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  • Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

    Hi, I have a leak in a 3/4" copper water line that runs under a concrete floor. Can a 5/8" pex (or flex) line be fed through the line and the repair be made complete? I hate to think of having to drill out the concrete floor to repair the leak. I have gotten conflicting opinions from local plumbers regarading if this can be done or not. One says this is the way to correct the leak - the other one says a 5/8" line cannot be fed through a 3/4" pipe. Any light you might be able to shed on this would be appreciated. Thanks, Slimnslender

  • #2
    Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

    it can be done as long as the underground copper is not kinked.

    the 1/2'' i.d. pex measures 5/8'' od and the copper measures 3/4'' i.d. and 7/8'' od. so it will fit as long as it's not kinked.

    remember the volume will be decreased with the 1/2'' pex, but the concrete will be saved

    try running an electrical fishtape through the line to string a rope and get a distance measurement.

    then if you have luck, you run that rope through the center of the pex to assist in pulling and pushing from behind. plus it will keep you from dragging the edges of the pipe.

    don't destroy the old pipe before you're sure the new pipe and method will work

    rick.
    phoebe it is

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    • #3
      Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

      Thanks. And thanks for the tip of runing an electrical fishtape through the line ------ I'll post a result when this is all over and done.

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      • #4
        Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

        If this plan does not work, you might be able to run a new line through the attic instead of busting up concrete/ Depends on how easily (or at all possible) to access each end of the bad pipe. If you do use the attic route make sure you have a way to keep the pipe from freezing.

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        • #5
          Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

          I agree with everything Rick said--Period! May I add: If there is a problem with trying to run a solid metal electricians fish tape through the copper, try finding one of the flexible cable/spring type fish tapes to use. OR--and I have done this many times: If it gets to the point that both ends of the copper line are open and the fish tape is a problem: use a vacuum cleaner to pull a string through the copper pipe. Tying a small piece of cloth onto the string helps it get pulled through also. Hopefully your pipe is not kinked nor has bends in it which will prevent you from doing this project. Open message to Rick or anyone who can answer: Would using wire pulling compound help to pull PEX through copper piping or would the wire pulling compound harm the PEX? I wonder if anyone has used this yet? Interesting situation, David

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          • #6
            Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

            The most concrete I had to bust up was at the ends good luck!

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            • #7
              Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

              i doubt wire lube will harm the pex. but liquid soap is cheap and plentiful

              as clipper said. the only place the soft copper should be tight is at the bend up wall/ footing. the fish tape will give you a total length and you can mark your pex to know how far you are if you get stuck

              pex will be easier than 1/2'' soft copper and much more forgiving.

              i've even pulled in new soft 3/4'', but you'll need to open the entry and exit area. ok for outside work, not good for indoor work with cabinets

              rick.
              phoebe it is

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              • #8
                Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                I did this one time for a water service it was recommended to me by the head inspector. The front yard was under ten feet and from the front of the house to were the service came thru the floor was about 40 feet and behind the water heater at that. Pushed the pex thru and hooked on a shark bite behind the heater done! Now the inspector had me inform the customer that they would only get 6 gpm thru the 1/2" but they like that over the price to break up the floor!

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                • #9
                  Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                  I have an island sink with 1/2" in flexible copper run through the foundation from my hot water heater to the sink and dishwasher. I have developed a pinhole leak in the copper. I am thinking about running 3/8" pex through the existing copper to the sink.

                  I know I will get less pressure, but that is better than ripping up concrete through my kitchen.

                  What is the best way to connect a pull line to the pex to pull it through. My biggest concern is clearance as there is very little.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                    If the copper is a straight run...no problem pulling the pex through.

                    But there is going to be some hollering and cursing on the upwards turn.

                    If by some chance there is a 90 turn under the floor..forget it.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                      Yep and lets hope there's not a tee lurking about...
                      Poor Planning On Your Part Does Not Constitute An Emergency On My Part!!
                      You can fire me...but you can't tell me what to do!

                      Derek

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                      • #12
                        Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                        Your probably not going to get 1/2" i.d. pex through 3/4" i.d. copper. All the newspaper and craigslist plumbers use 3/8" i.d. pex thats 1/2" o.d.

                        When the homeowners complain of low "pressure" I go out and find low "volume" and run a new line through the attic like craigslist or the newspaper plumber should have done.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing...Update

                          The 3/8 " Pex went through the existing 1/2" copper without a hitch. No issues with volume or pressure. It is only a sink and dishwasher. Total time for repair was ~2 hours for a 25 ft run. Now there is just sheet rock repair.

                          I would recommend anyone looking to repair a copper pipe leak in concrete to take a look at this solution before ripping up the concrete. Since this is an island sink with no overhead access there were few options.

                          1. Tunnel...REALLY BAD
                          2. Rip up concrete...REALLY BAD
                          3. Install a column and run overhead...Looks BAD
                          4. Run Pex through existing copper...Good
                          Last edited by DIYifihave2; 03-31-2011, 06:06 PM. Reason: update

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                          • #14
                            Re: Repairing water leak with Pex (or Flex)?? tubing

                            Good job ..glad it worked for you
                            ''Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" Benjamin Franklin

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