Pinhole Leak in Copper Pipe


  #1  
Old 07-28-03, 09:48 PM
JeremyK
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Pinhole Leak in Copper Pipe

Help! I have a pinhole leak at the joint where the water pipe from the street meets the cut-off valve in my basement. Unfortunately there is no room to cut the pipe to intall a new valve without running new pipe from the street through my yard. What can I do to stop this leak while the pipe is still pressurized? Even if I cut off the water at the street, I have no way of emptying the water out of the pipe to re-sweat the joint. Is there something I can put on the outside of the joint to seal it while it's wet and under pressure? Some type of putty or something? It's the tiniest little hole but it's really annoying to walk through a puddle every time I go into the basement. Thanks in advance.

Jeremy
 
  #2  
Old 07-29-03, 02:47 AM
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If you have one pinhole leak in a copper line, you're probably going to have another near it.
Replacing that section of line is the best solution. I don't know of anything that really works well to stop a leak on a pressurized water line.
You probably don't have to replace it all the way to the street, but you will need to dig it up outside the basement wall, cut the meter off, cut the line and drain it into that hole. Dig it deep enough hold any drain water below the line.
If you can't get it to completely stop draining for some reason, you can temporarily block the water flow while you sweat new fittings with a wad of white bread (no crust) stuffed into the pipe.
When you finish repairing the line, turn the water back on and the bread will dissolve and flush right out. Open a faucet without an aerator (tub or outside faucet) to clear it out.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 07-29-03, 04:38 PM
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PIPES

for just a get me by. Try just some rubber tape on it and then put a small hose clamp over the tape. ED
 
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Old 07-29-03, 06:57 PM
JeremyK
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Ed, Thanks for the tip. I'll try anything to get by right now. What type of rubber tape specifically are you talking about? What would I ask for in home depot?
 

Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 07-31-03 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 07-29-03, 07:01 PM
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I'd do as Oldguy said.

Fix it right the 1st time, save the hassles to have to fix it over and over again and again.
 

Last edited by Plumber2000; 07-29-03 at 11:05 PM.
  #6  
Old 07-29-03, 09:25 PM
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If I were you, I would just forget about sweating pipe or patching anything up. Go out and buy a shut-off valve with compression fittings and be done with it. All you have to do is cut out the old valve with a hack saw and install the new one with a couple of wrenches or pliers.

As far as shutting off the water at the street is concerned, a shut-off valve is typically located right under the manhole cover beside the street where the meter is. At least this is how it's done in more tropical climes. In New York, your meter is probably located in the basement - in which case I'm not sure how you could turn off the water. But I imagine you could dig up the pipe outside your house and then wait until your pipe freezes next winter.

Robert
 
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Old 07-29-03, 09:39 PM
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If you need a temp fix until you can get to it soon use the rubber and hose clamp. Then fix it right.
 
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Old 07-29-03, 10:14 PM
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Make sure you check on this quick fix often, i.e. rubber and clamp, if you see it begin to bubble up, it means it's about to explode.

Good Luck

It's your problem, do with what you think is best,

There's never enough time to do it right, but there's always enough time to do it again

I seen too many of these quick fixes and I assure you it won't last long.
 

Last edited by Plumber2000; 07-29-03 at 11:01 PM.
  #9  
Old 07-29-03, 11:35 PM
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After brainstorming for a little while, I think I've come up with a solution to your water shutoff problem. Instead of waiting for winter, maybe you could create your own winter right now. Once you dig up the pipe outside your house, line the hole with plastic and tape the lining where the pipe comes in and goes out of the lined hole. Then fill the hole with crushed ice and rock salt until the pipe is buried in it. Since a salt and ice mixture typically absorbs heat at a temperature in the low 20s, the water in that part of the pipe would freeze and create a plug that would temporarily stop the flow of water. I've heard of this being done with liquid nitrogen, but an ice and salt mixture might be cold enough to do the job.

Robert
 
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Old 07-30-03, 05:28 AM
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I always used liquid Carbon Dioxide to freeze a plug in a line.
Have heard of others who pack line much as described with dry ice for same result.
Temp patch is just that. If there is enough room for the compression valve (great idea), then thats what I would first.

Once everything is water tight, regardless of how repair is made, I'd look at the water meter to see if you have a leak underground. This is provided the meter is out by the street or in your yard. There is a small triangular dial that spins for a very, very low flow of water.

Good luck and let us know how everything comes out.
More questions, ask away and someone will answer you.
 
  #11  
Old 07-30-03, 06:38 PM
JeremyK
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Thanks everyone for all these great ideas. I think I'll try the rubber/hose cl;amp idea. If it fails, I'm back where I started which isn't the end of the world since my basement is unfionfished and the hole is real small. What should I use for the "rubber" a bicycle tube?

What is a compression fitting? Does that connect on without sodler or something? Cutting off the water isn't a problem - it's out by the street. The problem is that I[ve basically run out of room to solder on nother section. No water meter because it's flat rate where I live. Thanks again everyone for your great ideas!
 
  #12  
Old 07-31-03, 12:14 AM
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Any type of inner tube will do, if you're going to do the patch. Put the hose clamp over the the rubber right over the leak if it's smooth pipe, and use two hose clamps if it is at the fitting and uneven. Wrap the rubber all around the pipe.
I would dry the leak, and smear a shot of silicone caulk on it, too, just before clamping.
A brass compression fitting is made to seal itself onto copper pipe (no soldering). It usually has nuts on both ends with brass ferrule rings that compress on the pipe when the nuts are tightened to form a good seal. Use a backup wrench on the fitting.
Good Luck!
 
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Old 07-31-03, 08:21 AM
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Yes there is a freeze kit you can get and put on the water line and stop the water this way, to fix it.

Also I have fixed leaks in copper pipe with the water in them by useing a welding torch with a small tip and solder

On the little leak you put the rubber and the clamp right on the small hole so I dont see how there can be a bubble if you did the work right to get by for now. ED
 

Last edited by Mike Swearingen; 07-31-03 at 11:10 PM.
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Old 07-31-03, 08:46 AM
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I worked on a guys a/c the other day and he had replaced his water heater and had a pin leak. He said that's the best he could do because the valve after the meter wont shut all the way and the one before the meter leaked when he bought the house 40 years ago. He wrapped it with plastic then taped it over and over. Hasn't leaked since. That's a 40 year old patch. Not something I'd do but like Ed says when you're in a bind anything will help. Maybe this guy just can't afford a plumber or costly repair at this time. I'm sure he would rather do it right but it sounds like he can't and just needs a quick fix to get him by.
 
  #15  
Old 07-31-03, 05:00 PM
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Originally posted by JeremyK
The problem is that I[ve basically run out of room to solder on nother section.
I suppose you could chisel back some of the concrete to expose more pipe. An inch and a half of pipe should do it for a compression fitting.

Robert
 
 

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