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Old 02-08-2011, 01:32 PM   #1
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Leaking Pipe?


Our house was built in the 1950s. Over the weekend, we discovered a leak in a connection off of a riser pipe next to our kitchen sink. See the picture below for area. Is this something that we can diy? It is definitely space challenged (next to a stud and only ˝-inch away from the masonry wall.
Also, this leak is behaving strangely and maybe I need a tutorial on plumbing 101. Do hot and cold water travel in the save pipe? Or should there be a seperate riser pipes for hot and cold?
I had assumed the latter (separate) but this leak is behaving strangely. Every sink in our house has two knobs, hot and cold. Down in the basement around the boiler, we also see two valves. We think it’s the cold water. When we first closed the valve, the leak stopped. To drain what is left in the pipes, we opened up the upstairs faucet and the kitchen faucet. But then the leak came back. I closed the upstairs faucet (which was making weird gasping noises) and the leak stopped. This morning when we open the hot water faucet, the leak came back, AND water wouldn’t stop coming out even after I turned off the hot water faucet again. I guess cold water is still getting through still? Or do we have a faulty cold water valve too?

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Old 02-08-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Leaking Pipe?


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that looks line galvanized pipe to me in the pic and this may just be a small foreshadowing of things to come.

For this particular joint I'd cut the pipe coming out at the T and then re-pipe the run to your sink(?) in copper or pex.

Then I'd sit down and decide whether you can afford to replace the water pipe in your house. Get a bunch of quotes, 3-5, to find out how expensive it'll be.

50-60 year galvanized pipe and joints sitting behind the walls is not something I'd feel comfortable with, personally.

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Old 02-08-2011, 04:23 PM   #3
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Leaking Pipe?


I agree with VIP, The pipe you have is galvanized steel. If you fix this leak it will probably spring another. As for the valves if I understand how you described the order you used them when you opened the upstairs faucet it let air in. Once the air is let in there is no vacuum so the water leaks out. The main water valve that you shut off might leak and that would be how water got back into the pipe causing the leak to start again. Or the water was still in the pipe from earlier.

Last edited by WDR; 02-08-2011 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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Leaking Pipe?


Hey guys, thanks for answering.
Now how can we be sure its galvanized steel and not brass (like we originally thought.) We scratch it and it looks warm and yellowish in the exposed areas. Is there some sort of magnet test or shall we take some steel wool and try and expose more of the pipe?

And if it is brass, is the fix still the same? cut the T and repipe to sink?

We bought the house a little over a year ago. The good news is we had expected to renovate all the bathrooms and the kitchen at some point. But we had hoped to do it a little at a time... if the pipe is indeed brass, do you guys still recommend all the pipes to be changed on a house that was built in 1945?

Thanks!!
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Old 02-08-2011, 07:50 PM   #5
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Leaking Pipe?


Looks kike galvy to me. Test with magnet, it will stick to iron or steel but not to brass or copper.
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Old 02-08-2011, 08:48 PM   #6
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Just tested, nope, magnet won't attache itself to the pipe. so its brass right?

How do I go around cutting the pipe with such small back clearance? And will it be problematic to cut the pipe? Since some water like I said, still seems to travel in the pipe (when a faucet is opened) even though the main valve is supposedly shut off?
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:00 PM   #7
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Leaking Pipe?


So it's brass then? Good news for you. Out of curiosity are you on city, or well water?

Cutting the pipe could be done either by sawzall or hacksaw, with a metal cutting blade.

Do you have a faucet that is lower than or closer to your shut-off than the pipe that needs to be replaced? Water will take the path of least resistance so if your shut-off does not close fully, then open that tap/faucet before you start cutting. In fact you should do that as a test to see if the whole house shut-off works properly. Close the shut-off and then go to the nearest tap/faucet, open it up and see if you can't drain the water out of the pipes.

Remember to shut-off the breaker to your electric hot water heater before draining the water out of the pipes, just in case.
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Old 02-09-2011, 11:31 PM   #8
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We are on city water for sure. Tell me, is there any value to replace all the plumbing pipes in our house as we go through and renovate all the parts? Is it neccessary?

I think for this riser, the closes faucet is the kitchen which is about 1-foot away from this problem area.
We have a sawzall but given the tight condition up against the back masonry wall, I wonder if a dremel with a metal blade can the job...

So, do I just cut out small horizontal branch out, take out the resulting ends and then?? Can I use a "Union" fitting (threaded on both
sides) instead of replacing the "nipple" fitting . . . OR do I have to disassemble all of the pipes and fittings down to the sink and then reassemble them to the horizontal branch?

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Tell me, is there any value to replace all the plumbing pipes in our house as we go through and renovate all the parts? Is it neccessary?
It's not necessary to replace anything other than the problem area, but I'd recommend it. If for no other reason than the water pipes are 50+ years old and to avoid having this happen again.

Quote:
I wonder if a dremel with a metal blade can the job...
Sure can. Just remember to wear the proper safety gear, safety glasses, ear protection, etc...

Quote:
So, do I just cut out small horizontal branch out, take out the resulting ends and then??
Exactly.

Quote:
Can I use a "Union" fitting (threaded on both
sides) instead of replacing the "nipple" fitting
I'm not certain that a union will fit if it's as tight as you say it is. And if you decide you want to replace pipe as you go, then it'd be unnecessary.

Quote:
do I have to disassemble all of the pipes and fittings down to the sink and then reassemble them to the horizontal branch?
If the union fits, and that's the way you decide to go, then no. Otherwise, yes.

Clear as mud?
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Old 02-12-2011, 04:39 PM   #10
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Leaking Pipe?


The thing is we had intended to renovate the house from top down. So upstairs 2 bathrooms and then kitchen on the 1st floor.

So we cut the pipe and successfully took out one end but disaster struck, the other end broke off with half of threads inside the t-connection from the riser pipe!!!

This is srsly bad news isn't it since its the riser end that is stuck. We tried an internal pipe wrench but it seems to just be stripping the brass and the threads are not budging. I guess this was where the leak was coming from though I didn't know that water could corrode brass...

If we call a plumber what will he do? The riser is slammed up against a stud on the back side - how does on go about unscrewing/replacing that t-connection on the riser??





Thanks guys!
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:57 PM   #11
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Leaking Pipe?


Hmmmm....

I don't know what another plumber would do because I cannot see the whole picture, but I would cut the piece still stuck in the T with a hacksaw blade. Start with two channels. I feel I'd have better control than using a dremel 'cause you don't want to mess up the threads in the T.

When you get close to breaking through try using hammer & chisel (or flathead screw driver), carefully & gently, until you get the first piece out.

Hopefully it'll be a piece of cake from there.
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:38 PM   #12
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Leaking Pipe?


VIP,
Your advice to score/cut two channels to try and remove a piece worked! it took forever (HOURS!) because we were trying to be careful not to mess up the threads but we though we had hit paydirt when it finally all came off... so thank you!

BUT the saga continues...
We wanted to have cold water running upstairs (for showers and stuff) again so as the day was coming to an end (we still had to figure out how to screw in all the new pieces) we decided to cap the open T connection for the time being. We raced to Home Depot to buy a brass plug. We put some teflon tape on it and screwed it in place.

Then we re-opened the riser and water started to bead out... wtf.

-Is the problem the teflon tape? the person at home depot said its all we should be using (and not paste) - bad advice? If so, what should we be using for brass to brass connections? I srsly hope this is the issue... or...
-did we tighten too tightly, is there such a thing? how to gauge how tightly to tighten something??
-is the T connection faulty? ARGH!!!


Last edited by smoochas; 02-14-2011 at 07:45 AM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:56 AM   #13
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Leaking Pipe?


Use TFE paste and tape----It's done all the time-----Mike--
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:34 PM   #14
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Leaking Pipe?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Use TFE paste and tape----It's done all the time-----Mike--
+1
I sometimes had leaks using tape alone. Then tried this procedure and no more leaks:

- Apply TFE paste (pipe joint compound) on the male threads.
- Wrap the teflon tape on the threads.
- Apply more paste over the tape.

Works really well for me,
HRG
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Old 02-14-2011, 02:30 PM   #15
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Leaking Pipe?


Before you attempt the above suggestions, check the threads carefully in the T so make sure that they haven't been nicked. If it has been nicked it'll need to be replaced. If that's the case you might want consider calling a plumber.

oh'mike makes an excellent suggestion, and HRG is spot on with the correct steps, but I would like to add to them. Thread the tape on in the direction that the nipples screws in and leave the first two threads on the nipple free of tape & dope. That's to avoid any tape/dope entering the water pipe.

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