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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're renovating a 100-year-old house and have replaced nearly all the old drains with PVC. The city requires an air test of the drain system -- it has to hold 5 psi for 15 minutes. We keep having a slow leak.

We've soaped everything several times over. Found leaks some times, didn't others. Fixed the leaks we found, still not solved.
We found a couple of leaks on valve, but that didn't solve the problem.
We're running out of ideas and were hoping that somebody out there had been in a similar situation and might have a suggestion.
 

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Been in that situation too many times...
Most common sources of leaks:
test gear- either the gauge,plugs or balloons not set proberly or under inflated/leaking
Glued on test caps
Cleanout plugs- either the threads or a cracked fitting from over tightening the plug
Dry fit fittings (no glue used)
Tub strainers- either inside or under the tub
Transition bands between plastic and cast iron
Cracked pipe (rarely)

If all else fails- fill system with water. It's obvious where it leaks
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much. This is really helpful!

When you say it's obvious where it leaks in the water test ... why is it obvious? We're considering that option but had been assuming we'd have to fill it with red dye or something.
 

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Thank you so much. This is really helpful!

When you say it's obvious where it leaks in the water test ... why is it obvious? We're considering that option but had been assuming we'd have to fill it with red dye or something.
It will become obvious because you'll see the water when the system leaks...

How do you have the line sealed off? Are you sure it's not going into the sewer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's sealed off with balloons. We're taking those out and resetting them today, since we can't see whether they're leaking or not, and maybe the resetting will help.

If that doesn't work, we're probably going to try the system flood. We just weren't sure whether a water leak with clear water would be all that noticeable. But after I posted to you last night, we started thinking that if you just left it for a couple hours, you'd notice even a small leak from the drips on the floor.

Couple of other questions on that water test:
- is it actually reasonable to leave the water in place for a few hours, in the hopes of spotting all the little leaks? Or is that a bad idea?
- we think we have a good system worked out for how to drain the thing afterwards without flooding our house, but if you have any thoughts on how you've done that in the past, they'd be appreciated.
- are there any warnings you have from your experience in doing this? Stuff to watch for? Risks to keep an eye on?

Thank you! This is our third old house remodel and every step of it has been just so much harder than anything we've done before. I kind of feel like the house is maybe out to get us. :vs_worry:
 

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Reset the balloons and make sure they well into the pipe and inflated to the proper amount listed on the balloon. I hope you have used the long type that is inserted into a wye- it makes dumping the test cleaner.
I suspect your balloon is the problem though. Reset, inflate to proper pressure and retest with air.
I want to warn you though. air testing is common practice- has been forever. But my local code has removed any mention of using air to test. It simply says 5lb pressure test now. The plastic manufacturers don't recommend air in non pressure rated pipe.

Water test- Depending on the size of the leak, it may show up quickly or a little later. A dry fit may blow apart and flood the area too. Or it may push out an expansion plug from a floor drain..... Just remember that a 10 ft column of water is equal to approximately 5 psi at it's base. Every foot you go higher increases the pressure by about 1/2 lb. A 2 story house will have a water column with about 10 psi at it's base.

I always use a long test balloon inserted through the branch of a wye.(cap the branch when finished) This allows the balloon to set into the main drain line and block it off as well as the branch. Use the chain or rope to secure so it can't possibly float away on you when deflating. Don't pull on the air hose extension.
When dropping the water test, deflate slowly. When you here the water passing by the balloon. you can stop and let it drain with minimal spillage. Just be sure the balloon is secure. Or you can deflate it more and pull the balloon completely out, just be prepared to get some water your direction....
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OMG IT WORKED. Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.

We water tested yesterday and found 4 or 5 leaks that we had missed during at least four rounds of bubble/air testing. Re-did those joints today, did the 5 psi test again and everything held. We are no longer leaking. It's a goddamn Easter miracle.

Thank you so much! You saved my husband's sanity for sure, and probably also our marriage. :vs_OMG:
 

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Well thank you coming back and sharing- you made my day :)

Sent from my XT1650 using Tapatalk
 
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