Pin hole leak in copper


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Old 12-12-17, 06:19 AM
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Pin hole leak in copper

Hi All:

I am having a pinhole leak at the T joint where the bottom valve is on the inflow by the filters. This was installed 2 years ago why do you think the copper would have a pinhole in it already?

Also I tried heating it with a MAP torch hoping I could melt the solder and add more over the hole. I heated it for about 15 minutes and it never go hot enough to melt the solder. Is that because there was some water still in the pipes or because there are so many pipes they were acting as heat sinks and it will just take time to get it hot enough to melt?

This all happened at 2 AM so I was trying to do anything to stop or slow the leak until I could get better repair.

Any thoughts appreciated.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 06:56 AM
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Several possible reasons for the leak. It could be that when originally soldered the pipe and fitting were not properly cleaned and fluxed. This could mean that there was just the tiniest bit of solder keeping it from leaking and vibration over time has broken that seal.

Or, it could mean that your water is rather aggressive against copper; this is not uncommon in certain areas using ground water (from wells) and sometimes treatment can somewhat alleviate the problem.

As for re-soldering...it is absolutely imperative to remove ALL water in order to bring the pipe and fitting up to the proper temperature for soldering. Even then it is almost always necessary to take the fittings apart, re-clean and re-flux to get a proper job. Holding the flame of the torch in that close of proximity to the valve(s) is just asking to "cook" the valve to the point where it will no longer fully close without leaking.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 07:00 AM
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Yes, water in the pipe will make it impossible to sweat. Looks like you will need to rebuild a lot of that in order to fix it. As a temporary solution you can get a tube of JB Waterweld... after about 5 minutes of kneading it will stick to the pipe... just keep trying it until it sticks.

Would have been nice if they had used a couple unions.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 07:55 AM
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A quick temporary fix is just that... a temporary fix. The problem is your copper pipe is corroding from the inside out. Even if you fix this one leak you are likely to have other leaks in the future. Here is a video that describes the problem. So, plan on replacing the copper or get used to 2 am water emergencies.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 08:16 AM
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Thanks for the info and yes I am well aware of the complete refit that needs to be done. Would you suggest refitting with Pex, or all new copper?
 
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Old 12-12-17, 08:44 AM
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Looking at that stream of solder on the tee, if thatís where the pinhole leak is, that looks like it sprung a leak where the pipe stops in the tee. So the fitting itself developed the hole.

I thought I came across the idea somewhere that if the pipe end isnít properly deburred, or if there is too much flux in the fitting when it is soldered, that a leak might develop right where the pipe stops in the fitting. Anyway something like that.

The reason I bring that up is because if that is in fact the case, maybe that would rule out aggressive water, thus leaving copper replacement as a viable option.

Looks like whoever did the install thought that stuff would be in there forever Ė no unions. I agree with XSleeper - It certainly would have been nice if they had added some unions.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 09:19 AM
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Being that this is only 2 years old, I think we can assume it was just a bad solder joint and not an overall corrosive issue with the water and copper pipe.

As noted water, and pressure, in the pipe will not allow the joint to heat, even if removed repairs are iffy since contamination has occurred in the leak path and as noted clean copper = good joints.

Everything is packed tight so going to be tough to make surgical repair without replacing a lot of new pieces.

If the filter can be lowered, you might be able to de-solder the lower joint of the vertical valve, add a union then rebuild the horizontal section from the hose connection on the left to the filter.

Note, re-soldering of existing joints can be iffy but if cleaned well it might work.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 10:18 AM
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If it was just a bad solder joint then I would drain the water out of the pipes and attempt to re-solder that bad joint. If you have a pinhole leak in the pipe I would replace as much as you can with PEX.
 
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Old 12-12-17, 10:30 AM
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I would remove the braided connections on the left to let the water drain out... open the vertical shutoff to let that water drain out, then have a helper hold a Mapp gas torch on the left side of the top shutoff... while you have a Mapp gas torch on the left side of the bottom shutoff. Hold onto the vertical pipe with a pliers and pull it to the left.

Hopefully you can wiggle that entire assembly out of there and replace your tee, then reassemble.

A quick temporary fix is just that... a temporary fix.
LOL, yeah... that's what temporary means! LOL!
 
 

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