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  • Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

    On Tuesday Night I noticed my laundry room ceiling was changing color and was wet. Pulled down the area around it, and found the pipe that a 3/4" hot water line had a small drop of water on it. A small drip happens about every minute or so. It is right in the middle of the line, not near a fitting.

    Called a plumber on Wednesday, was supposed to come out this afternoon. Didn't show, I called him at 3:30 to verify, got voicemail and haven't gotten a call back. I figure I'll just try to fix it myself.

    My plan is to just cut out a few inches around the drop, replace it with a new piece of copper and a union on either side. Is this a reasonable way to go about it? Would you guys do something else?

    Also, any ideas why a line would start to leak like that?

  • #2
    Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

    It may not be in the middle of the pipe, it could be traveling down the pipe. Before you cut any pipe find out where it is leaking, it could be leaking from a fitting
    The Other Rick

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    • #3
      Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

      Cut it and sweat a coupling right there.
      Buy cheap, buy twice.

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      • #4
        Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

        I would cut enough of it out so that you can identify what the problem is. When you make the repair use couplings not unions.

        Mark
        "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

        I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

          Originally posted by rick1643 View Post
          It may not be in the middle of the pipe, it could be traveling down the pipe. Before you cut any pipe find out where it is leaking, it could be leaking from a fitting
          Rick,

          Thanks for the advice. I don't think it is traveling down the pipe, because only a small section is wet (about 1/2"). I will tape a bit of paper towel around the pipe an inch or two away overnight, so that if they are dry in the morning I can be more confident that it is the right spot.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

            Originally posted by ToUtahNow View Post
            I would cut enough of it out so that you can identify what the problem is. When you make the repair use couplings not unions.

            Mark
            Any ideas as to what to look for? This is the part of the repair that could have most benefited from a professional.

            As far as how much to cut out, my thought was to cut out about 4-6" or so that I know that I'm soldering on what should hopefully be good pipe.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

              Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
              Cut it and sweat a coupling right there.
              Gear Junkie,

              It sounds like you wouldn't cut out any of the pipe, and just put a no stop coupling over the joint? Any reason you prefer that to two couplings (e.g., fewer joints to solder)?

              After thinking about it a bit, the leak is about midway between two joists, so I'm thinking that cutting and replacing a section is probably something I should do just to get enough room to maneuver the fittings for the repair.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                Originally posted by cpw View Post
                Any ideas as to what to look for? This is the part of the repair that could have most benefited from a professional.

                As far as how much to cut out, my thought was to cut out about 4-6" or so that I know that I'm soldering on what should hopefully be good pipe.
                I would cut at least 3" on either side of the pin hole. Hold the pipe up to a light source and look through it. There should be a light layer of patina inside the pipe as a protective film. If you see any etching or shinny areas it is likely the cause of your problem and you should report back here.

                Mark
                "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                  If you would like I can probably swing by tommorrow or have my guy swing by it sounds like a 1,2,3 fix especially since it is already open. PM me or give a call.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                    Originally posted by cpw View Post
                    Any ideas as to what to look for? This is the part of the repair that could have most benefited from a professional.

                    As far as how much to cut out, my thought was to cut out about 4-6" or so that I know that I'm soldering on what should hopefully be good pipe.
                    1) Can you post a pic and I will bring it into photoshop and show you what to look for ,....

                    OR ,

                    Once you find it use a "slip" coupling , this will allow you to slip the coupling on the pipe on one side and then slip it back the other way , Its basically to avoid double couplings .

                    Here is a "stop free" or "slip coupling" ( Bottom one is slip coupling )
                    Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
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                    • #11
                      Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                      Also check your water pressure. If it is too high then you will possibly develope another leak after you repair this one. Eighty PSI is the max. Install a pressure regulator if it is high. But if your pressure is ok then maybe it was just a bad piece of pipe. Or a piece of iron or steel could have gotten in from the supply and ate thru the pipe wall. You would see a pile at the leak site inside the pipe. In this case you should install a whole house sediment/particulate filter.

                      Any handyman can fix the problem but a good plumber can fix the problem and diagnose the cause.
                      ANYONE CAN TAKE THE HELM WHEN THE SEA IS CALM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                        Originally posted by cpw View Post
                        Gear Junkie,

                        It sounds like you wouldn't cut out any of the pipe, and just put a no stop coupling over the joint? Any reason you prefer that to two couplings (e.g., fewer joints to solder)? Answered the question yourself.

                        After thinking about it a bit, the leak is about midway between two joists, so I'm thinking that cutting and replacing a section is probably something I should do just to get enough room to maneuver the fittings for the repair.
                        Sometimes it's easier to prefab a section and install it with 2 couplings because the coupling are in a more accessable area.
                        Buy cheap, buy twice.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                          There are a whole bunch of ways to repair this one. Problem is, the copper is porbably straring to pin hole and this is going to be an ongoing problem.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                            Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                            There are a whole bunch of ways to repair this one. Problem is, the copper is porbably straring to pin hole and this is going to be an ongoing problem.
                            Excellent point and glad you mentioned that ,

                            CPW , if you wanted to do it the super right way you could just replace as much of the exposed pipe as you can from end to end,

                            As NHMaster says , the whole section of the pipe could be pitted or getting thin, and this way you don't have to look for the leak if you just replace the major section of the run.

                            **As a bonus if your real good with a torch you could un-sweat the fitting on each side of that run if pipe as well and just replace the section with the exact fitting structure that was there , meaning you won't be adding extra fittings with the repair , like the couplings we mention above.

                            I think I made sense,

                            Hope this helps
                            Help With Your Pool Or Spa Pump?►WeT HeaD Pump Repair ► Watch Me On YouTube: Pool & Spa Pump Repair TV
                            New: Pump Repair MagazineNew: Pool & Spa Pump Repair Forums

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                            • #15
                              Re: Slow Leak in Middle of Copper Pipe

                              I don't believe I would condemn the entire copper system until he removes the one piece and determines what the failure was.

                              Mark
                              "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                              I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                              Comment

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