Short term fix for steam pipe leak

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Old 11-16-12, 02:30 PM
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Short term fix for steam pipe leak

Ok, my house is heated with a steam boiler and radiators, and today I found that one of the pipes in the basement was leaking, producing a visible cloud of steam around it and enough water to accumulate on the floor underneath.
Looking at it, I am absolutely certain that calling in a professional is the right thing to do, but since calling in said pro on the weekend costs extra, do I have any reasonable options to put in some sort of patch that will only need to stay there for the weekend?

Any thoughts?
 
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Old 11-16-12, 02:56 PM
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They make "pipe repair clamps" that can be used for a temporary fix. Or, you can improvise with piece of sheet rubber or a hose sliced open, a piece of sheet metal (maybe cut from a beer can), and a couple of pipe clamps from a hardware or autoparts store.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 03:40 PM
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Try to use a material that won't melt...

Maybe use that beer can and clamps and some high temp RTV to seal it.

If the pressurtrol on your boiler is set crazy high, like anything above 2 PSI cutoff, drop it down.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 04:20 PM
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The silicon caulk (RTV) is a good idea. I would apply a pretty thick layer to the beer-can strip, let it cure, and then clamp it on the leak with two pipe clamps.

A beer can may be cut with tin snips or even an old pair of scissors.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 04:49 PM
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The OP doesn't say where on the pipe the leak is. Chances are it's leaking at a fitting joint. If that is the case, there are fast setting epoxy sticks that might work, JB Weld makes a few types but you will have to shut down, I doubt you will seal it under pressure.
 
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Old 11-16-12, 05:02 PM
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Good point, Toolman!

Even if the leak is at a joint, maybe the system could be cooled down, the leak area dried out and buttered up with RTV. After curing, clamp on the beer-can patch? Not as foolproof as a leak in the wall of a straight run of pipe. But, where there is a will, there is a way.
 
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