Pipes at expansion tank are leaking

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Old 02-20-15, 06:55 AM
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Pipes at expansion tank are leaking

It figures I would get a leak ahead of the main shutoff valve. These nipples on the tank Tee are the only steel in the entire plumbing system and they lasted 45 years so no complaints. What I'd like to know is what should I replace it with? Stick with galv. steel since I'll be long gone before they get to this point again?
There's 1" poly from the pump leading into the tank; 3/4" copper from that first elbow on.

I'm replacing this incredibly small bladder tank:



With this much larger one:


What are the large-OD threads on the tank Tee for? I see the Tees at home centers but have never seen any couplers that would fit the OD threads.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 07:02 AM
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If you have only a small amount of iron, I'd replace it with PVC. The OD parts I usually put Unions on so if the tank ever needs replacing, I don't have to cut all the piping to unscrew stuff. Your switch will attach to one of the smaller ones, put your gauge in the other one and cap off the one in front. Use a brass ball valve for your main shut off ahead of the tank and one after rather than PVC. They are not the best in the world after a few years in service.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 08:18 AM
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hi guy -

What are the large-OD threads on the tank Tee for? I see the Tees at home centers but have never seen any couplers that would fit the OD threads.
I believe the tees accommodate 2 different size pipes. The male threads on the outside are for example 1ď pipe, and the internal threads would be for ĺ ďpipe. So you can take your choice when you connect your piping up to the tee. That OD thread on the tee I believe is just standard pipe size.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 11:02 AM
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The OD parts I usually put Unions on...
So these are NPT threads? They appeared to be straight but I didn't verify with a mic.

Re the iron comment--I have moderate iron. I don't recall the ppm but it's right at the limit of what my softener is rated to handle. Iron builds up worse on pvc vs. galv?
 
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Old 02-20-15, 01:45 PM
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If you have only a small amount of iron,
I was referring to the amount of iron pipe you have. I was understanding you only had a small amount of iron pipe, to which I alluded that it could be changed to PVC. Maybe I misunderstood.
 
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Old 02-20-15, 02:27 PM
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Hi again guy Ė

Yes Iím positive they are not straight threads but NPT. Here is another one and they indicate the 2 tapped connections are : "3/4 in. female or 1 in. male tapped". I donít know why they donít say NPT on the spec line. It seems like unless otherwise specified it is assumed NPT. At least thatís the way it seems to me.

4 in. x 1 in. Brass Tank Tee No Lead-TC4NL - The Home Depot
 
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Old 02-20-15, 10:08 PM
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So I stop at HD on my way home and buy what I think I'll need for the project. When I check my tank I have 1" ID & 1.25" OD.
Back to the store in the morning :-/
 
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Old 02-22-15, 03:02 PM
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Here a drip, there a drip...

Tank is installed...but not without issues. Notice the towels? All my sweated connections are perfect but most of the threaded or barbed joints leak. I heated the poly tube and pressed onto each barb, then tightened a hose clamp over each barb. I used green pipe dope generously on each threaded joint. It's also leaking from under the tank where I can't see the source. This is a (slightly) used tank that already had the Tee attached--so maybe that's what's leaking there, too. Fortunately under the tank is just an elbow. It's not the kind with the big plastic portal that allows the diaphragm to be replaced.

What could I do differently?

The good news: This morning I had the best shower I've ever had in this house!

 
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Old 02-22-15, 06:12 PM
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Post #2 suggested unions. I don't see any. You'll never get it tight, now.
 
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Old 02-22-15, 07:20 PM
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That which I install I can un-install.
 

Last edited by guy48065; 02-22-15 at 07:56 PM.
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Old 02-22-15, 08:53 PM
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Hi guy –

I’m no expert for sure but I redid my tank and all the same kind of piping and stuff you show. I had heard that many plumbers use tape AND pipe dope on the threaded connections. So I use a couple of wraps of Teflon tape coated with Rectorseal #5 (yellow mustard color gooey stuff) and tighten the joint really good. That seems to work – no drips on threaded joints for me. And I use to get drips on threaded connections just using tape or dope.

I also heard that many times diyers are afraid to really tighten up joints and that is the cause of many leaks. But maybe a lot of plumbers would dispute that. Anyway, the dope on tape and really using a lot of muscle on threaded joints (but not too much) seems to have eliminated leaky connections for me.

It looks like the fittings you are using for the black poly are plastic. But maybe I’m not seeing them correctly. I use brass fittings and 2 hose clamps. I believe it is recommended to use 2 clamps at each connection where they are rotated with the clamp tightening screws 180 degrees apart. I haven’t had any drips doing that.

Maybe the plastic fittings and the use of just one clamp is causing leaks. I know when I pushed the brass fitting into the poly it was really difficult (no impossible) to do until I heated the black poly while really pushing the barb into the pipe (or the pipe over the barb). It seemed to take a lot of force to get it all the way in. So I would assume it should have taken a lot of force to push the barb into the pipe in your case. If not that may indicate the fit was not good. I think the barb has to be pushed all the way into the pipe, all the way up to the fitting shoulder. But it looks like you may have done that.

That connection into the elbow under the tank is also probably (no I guess certainly) threaded. But it’s funny that connection is also leaking – unless the previous user just let the leak go.


p.s. just noticed you don't have a lot of pipe sticking out of the wall. I guess you have to be careful not to screw up that pipe end because there isn't a lot you could cut off.
 
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Old 02-23-15, 05:16 AM
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p.s. just noticed you don't have a lot of pipe sticking out of the wall. I guess you have to be careful not to screw up that pipe end because there isn't a lot you could cut off.
Amen!
No way I was going to disturb the pump end of that nylon elbow. Screw it up and I'd have to excavate my front yard... at 0*.

The fit felt right -- heated till pliable but not soft, took some effort to push barbs on, visible bulge over barbs indicating poly had conformed. Whatever. Should I have used glue or a sealant?
 
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Old 02-23-15, 05:21 AM
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I did use both tape and dope on the first threaded fitting (the barb) and it doesn't leak. At the time I felt it was overkill since I've never had a leak using "the green stuff" on iron pipe so from that point on I only used dope.
Hindsight, you know. ..
 
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Old 02-23-15, 09:28 AM
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Should I have used glue or a sealant?
As far as I know you donít use glue or sealant of any kind, just the barb with 2 hose clamps. Maybe one of the pros will jump in and take a crack at what could have gone wrong. Maybe the 2 clamps vs. one makes a big difference.


Screw it up and I'd have to excavate my front yard... at 0*.
I know what you mean, itís going to hit below 0 tonight around Philly. Thatís unheard of.
 
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Old 02-23-15, 07:47 PM
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It took some calls but I finally found a supplier that had brass 1" barbed elbows.

Is poly pipe my best choice for this?
 
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Old 02-24-15, 08:28 AM
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That’s a good question. Where I live black poly is used as the service into the house from wells and you are allowed to continue to use the black poly all the way up to the pressure tank - but no farther. I see that is how your setup is plumbed. It seems like everyone does in fact continue the black poly right up to the tank (at least where I live) but as far as I know you can convert to copper, pex, cpvc, or anything else that’s allowed for distribution in the house, right at the stub that comes in the basement wall. At least that’s my understanding. (I don’t think you can use PVC inside the house in most jurisdictions.)

But seems like everyone just continues the black poly right up to the tank and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. So in other words I believe if you wanted to however you could in fact convert to copper right where that poly stub comes through the wall. You would use a 90 degree barb x MIP fitting in place of that nylon elbow that is there now.

But as you are aware of, you would have to be very careful to not screw up that stub end coming through the basement wall. I don’t know if you could remove the nylon fitting and replace it with a brass fitting without screwing up the pipe end. And as far as I know you don’t need to do that anyway because the black poly pipe is supposed to be fine and the connections don’t have a reputation for leaking.

p.s I found this statement, however I don't know if this guy is an expert or not:

...the black poly pipe is very common on wells here in new england. the method of attaching insert fittings with hose clamps is also done all the time. if a couple of them are leaking simply use an additional clamp, installing it in the opposite direction of the one already on the pipe. make sure to use marine grade ALL stainless hose clamps properly sized for the pipe. use a nut driver type screwdriver to tighten them...
 
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Old 02-24-15, 09:17 AM
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I'm really torn whether to leave the first elbow joint alone. It doesn't leak but it's plastic. I'd have to heat the poly stub to pull off the elbow and if anything goes wrong I'm screwed.

That pipe goes through the block and then extends unsupported across 6' of inaccessible open space under my porch. If the pipe were to pull through the wall as I was working on it or heating it up my only recourse would be to cut a big access into this small cold space to repair it.

It seems to me the prudent thing to do is put aside mine and others objections to plastic and leave it alone.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 04:42 PM
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I agree with that. If it's working it's working. Looks like a nice neat setup. Get them few drips licked and you are home free lol!

(looks like you have some experience soldering)
 
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Old 02-24-15, 08:43 PM
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Thanks for the encouraging words, zoesdad! I took everything apart, double sealed and double clamped everything. Leak-free now.
 
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Old 02-25-15, 08:16 AM
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Sure thing guy. That's great to hear. Looks good and works correctly Ėsuccess!
 
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