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  • #16
    The problem we had in our neighborhood is not that they were having trouble locating the leaks. The problem is that the entire copper system was failing. When one leak was found and repaired, another would spring up weeks or months later. Normally there would not be any visible water. I discovered mine because I started hearing water running somewhere late at night when it was quiet. After trying to find out what was running, I came to the conclusion it was in the slab. I got "lucky" and was able to isolate it without calling a plumber with the new electronic detectors, but my joy was short lived when another leak sprang up a couple of months later. After the experience of my neighbors I decided it was futile to try and repair the leaks as they manifested. I just went ahead and ran PEX. There are lots of local areas where the builders used a different brand of pipe that rarely encounter leaks. I just have seen too many expensive problems with copper to trust it myself. Not to mention the lead problem from older solder.

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    • #17
      We had a slab leak in our house shortly after we moved in and I can tell you it was not fun at all. Plus it was on the hot water side. In the Phoenix area it is very common to have the copper ran under the slab (but not through) and over time they start to leak. We found ours after two $600+ electric bills and VERY high water bills. We had been out of town traveling most of that time.

      If one does not catch it in time bad things can happen. A friend of mine had a house that he recently added a pool in the back. They apparently also got a slab leak about the same time and figured the raise in their water bill was due to the pool. They did not find the leak until the house started cracking all over almost right in the middle of the house. It was falling into a huge hole the leaking water had created underneath!!!

      Now it is a larger problem as many houses out here are built on those new post tension slabs and I guess one cannot drill through them or risk possible death or destruction so if you get a slab leak the plumber will insist on running all new lines through the house. Howver, as Clovishound mentioned, usually after people find one or two leaks more are sure to follow so running new lines may be the best choice anyways.

      WWS
      Still enjoying all 10 fingers!

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      • #18
        clovis copper incased in concrete is a apple, orange thing

        I have a 1959 radiant copper system no leaks, SO FAR ha ha

        what we know now is the concrete slowley eats the copper.

        pex is the way to go on radiant, for sure. we always plumbed with L instead of M in mass 30 yrs ago. M was only used in hydronic heat

        pex is great, so is copper! my 2 cents ps how long have we been using pex vs. copper?
        I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

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        • #19
          I'm going to throw my two cents into this discussion with a disqualification: I live in the Los Angeles area, which does not use any floor slab heating. What I am going to say my also piss-off plumbers in cold areas. So here it goes:

          I am against placing any pipes (pex, copper, etc.) in a slab. Why?, because plumbing is a mechanical trade which demands service. How do you service or repair a pipe that is encased in concrete? You don't. Do you blow-out and replace the entire floor slab if there is a leak?

          I've worked on very old buildings that were remodeled into up-dated buildings. How do you do that with pipes in slabs?

          Just my opinion, and not an experienced one in this case.
          the dog

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          • #20
            In all of the years of doing plumbing in Southern California I have only used copper in the slab three times (not including radiant heat). Once it was speced in a custom home and I had no options, once was a residential remodel and once was a bibb for a cold water ground to a panel at the back of a warehouse.

            The custom home was in the Palisades where all the homes are flat roofs and there was no other way to do it. The remodel was more of an experiment to see what the cost savings were. The savings were not enough for me to want to do it again. The cold water ground was to a panel which was 400' from the closest bathroom on a tilt-up addition.

            As far as I am concerned water lines with the exception of Radiant Heat need to be run overhead.

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

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

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            • #21
              i have been doing floor heat for at least 16 yrs using wersobo pipe and we still do maintenance on the boilers today . so can say that this type of pipe will last for 16 yrs .

              now i did a job that had 42000 ft 1" black well pipe that we put on top of compact dirt just like floor heat is put in .this was for a freezer warehouse that was to get -20 in it . this pipe had a concrete put over it then 6 " of ridged insulation on top then 8" of floor concrete on top of this .this was to keep the -20 degree from going in to the ground and freezing and lifting the building.
              i do not know how this is doing we never got the maintenance at this one but I'm sure it is still doing OK .

              so i think the new plastic type pipes are going to hold up ?
              Charlie

              My seek the peek fundraiser page
              http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


              http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

              new work pictures 12/09
              http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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              • #22
                Kitec has been used for radiant in Canada for over 30-years with a good service record so far.

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

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

                Comment


                • #23
                  I might be weird, but I think that a building should last more than 20 years. The building I live in is +/- 50 years old. What if the slab piping is leaking? Do I blow-out and replace the entire slab?

                  I admit, I live in the LA area which does not require more than a floor heater, but I'm not sure floor heating is a good answer in the long run. It seems to me that it limits the long term value of the building.

                  Just my, as I said before, limited opinion.
                  the dog

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                  • #24
                    my buddy is doing 2 very large new dog pounds for the city of los angeles.

                    you would be amazed at all the plumbing under the slab.

                    ps. the dogs have it better than us. the whole slab, kennels are heated with pex buried in the slab.


                    rick.
                    phoebe it is

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                    • #25
                      dog makes a good point in that the Foreword of the UPC says something to the effect the plumbing system should be designed and install with components which will last as long as the other building components. The reality is most homes get remodeled once or twice in between but still a water system should last longer than 20-years.

                      As for dog kennels under slab plumbing actually makes some sense. I use to train my Springer Spaniels down at Gameland Kennels at the Raahauge’s Pheasant Club. They have a hundred or so dog kennels made up of chain link fencing. One summer I spent a few days down there installing a galvanized system with a “hog lick it” in every kennel. I used the “hog lick its” because they were stainless with a ½” male pipe thread while the “dog lick its” are plastic and have a ¾” female hose thread. Anyways the system looked great but had a major flaw. Here in Southern California the water in the pipe got so hot you could almost use it for coffee. The compromise was to put Thermocel over the pipe which of course now has to be replaced every few years.

                      Mark
                      Last edited by ToUtahNow; 03-02-2006, 10:42 PM.
                      "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

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

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by plumbdog10
                        but I'm not sure floor heating is a good answer in the long run. It seems to me that it limits the long term value of the building. .
                        i think the long term value of a building will increase . the pipes used today have improved and do last . back in the days when they put copper into a slab i do not think they did a lot of research first .

                        over in Europe they run a lot of heat under ground in the roads intersections and side walks to melt snow , and they have don this a lot longer then we have.
                        at a new hospital in town they put heat in the new walks and driveway's .
                        if i ever redo my driveway i will put heat in it .
                        this is good for some one that has a steep driveway .

                        this is just my 2 cents
                        Charlie

                        My seek the peek fundraiser page
                        http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                        http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                        new work pictures 12/09
                        http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          for your driveway i should be 1 zone but more then 1 loop .

                          you need several loops or the water will cool off to much and will not melt the driveway evenly .
                          if this was hooked up to a boiler the cold water will shock the boiler and it may take a long time to heat up .
                          this is the same for the shop , you need several loops evenly disperse the heat and eliminate hot & cold spots .

                          when the time comes for you to do this there is a lot of info on how to lay this out .
                          Charlie

                          My seek the peek fundraiser page
                          http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                          http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                          new work pictures 12/09
                          http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            My experience with leaky copper under slab had to do more with the hot water line rather than the cold water line. The home owner noticed his water and gas bill had gone up dramatically. Not only that, but the oak parquet flooring started to buckle and the floor seemed warmer than usual. His neighbors confirmed the problem existed in their neighborhood. Most of the homes in the area had flat roofs. Most ran the pipes above ground along the side of the homes. My recommendation was to break out the slab and replace what was necessary because the homeowner was planning a remodel/addition to the house. I told him it would be cheaper to do the repair since he could have the pipes run through the walls when the remodel started.

                            I did work for a GC and they encased a portion of my vertical main line to the house in a concrete curb wall. I was pretty upset. That curb wall was an afterthought and was not on the blueprints. I told him that the pipe should have been sleeved.

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                            • #29
                              Soft copper does not do well in areas with a lot of suspended CO2 from well water in it whether it is in the slab or above. It also does not do well in areas with hot soils.

                              Las Vegas added an amendment to the UPC requiring all copper in the slab be sleeved for its entire length. Still the Inspector on a large tract decided it was over-kill and let the sub install the copper without sleeves. When the system failed even the Inspector was found to be civilly liable and had to pay part of the judgment. It is one of the few times I have ever heard of where the Inspectors were found liable in a litigation.

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

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

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                If I remember correctly, copper is not allowed on carbonated or acidic beverage dispenser lines because of the reaction between the copper and the CO2, so why use copper in an area that has high suspended CO2 levels in the water? Seems like one instance where local code variations would be needed to override the widely accepted standard.

                                A RPBA (Reduced Pressure Backflow Assembly) is required to keep the CO2 from coming in contact with copper piping, and needs to be installed before the point of CO2 injection, with no copper piping after the RPBA.


                                http://www.pnws-awwa.org/publication...%20Hazards.pdf

                                http://www.epa.gov/safewater/privatewells/booklet/
                                Last edited by Bob D.; 03-05-2006, 10:07 AM.
                                "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

                                https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

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