hitting the faucet with one of those little insulated covers.

    insulation.jpg IMG_20140317_164725.jpg IMG_20140317_173300.jpg
  12. Blooze

    Blooze New Member

    Messages:
    13
    Location:
    Amarillo, TX
    The bricklayer came yesterday and did this. He cut the pipe insulation back the depth of the brick and mortared it in. He has done work for a handful of people I know and runs a crew here in town that lay brick for new construction. Never heard a bad word about his work.

    My only concern is that the copper pipe in the house was free standing and not anchored to anything. It was that way from the time the home was built in 1978. Something pretty creative would have had to have been made to anchor it to anything. So the only thing holding the pipe steady was/is the mortar. It wasn't a problem before, but I've warned the wife and kids to not haul away hooking the hose up, shutting the valve off, and no yanking on the hose when it's hooked up.

    IMG_20140318_190448.jpg IMG_20140318_190455.jpg
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