Leak on water heater supply, inspection report

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Terry, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,280
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    The inspection report called for fixing a leak on a supply.
    I didn't see the report, and it seemed easy enough.
    This is what I saw. Oh yeah, a water heater that also served as space heating. The copper 90 looked to be leaking. There was a check valve on this, and perhaps that had been part of the problem when it was soldered up by the previous plumber.

    [​IMG]

    Removing the flex, and unthreading the valve and check, I soldered on new pipe and fittings, and spun everything back together, using a new flex. If I remove a flex, it gets tossed.

    [​IMG]

    When a copper fitting is leaking like that, the best step is to remove it and start over again.
    Now the home is ready for the next owner. :)
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2014
  2. fullysprinklered

    fullysprinklered Member

    Messages:
    247
    Location:
    Georgia
    I think copper is still the premium material for water lines , but it has to be properly connected with good solder joints to take advantage of it's superior qualities. There are a number of ways to make the connections badly, and the nature of the connection process doesn't lend itself to any kind of foolproof, surefire process that guarantees a perfect joint. You take care in prepping the joint, but even then sometimes it doesn't take. Sometimes it holds pressure and fails years down the road for whatever reason. You look at the failed joint and see bare copper on the tube that was in the fitting that should have been covered in solder.

    On the subject of copper pipe, I get calls on these spontaneous leaks several times a year. I've heard that it's this or that; bad water, etc. I've had two such repairs in the last week. On the first job I resectioned the pipe by cutting out the leaky spot plus a foot or so in both directions. When I went to scrap the bad pipe, I bent it over my knee and it bent way too easy; plus it didn't crimp at all but ripped as if very thin.

    Second call, I cut out a three foot section of 3/4 pipe to remove the leaky spot. I did a sharkbite and pex repair on the pipe in a basement. Today I was cleaning out my van and found the scrap piece. In the spirit of scientific method, I bent it over my knee and it popped almost in completely in two. No crimp, no bend.

    Not enough evidence for a definitive pronouncement, but it looks like the pipe got thin in these cases and may boil down to a quality control issue.
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