Can I use JB Weld to fix a leak on a tankless heater water line?

Discussion in 'Tankless Water Heater Forum' started by ron_jeremy, May 26, 2021.

  1. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    We own a Paloma PH-24M-DP propane tankless heater. The unit is well over two decades old and has been a total work horse.

    Tonight we noticed a leak in one of the core lines (excuse any incorrect verbage).

    Being a former dirt biker, I have some JB Weld on hand. Can I use it to fix this leak or should I be looking at something else?

    Our Paloma heater:

    paloma_ph-24m-dp_tankless_heater.jpeg

    The line that's leaking:

    paloma_ph-24m-dp_tankless_heater_leak_01.jpeg

    Close up of leak:

    paloma_ph-24m-dp_tankless_heater_leak_02.jpeg
     
  2. breplum

    breplum Member

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    Plumbing and heating contractor
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    San Francisco Bay Area
    Not very likely at all that it would make a permanent fix.
     
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  4. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    Any ideas on how I could fix it here at home without removing it from the wall & hauling it (via 3 modes of transportation) to civilization?
     
  5. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Drain the line, clean the copper coil until it is perfectly shinnied then buy lead-free solder (melting point around 422 F.) using a small flame solder over the tiny split and don't forget to buy flux such as Nokorode or any nonacid (self-cleaning fluxes)
     
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  6. bingow

    bingow Member

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    Location:
    New Mexico, USA
    Having the DIY disease, I would first Google how to fix a heater core pin hole leak. If "no joy", then I'd risk all and drill and tap the hole to accept the smallest machine screw I could find. Apply gasket sealer, or some other wonder gunk. Dissimilar metals corrosion might end up being your biggest problem, and you'd need to research that.
     
  7. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    I was giving a permanent fix.

    If someone did use a stainless steel screw it would cause an electrolytic action to take place

    Drilling a screw into thin copper would fail as the coefficient of expansion per degree of the different metals would cause a larger leak to occur
     
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  8. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    I Would have suggested BAR solder to fill the gap as it does work on heating and cooling coils but it is not for potable water as bar solder contains lead
     
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  9. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Thank you for helping. I thought the pipe was made of aluminum because it is silver in color, not copper colored like the pipe connected to it below:

    paloma_ph-24m-dp-02.jpeg
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2021
  10. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Good luck
     
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  11. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    Thanks. If I feel it's over my head I'll have to look into getting a professional over here but that is easier said than done due to our location. Just to confirm, you're sure the silver pipe with the pinhole leak is copper, right?
     
  12. Bannerman

    Bannerman Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I first thought aluminum but copper is often coated with a chrome type finish to prevent it from turning green over time. You will likely need to scratch into the finish to determine the type of metal below.
     
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  13. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

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    Take a piece of fine sand cloth sand the hole till copper shows. Heat exchanger on your heater looks like it's copper according to the sale brochure. Look at how it works. Would not be surprised by trying to solder the hole will get bigger because the metal so thin and could be limed up if yearly service wasn't done.
    http://besttanklesswater.com/technology/how_works.html
     
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  14. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    I called Paloma regarding PH-24M-DP and they confirmed it is copper BUT you're more than welcome to call them also

    I will be driving right past Sullivan county Tues on route 17 as I am heading to Rochester then going to race my BMW 750 M Sport at Watkins Glen



    BMW.jpg
     
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  15. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    Use Crocus cloth or a wire brush for copper to clean the area properly
     
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  16. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    I'm at the point where I'm ready to remove the heater from the wall mount but am not sure which of these connectors is the correct one to disconnect the gas line.

    I tried connector # 1 but I could not budge it (tried turning left and right). Also, it's very hard to exert a good amount of torque on the wrench without feeling like I'm going to compromise other pipes/connectors due to flexing, etc.

    Is connector #1 the proper disconnect point or one of the other connectors?

    Paloma_PH-24M-DP_tankless_heater_gas_pipe.jpg
     
  17. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

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    You better be really careful with a wing gas cock as the handle is prone to be broken and the lock nut on the bottom is notorious for leaks
     
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  18. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
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    • By "wing gas cock" are you referring to the on/off valve? If so, can you suggest an alternative?
    • I assume the lock nut you're referring to is #4. Can you also suggest an alternative?
     
  19. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

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    Location:
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    I have completely disassembled the heater, separated the burner from the rad core, and removed the rad core from the chassis.. I have never soldered before but have watched a bunch of online videos. I have some acid free solder and flux but I'm not sure if I should attempt this or take it to a pro.

    Anyway, before applying the solder, should I direct the flame to the actual cracked area of the pipe or should I apply it to the area at the opposite side of the crack?

    Paloma_PH-24M-DP_tankless_heater_leaking_pipe_02.jpg

    Paloma_PH-24M-DP_tankless_heater_leaking_pipe_03.jpg
     
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  20. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    If I did this, I would want solder that contains silver in the alloy, and use "tinning flux" such as Oatey No. 95. If I wanted somebody else to do this, I might inquire at an old-time radiator shop. Maybe an old guy there would do it with your lead-free solder and flux.

    Applying heat, a little of both, I would think. Maybe practice on some scrap copper or old pennies.
     
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  21. ron_jeremy

    ron_jeremy New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2018
    Location:
    Canada
    Soldering is not going to be the solution. This might be crazy, but I am thinking of cutting the pipe at the curve where the crack starts, installing a slip-over fit elbow, and connecting the rest of the 'down' pipe while doing my best to keep it in the same position, or maybe using some sort of flexible pipe instead of the original pipe.

    If anyone thinks this might work please also include the materials I'd need to use in your comments :)
     
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