Pipe burst - flooded our finished basement - need advice

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by jpinard, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. jpinard

    jpinard New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Pipe burst - need advice (picture attached)

    We had a pipe burst in the basement. It was the feed line to the outside faucet. It must have frozen during winter and when we needed to refill our pond it blew wide open. Needless to say it flooded our finished basement and made a mess.

    Our finances are extremely tight and I was wondering if I could replace that ruptured pipe myself? I've replaced our toilet and done both the kitchen and bathroom sink plumbing, the garbage disposal, showerheads, and of course the new toilet.

    It's just a 10" straight piece of Cu pipe that has to replaced. Is that doable by someone with my moderate experience? If it isn't, what should it cost me to have a plumber do it?

    Thanks!
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  2. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Yes, and no to your question. Yes, it is something a DIYer can do, but since you are asking the question, I must assume you don't have a torch, solder, flux, tubing cutter, and emery cloth that you would need to have; and I would also assume you do not know how to sweat copper joints. It will be fairly costly to have a plumber do the job because the basic charges just to pay his overhead would be quite a bit. However, by the time you buy the materials, the tools, and practice sweating a joint or two, you will likely spend almost as much as just hiring a professional. You might inquire among friends if any of them can do this work. It's really not technically that difficult, but there are some skills required.
  3. jpinard

    jpinard New Member

    Messages:
    12
    That's what I was afriad of. Maybe not a good time to learn how to sweat copper points?
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The process is actually simple enough although there are several processes that must be done in order to get a good joint. My thinking is that you must have certain basic tools and supplies, and you would have a fair amount of money invested just to make maybe 4 joints. Not suggesting at all that you couldn't do it. My first experience with with copper air lines. I had one air leak when I finished and the system is still hold air pressure today. I look at those first joints and laugh because they are butt ugly, but looks don't count. I still don't claim professional status, but my joints do look better! If you want to tackle this, here's some of the basic principles.

    All water must be removed and kept out of the pipe. The pipe must be cut cleanly and squarely. A tubing cutter is by far the best way, but a hack saw can be used then the rough edges filed smooth. Before the joint is assembled, the surfaces of the pipe end and the inside of the fitting must be brushed or sanded until bright and shiny. A stiff wire brush sized for the pipe fittings is the easiest way to clean inside the fittings, and the circular donut brush works great for pipe ends, but emery cloth or even medium grit sandpaper will work although it's a bit of a hassle to do the inside of fittings with paper. Do not touch the cleaned surface with your fingers. A liberal coating of flux is applied to both the pipe end and the fitting interior. The torch must be adjusted so that there is a pointed blue flame coming out of the nozzle. Heat is applied to the fitting, working around the fitting so as to heat it evenly. The joint is hot enough when solder melts when it is touched to the heated joint. You do not melt the solder with the torch. When the joint is hot enough to melt the solder, remove the heat and move the end of the solder around the joint. The solder will continue to melt and the flux will pull the molten solder into the joint. Allow the joint to cool before moving it, but you can wipe the excess solder and flux from the hot joint with a damp rag just don't get too ambitious. When soldering an elbow, a coupler or a tee, you can do both joints in one operation. Do not apply water to cool the joint (damp rag for cleaning is OK) If you mess up and a joint leaks when water is turn on, you must completely redo the joint from step 1. You can not just add more solder. You can reuse fittings, but you must get the solder pretty well removed by reheating and brushing or the pipe won't go in.

    That's about all I can think of to tell you. As I said, it's not hard, but all of those steps must be followed.
  5. Herk

    Herk Plumber

    Messages:
    547
    Location:
    S.E. Idaho
    I think you need to take a closer look at the problem.

    Yes, it appears to be a copper "pipe" that's broken, but it's unlikely to be the case. You stated that you didn't have a problem until you tried to use the hydrant. It's more likely to be a broken frost-free hydrant. Now, the fix depends upon how the hydrant was installed. If it's threaded in, you don't need to do any soldering. You simply need to shut off the water, screw off the hydrant, and get a replacement.

    If the hydrant is soldered on or otherwise fastened (as in PEX pipe or CPVC) then it could be more difficult. I always installed screw-on types because I might be the one back replacing it.

    Next year, don't leave a hose on the hydrant in freezing weather.
  6. statjunk

    statjunk DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    542
    Do you live in a major city? Look on www.craigslist.com find your city and navigate to the barter section. Find a plumber.

    Tom
  7. jpinard

    jpinard New Member

    Messages:
    12
    Here's a picture of the rupture.

    [​IMG]
  8. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    just replace the frost free and your good to go
  9. jpinard

    jpinard New Member

    Messages:
    12
    I'm sorry... I don't know what that means? Is that kind of pipe called "frost-free"?
  10. rombo

    rombo New Member

    Messages:
    62
    Location:
    Ontario
    the piece where it burst is a frost free hose bib. you may have a had time because its so close to the shut off. may be time to call in the pro's should only be a few hundred
  11. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,395
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    A frost-free hose faucet has a mostly regular looking faucet on the exterior of the house, but there is a 12" pipe that goes through the wall into the interior of the house where it attaches to the water supply, usually with a tee. There is a shaft on the inside of the pipe that connects the handle on the outside to the actually shutoff part with is on the other end. Everytime the water is turned off, this 12" pipe drains so that it is empty and can not freeze. Now, a problem arises if a hose is left attached to the faucet. Now the pipe can not drain and, in the winter time, it will freeze and break. The only water that leaks out when the weather warms is the small amount that was frozen and a little bit from the hose. Such a small amount goes unnoticed. When you turn the faucet on however, the incoming water leaks out of the split pipe. You need to use two wrenches to remove the broken frost-free. One to twist the pipe and one to hold on the supply side so as not to twist the supply line. This is a push-pull operation. Usually the hard part is gaining access to the area to work. When the new faucet is installed, reverse the push-pull and note there is a up side to the faucet.
  12. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    It may take a lot of heat to get it separated at the first joint just adjacent to the shutoff valve.

    I would try to turn off the water supply before that shutoff so the valve can be disassembled by unscrewing that hex from the valve. That would remove the heat-susceptible parts from the valve.

    After you have removed the screws that probably attach the outdoor valve to the siding, you can apply heat to the end of the outdoor valve (the first joint away from the failure) and have someone outside to twist and pull by hand to separate it when the solder melts.

    You will then want to get a new valve at HD with the same length as the failed one.

    The seal on the new valve is very near the solder joint where it will be attached. The pros might solder it while assembled but I would remove the stem, or at least open the new valve, before soldering it.

    This is a pretty straightforward task that will give you experience for fixing future problems. Consider it an investment in the things that go with being a homeowner.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2008
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    That frost-free faucet looks to me like it is soldered on, not threaded on. So, if I'm right (look closely at the joint near the shutoff for threads, I don't see any), you'll need to unsolder that piece. This will require two people unless you want ti hacksaw the valve apart or a use good pair of pliers to twist and undo the frost free faucet from the short stub of pipe near the shutoff while heating the joint.
    When you heat the joint to remove the broken faucet, you might end up pulling out the stub going into the shutoff.

    Before you consider trying to unsolder it, turn the water to the whole house off, then open the valve and let it drain out...You can't have water in the pipes while trying to solder or unsolder.

    Note, unless you get an exact match, the total length might be sligthly different, and the end might stick out. This would require that you shorten or lengthen that stub sticking into the faucet.

    None of this is particularly hard, but can be intimidating if you've never done it.

    Before attempting to do this, you should buy a section of pipe and a few fittings and practice soldering them together, and then pull them apart. Much easier to learn out on a workbench or some open area than up between the joists over your head.
  14. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    When working with the torch up in the space between the joists, be sure to use a heat shield so you don't burn the house down. I made a very simple one out of an old tin can -- just unroll it slightly and tack it up to something handy.
  15. rudytheplbr

    rudytheplbr 36 Journeyman Plbr

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Ketchikan, Alaska
    Broken Hydrant

    Why not just cut the pipe between the valve and the hydrant, get a pc of copper the same length and join it back together w/ a talon type fitting? That way, you don' t need to learn to solder. Have a plumber in the shop join your pipe to a new hydrant install it and join it. Remember KISS.
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,313
    Location:
    New England
    Unless I'm all wet, the frostfree valve seat is way back at the end of that pipe - near the shutoff valve near the t. You could probably use a SHarkbite fitting, if the stub is long enough, but it would provide no strength from the faucet turning outside...it should be screwed to the sidewall, but still a little messy. Those fittings work best if they aren't disturbed after installation.
  17. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    224
    Location:
    Ontario
    I might be tempted to try and repair this in place:

    Cut a 1.5 inch long section of 3/4in copper pipe, cut it down the middle with a hacksaw to make two saddles. Clamp the saddles around the break to mould the split back in place. Take the saddles off.

    Pick one of the saddles that will become a patch. Adjust the curvature to closely fit the curvature of the valve pipe.

    Close the cut-off and open the frost-free valve to let the water out. Leave the valve open.

    Clean the split pipe and the patch saddle for soldering. Flux it up.

    Secure the patch in place with a stainless hose clamp or two.

    Torch, solder and let cool. Maybe leave the hose clamp, just in case.
  18. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    Sounds pretty
    [​IMG]
    To me!
    I woud install a new frost proof sillcock and next winter remember to disconnect the hose so it doesn't freeze again.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2008
  19. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Messages:
    1,328
    Location:
    Columbus, OH

    I might try that too if I didn't know how to solder or couldn't or whatever. Maybe put some rubber hose under the "saddle" and clamp it in place with the hose clamps.

    best is to replace it though.

    Jason
  20. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    I have repaired and also replaced a couple of frost-free faucets. This is an opportunity to replace one that you will eventually have to replace anyway.

    The faucet can be replaced with perhaps one and and at most two solder joints.

    It is a one-joint job if you can get another faucet of the same length.

    It is a one-joint job if the new valve is a bit longer and requires cutting the short length of 1/2" copper between the frost-free and the shutoff valve.

    It is a two-joint job if you have to replace the short stub of 1/2" copper that connects the frost-free to the shutoff valve.

    See my post on 4-4-2008 for some ideas on details.
Similar Threads: Pipe burst
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Pressure relief valve to reduce pipe bursting? Mar 20, 2013
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Pipe burst! CPVC, to prime or NOT to prime? What went wrong? Feb 26, 2012
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Leaking Shower Drain - burst pipe? corroded? Jul 27, 2011
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Pipe bursts...very small holes...advice? Feb 3, 2011
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice Frozen/Burst Outdoor Pipe Question Jan 24, 2011

Share This Page