Pin Head made pin-hole in copper heating pipe

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Old 01-06-14, 06:54 PM
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Pin Head made pin-hole in copper heating pipe

Hi Guys,

Several years ago you were a great help in assisting me with a boiler issue. Now I am back with a human-error issue. I recently installed crown molding (stay with me - this is really a plumbing issue not a carpenters issue). Apparently in my use of a compressed air nailer I drove a nail through a heating pipe behind the wall at the ceiling level. OK, Trooper and company - you can unload on me now... i deserve it.

As far as I can determine, the injured pipe is for the return flow of my upstairs baseboard heaters. Is there an easy way to make an appropriate repair, considering the location of the pipe. Someone had told me that they had success using a product called "FiberFix". Kinda unorthodox - will it work? What do you suggest? (besides hiring a carpenter next time).

Thanks guys
 
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Old 01-06-14, 07:03 PM
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Can you get to the pipe?

No chance of a proper repair using a copper coupling and solder?

What about a 'sharkbite' coupling?

How is it that a pipe was that close?
 
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Old 01-06-14, 07:09 PM
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If you can gain access to the pipe, you can temporally install a pipe-leak clamp. Or a piece of rubber and a pipe clamp.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 07:12 PM
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IMHO a blob (not a bead) of solder will adequately seal a pinhole leak. Use flux so the solder spreads out over, say, 3/8 of an inch. Add more solder so you get a lump over the leak itself.

You will need to drain the system below that level so the pipe being soldered is not full of water.

**********

On second thought, discard this idea. This will seal the leak but if someone does other soldering work nearby and melts the patch open, he might not know that the blob was a patch as opposed to just some extra solder that dripped down the pipe. A proper repair with a coupling will at least look like something that care needs to be taken around when soldering.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 07:16 PM
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In the Navy we used Devcon epoxy, rubber gasket material, and a worm gear hose clamp on low pressure steam lines. It should be considered last resort and temporary.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 07:19 PM
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a blob (not a bead) of solder will adequately seal a pinhole leak
IMHO, not a good idea. The stress of that pipe expanding and contrating as it heats and cools will crack the solder joint and it will leak again.

If you're going in with a torch then why not do it right? Cut the pipe at the pinhole, slip a 'repair coupling' over the pipe, slide back down over the cut and solder.

Mid-winter I would not hesitate to try the epoxy, rubber, and worm gear though... until spring when a proper repair can be made.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 08:10 PM
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you can weld it closed with the proper torch and silver solder.

If it's good enough for 450 PSI refridgeration lines, it will hold 15 - 20 psi forever
 
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Old 01-06-14, 10:26 PM
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. I realize that the solder is the best overall solution, but because of the location, i.e. between the walls at ceiling level, etc, I was hoping to avoid the solder path. I assume from the lack of anyone endorsing the FiberFix as an attractive approach you are telling me to forget it.
How about SharkBite fittings?

It also appears that with most solutions I must drain that line.
 
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Old 01-07-14, 06:33 AM
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A sharkbite slip coupling would be a good option, IMO. You will have to drain the system below the point of the repair, but the good news is you will not need a totally dry pipe to install the sharkbite coupling. It will be a more reliable repair then a rubber patch and clamp.

Some people don't fully trust sharkbite fittings when they are to be hidden behind walls, but you don't have to keep it as a permanent repair if you don't want to. It will get you through to the warm weather in any case.
 
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Old 01-07-14, 06:47 AM
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7eagle,

I wouldn't necessarily say thats your fault. You're not superman how would you know what is back there, but that's not the point. There's several repair methods, from temporary fixes like rubber and hose clamps to permanent fixes that require soldering in a coupling or brazing the hole shut. I'm not fond of the idea of having sharkbite fittings inside the wall but I guess it could be done, another similar fix would include compression fittings.
 
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