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  • Copper + flux= pinhole

    my 20+year customer was out of town for a week and came home to a leaking ceiling.

    i originally figured a hot water return line pin hole leak

    but i was wrong

    turned out to be a cold water pin hole leak in 3/4'' m copper due to excess undissolved non water soluble zinc chloride flux

    the workmanship of the soldering was pathetic. flux still outside of all the exposed pipe i was able to see. solder running down the pipe like a melted ice cream cone

    so my question is, do you re-pipe, epoxy line, wait til the next leak, do nothing

    i'll forward this link to my customer and see what the pros say

    rick.





    closeup of the flux glob



    some of the flux still on the exterior after 1986 or 1993 install.



    you can see the running of the flux and solder down the pipe. black pipe is original 1920's electrical.



    quick fix with propress. looking at the other hot pipe with green flux spot.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by PLUMBER RICK; 10-07-2009, 12:09 AM.
    phoebe it is

  • #2
    Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

    I am pretty sure the original plumber was being chased while piping the copper!
    Nice pix!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

      Depending on the condition of the rest of the system I might tell the owner to add into the budget to repipe the home during the next remodel or sooner if there is another leak.

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

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

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

        I agree with Mark , we run into this at times , and it all depends on how the pipe is run , and how much of the walls and ceilings need to be removed to access the pipes , the dry wall fix , painting , trim ect costs much more than the 1/2 line replacement , but keep in mind here we have basements , 99% of the time the mains / water heaters ect are in the basements , plus alot of the basements are finished , so if the leak is in the second floor we might have to remove drywall in three floors - the other other Rick

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

          I seem to remember a nightmare of a thread concerning Epoxy pipe lining... I would stay away from that as well as it would be a band-aid fix at best.

          It is a hard answer for a plumber to give and even harder to be recieved by a homeowner but a repipe is the ultimate answer to avoid more random leaks and damage.


          Bill

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

            OMG! one pinhole leak and you all want to repipe?

            2, 3 4, then they need a repipe. What's the service history here, Rick?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

              Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
              OMG! one pinhole leak and you all want to repipe?

              2, 3 4, then they need a repipe. What's the service history here, Rick?
              IMO it is not the fact that it is just one pinhole it is the evidence that Rick provided as to the cause.

              Two choices as far as I can see...

              1. Mr. Homeowner I fixed the leak it was caused by xxx. I can't with any confidence tell you when or if you will have another one so good luck and call me when you find another one

              2. Mr. Homeowner we have repaired the leak it was caused by xxx. The only way to solve this issue and help prevent the chance of further leaks is to plan on replacing your water distribution

              Ultimately the customer is going to have to decide what level of risk they are willing to accept all we can do is provide the information for them to make an informed decision.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                Orthopolyphosphate

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                  Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                  OMG! one pinhole leak and you all want to repipe?

                  2, 3 4, then they need a repipe. What's the service history here, Rick?
                  1,2,3,4

                  4 X plumber service calls @ $40.00 = 160
                  4 X 2 hrs plumber hourly @ $100.00= 400
                  4 X drywall patch + texture @ $350.00= 1400
                  4 X paint @ $100.00= 400

                  2360?

                  That money could go a long way towards a repipe and patch.
                  But I don't have the luxury of my customers having a basement with all the pipe exposed.Mine are 98% slab on grade.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                    Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                    Orthopolyphosphate

                    If it were that the water supply were acidic then I bet it would work but in this case the flux is bonded to the inside pipe surface in which case the Ortho would never get the chance to form a protective film over the pipes surface.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                      Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                      If it were that the water supply were acidic then I bet it would work but in this case the flux is bonded to the inside pipe surface in which case the Ortho would never get the chance to form a protective film over the pipes surface.
                      Did I read something about the polyphosphate having the ability to "dig and dislodge" buildup.Maybe it was a sales pump-up.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                        Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                        Did I read something about the polyphosphate having the ability to "dig and dislodge" buildup.Maybe it was a sales pump-up.
                        Never used it that way hmmmm

                        We used it in water treatment of closed loop hydronic systems. In too high a concentration it will strip itself out of a system ,it will pull it's own protective coating off of the copper pipe so in theory I guess it could "dig and dislodge"

                        It would be pure guesswork in application / concentrations.

                        Is it still legal in California I know how sensitive ya'll are about the environment

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                          Originally posted by OkieBill View Post
                          Never used it that way hmmmm

                          We used it in water treatment of closed loop hydronic systems. In too high a concentration it will strip itself out of a system ,it will pull it's own protective coating off of the copper pipe so in theory I guess it could "dig and dislodge"

                          It would be pure guesswork in application / concentrations.

                          Is it still legal in California I know how sensitive ya'll are about the environment
                          Bill,
                          For the most part I'm kidding about the use of it in this application.Yes it is legal out here for potable,so don't drink any water out of the spigot in large buildings.This is were it is most often used,Large,old,failing systems.Both the Hotel and a buddy of mines high rise are using it.

                          As far as the stripping I can imagine it adhering in too thick of a layer and peeling off.

                          The product at the hotel is introduced continuously at so many parts-per-million.They have copper type "M" unreamed.The main is 5".

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                            who's your buddy

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Copper + flux= pinhole

                              Originally posted by PLUMBER RICK View Post
                              who's your buddy

                              rick.
                              George,you talked to him while I was plumbing his house in Beverly Hills.Remember lobby level,Boob doctor on Beverly Drive.You always tell me who's in the 20min parking.That's one of his Buildings.

                              Oh wait....I'm sorry...You are too

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