Testing a jacuzzi tub before it's installed and tiled - What to look for and inspect.

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by johnfrwhipple, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    We are working on a new project here in Vancouver that has a Jacuzzi soaker tub and have started the testing portion of the job. The tub went in perfectly and we used a couple ropes to support the back side while we lowered it down into position. As per standard operating procedure we checked that the tub drained well, sat level and that the overflow in fact works and does not leak when in use.

    All systems go.

    It's nice that the supplier factory tests this as well - BUT - later in the day we tested the rest of the tubs features and discovered a huge pissing leak in a fitting on the back side of the tub. The fitting is cracked and pissing water when the tub goes into the self cleaning mode.

    I used my Camera Snake to view this fitting and it is right at the bottom of a PVC Coupling. The PVC coupling is tied into a PVC tee and also a copper MPT fitting. I suspect that the Copper MPT was overtightened and the route of this problem.

    We have called the manufacture to await instructions as to the best course of action to take from this point but this morning I got to thinking "How could this happen?"

    Could it be a thermal expansion issue? Surely the factory testing would have shown a failed connection and this would have been replaced. So I can only reason that the cracked fitting happened in transit to Vancouver.

    I inspected the tub and shipping container and found no evidence of damage.

    I installed the tub and know personally that none of the tubs PVC lines where handled or damaged from this process.

    The tub did not leak when we ran the overflow testing at all. I know because I was working in the room while this was done by my plumber and looked myself for any leaks.

    The leak happened after the Jacuzzi cycles and cleaning cycles where tested. This does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling and would like to perhaps recheck these connections.


    Is there any repair kit or third party material I can use if I want to "Over Protect" all these connections?

    Thanks guys.

    JW
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,811
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Screwing an metal MPT into a plastic fitting is NEVER a good idea or a "proper" procedure. The metal will ALWAYS corrode and create pressure on the plastic female thread. Tightening a hose clamp around the female fitting can minimize the possibility of it happening, but NEVER completely eliminate it. In your case, they may have used TPFE tape on the connection and it made the thread slippery enough that they overtightened creating stress which eventually cracked the fitting. The recommendation is to test the tub BEFORE installing it, for manufacturing defects, and also after installation to find any problems that could have occurred in the process of connecting the tub.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Reinforcing PVC to Copper and PVC to Brass connection points

    The manufacture supplied test plugs for the bottom and overflow but we just installed it since the process of removing it is no harder than backing off on gear clamp. This condo has a 6" slab and we fire blocked the bottom 4" leaving enough room to tighten the MK (No Hub fitting) from above.

    We also have the power requirements to deal with so I skipped the trial run until after we installed it.

    I like the Gear clamp idea HJ but worry about the other brass to PVC and copper to PVC connections this tub has.

    If I want to use extra gear clamps at this point should I wrap the fitting first with a little rubber? Maybe some Noble Seal SIS or a scrap of Fernco cut to the right size.

    JW
  4. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,393
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    In time most plastics get brittle. Any chance the other fittings could fail do to just time?

    Is there an adapter of sorts for these PVC to copper or PVC to brass connections?

    Are there any MK (No-Hub) connectors approved for use with PVC piping in Jacuzzi tubs? Could I use a 1" No-hub between straight sections of pipe as a safer approach???

    Thanks HJ.

    JW
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