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Old 08-29-2009, 09:30 AM   #1
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Leak in Soil Pipe


We purchased a house last month and we have a problem with the sewer pipe. House was built in 1970. The basement was professionally finished a few years ago. The sewer pipe is in the basement, and the section that is leaking is easily accessible via one of the closets.

The leak is VERY small - so small I can't find exactly where the 'hole' (if it is an actual hole) is. Only reason I know there is a leak is because when we first moved in a month ago, I placed a piece of wooden furniture in the closet and yesterday, when I went to grab that furniture, I noticed a couple of drops of brown gunky liquid on top, right underneath where this section of pipe is.

So I looked closer at the pipe and noticed that the section towards the coupling is very dark. Is that normal? I'm prepared to call a plumber if I need to. I assume replacement of the pipe (it's about a 12 foot section, all easily accessible via 3 side-by-side closets). Here is a pic. Notice the darker area (I'm assuming that isn't normal and indicates moisture/seepage?) - the leak is coming from somewhere either in the dark section itself (is that moisture? It doesn't feel wet, for what that's worth), or in the connection from that section to the pipe to the left.


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Old 08-29-2009, 09:39 AM   #2
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Leak in Soil Pipe


That gunk on your furniture had to come from somewhere.

Most likely, most of the time the leak is so slow that it evaporates before it drips. You might make the leak more visible by wrapping transparent plastic over the pipe at that location and waiting a few days. Pressing toilet paper (flat, not wadded up) here and there may also find a leak more quickly.

YOu might be able to seal the leak using epoxy plastered over the surface of the pipe but keep in mind that this is a temporary fix. The soil pipe could be rusted thin inside in many sections and it is only a matter of time before it leaks somewhere else or a chip breaks off near the existing pinhole leak leaving a much bigger leak.

Alternatively the leak could really be in the joint shown.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-29-2009 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 08-29-2009, 10:41 PM   #3
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Leak in Soil Pipe


While I do see the dark area, my first look would be at that fernco coupling. Check that out and be sure the leak isnt at that point. It could be leaking at the hub where the two pipes are joined, but without seeing it up close and personal, I cant say for sure. You DO have dissimilar metals in conctact with each other and the presence of moisture making for electrolysis....or alternatively, the solder joint could be leaking....

I would be interested to know what that fernco is doing there. The proper fitting for above ground is a shielded coupling (ie PROFLEX). That fernco makes me wonder.............

Last edited by JDC; 08-29-2009 at 10:45 PM.
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Old 08-29-2009, 11:13 PM   #4
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Leak in Soil Pipe


Hi JDC and thanks for the response.

This is actually in a finished basement, below ground level.

Here are some images that should tell the whole story, I think.











I incorrectly added the 2nd caption ("note the coupling") - I thought it was based on the pic but it's not - the coupling is inside the final closet, shown in this final pic....



Hope this isn't too many pics - I figure it's better to show than to try to describe as I'm obviously pretty clueless about plumbing. I had planned on calling a plumber on Monday but I spoke with my brother, who is very handy, and based on my description he says it should be a fairly easy job to replace the iron pipe with pvc. He's coming tomorrow morning to show me how to replace some siezed shut off valves so I'll report back the outcome.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:39 AM   #5
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Leak in Soil Pipe


Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2741 View Post
Hi JDC and thanks for the response.

This is actually in a finished basement, below ground level.

Here are some images that should tell the whole story, I think.











I incorrectly added the 2nd caption ("note the coupling") - I thought it was based on the pic but it's not - the coupling is inside the final closet, shown in this final pic....



Hope this isn't too many pics - I figure it's better to show than to try to describe as I'm obviously pretty clueless about plumbing. I had planned on calling a plumber on Monday but I spoke with my brother, who is very handy, and based on my description he says it should be a fairly easy job to replace the iron pipe with pvc. He's coming tomorrow morning to show me how to replace some siezed shut off valves so I'll report back the outcome.
I would replace all the cast iron and copper with PVC.

I am sure you and your brother can do it.

PS. Don't forget to shut the main water line off and seize all use of water.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:46 AM   #6
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Leak in Soil Pipe


Yeah, changing out that cast and copper doesnt look to be too big of a deal. Probably the best thing to do for sure. You'll probably need to use one or two slip couplings (AKA repair couplings) to make the final connections due to there probably not being much play in the pvc. They can tend to be a little tricky to get installed without a leak. I'd recommend making your final connection instead with PROFLEX couplings. These are approved mechanical joint fittings in MOST codes.

One more thing....in the last picture that vent tee should be a wye and 45. A vent tee has no sweep and tees, even sanitary tees, arent supposed to be used for drainage except for going from horizontal to vertical. I also dont see a vent at the trap.....shower maybe???
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Last edited by JDC; 08-30-2009 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 08-30-2009, 08:50 AM   #7
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Leak in Soil Pipe


Why dont you take off the fernco and replace with pvc pass the c/i hub. use a pvc coupling to join the pvc ,then a no hub coupling with shield to join the pvc to c./i

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