(Not a) Gas Line Union Leak

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Geobrick, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    California
    Thanks. I'll look into using a tracer to find the Tees. They should be under grass.

    The gas company only sniffed around the meter area and suspected the line going to the pool. They used a sensor on a pole with a spike they pushed several inches into the dirt.
    They also did a pressure test on the pool line to show me it was leaking. They red tagged the valve but had to stay about and hour more until their sensor showed a safe level in the area.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  2. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    California
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  3. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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  4. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    I'm no chemist but hydrogen didn't work out too well for the hindenburg blimp. what's the price to test and locate?
    If this was my house I would approach differently than the way I would approach as a pro. my house I would dig up and expose where you started then I would dig up at tee and put a test on each of the 3 lines. As a pro I would price out entire new line or sub out detection and go time and material on repair. or let owner hire detection and proceed accordingly but wouldn't spend much time talking about it if not on clock. it might just be a leak at the tee or at transition. please share cost of detection and what they tell you .
     
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  5. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    California
    Here's my latest status.
    I capped the line going to the main supply and at the pool heater with the gauge on the bbq supply (but I can't cap at the fire pit).

    I pressurized it (with air) to 10-psi and after an hour it's already down to 6-psi. This makes it pretty clear the leak is underground. I'll try to dig as much as I can around the sweep pipe and see if I can expose where it connects to the PE. I'll then check that with a combustible gas sensor (after reassembling everything). If there's no leak there, I'll find someone to trace the line to where it connects to the Tees and try digging there (if there's no cement over it) to check for leaks.
    Here are some pics.

    Pool-line-removed-IMG_3253.jpg removed-pool-line-IMG_3252.jpg Pool-line-sweep-pipe-top-IMG_3255.jpg Pool-line-cap-IMG_3258.jpg Heater-Line-Cap-IMG_3261.jpg Gauge-under-bbq-IMG_3260.jpg
     
  6. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    ok next step start digging it just might be right there at transition
     
  7. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    California
    Yes but that connection is about 30" down and 30" behind concrete block wall that's built on a cement footing that's about 24x24. Once it passes under that wall, where the connection to the PE is, it's under a solid cement patio (about 3 to 4" thick). So even if I can dig out enough to see the connection, there will be no way to get to it without cutting through the cement patio. But at least I'll know where the leak is.

    Since this is a relatively slow leak and all appliances attached were still functioning, would it be crazy for me to just reassemble it all, leave the valve turned off and only turn it on when I want to use the BBQ, pool spa or fire pit?
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  8. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    I think thats a bad move to ignore red tag . I would fix it
     
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  9. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    California
    Long overdue update:
    I hired a concrete guy to chop/cut away the concrete wall footing so I can get more access to the pipe.

    IMG_1521.JPEG

    As you can see in the photo, it didn't help because the PE junction is too far under the wall to get to from this side.

    So I had him go at it from the other side with much better results.

    IMG_1519.JPEG
    IMG_1520.JPEG

    I can now get to the junction. I plan to verify the exact location of the leak before I continue the repair.
     
  10. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    from that point on its all under concrete? and you've determined no leak here?
     
  11. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    California
    The leak was clearly isolated to that gas line and coming from the hole I dug around the sweep pipe. It's only now that I have enough access to verify the exact location (is it corrosion in the metal or is there a bad junction to the PE?). I want to know that before I start the repair. I'll pressurize it again to locate the failure point. I'd be very surprised if the leak isn't in that exposed area.

    The PE pipe continues under a patio that extends 12-15' before it gets to a grass area. My hope was to find someone who could run a new section of pipe under the concrete without having to break up the patio. I've seen PE pipe installed in a neighborhood by the local gas company where they used something called a gopher (I think) that had a bullet shaped head that used percussive air pressure to hammer a path through the ground without trenching (just some strategically placed holes along it's path every 30-50'). I've not been able to find any service like that in my area. Maybe I should hire the boring company (Elon Musk's company that bores tunnels under cities to create underground roads to relieve traffic).

    I called a plumber that advertised trenchless pipe repairs but they told me it was only for sewer pipe. In my case they would have had to break up the cement to get to the junction to replace the sweep pipe. They suspected 90% of the time the leak would be at that junction.

    In the meantime, I should change the name of this thread since it's no longer about a Union leak.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
  12. fitter30

    fitter30 Well-Known Member

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    Retired service tech
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    Peace valley missouri
    Psychic can i get stock to invest in. I could use a good tip. Yellow pipe good to 80 lbs lets pressurised then maybe soap bubbles check at either end.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
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  13. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
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    Good news. Found the leak. It's on the riser pipe about 20"down a bit after it begins the 90 degree bend. Seems like corrosion caused a small hole through the metal. You'll see tape in the picture where the leak is. I put the tape there so the line would hold air pressure long enough to check the Fusion couplings also. Does anyone have a preference for Con-Stab or Home-Flex Risers and fittings? I'm leaning towards the Con-Stab riser because they designed it so the PE pipe goes all the way through the riser (so if the metal corrodes over time, the PE will still be good) but I like the Home-Flex compression fittings (no special chamfering tool needed but if people like it better, I'll use it).

    64141892727__D5E32B34-17E7-4EF8-BD18-D65BE49EDD8D.jpg

    IMG_1529.jpg
     
  14. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    weired place for leak but it happens . found leaks in the middle of runs of pipe befor
     
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  15. Geobrick

    Geobrick Member

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    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
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    I just wanted to conclude this thread with the completed project.

    As shown in my earlier posts, the leak was from a hole in the metal riser (corrosion through the metal).
    The new riser designs have the PE pipe going all the way through the metal riser pipe (vs terminating underground). The new method is a much better and would have prevented this from happening,

    In the pictures below, I highlight the corroded hole. It was 18" below ground.
    Riser-Hole-IMG_1631.jpg

    Connected the new riser using a Home Flex compression coupler
    Connected-Riser-IMG_1620.jpg

    Capped the riser for the pressure test.
    Capped-for-Pressure-Test-IMG_1618.jpg

    Pressure held for several hours.
    Held-Pressure-IMG_1579.jpg

    Connected and back online.
    Done-IMG_1622.jpg

    Thanks for the advice along the way.
     
  16. Jeff H Young

    Jeff H Young In the Trades

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    Feb 27, 2020
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    92346
    Thanks for the conclusion geobrick
     
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