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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    6

    Default multiple pipe leaks

    Within past 3 months we had three leaks on two seperate points, always on hot water line near pipe joints. We have a pressure reducing valve & thermal expansion tank . water pressure is around 65. We also have a recirculating pump.
    Our house is 17 years old - two storied. We are in Plano , TX area. Any suggestins regarding our options to prevent further leaks are welcome- repipe the whole house or or reline the pipes ?
    we are really fed up with the current situation ( spent thousands of dollars on plumbing bill as well as restoration process.
    Anyone has any experience with ACE duraflo systems?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    It's way too early for your pipes to fail...and before they develop a leak in a different location, I would repipe.

    I don't know much about Ace duraflo system, but I never liked "coating" of any kind. Besides, for what it probably costs, you can repipe.

    Question is: repipe with what?

    If PEX is permitted in your town, then it will be the cheaper choice. Otherwise, repipe with copper type L. Get a few estimates.

    Repipe is not that messy, and it can be a smooth operation if done by a reliable crew.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,836

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    Leaks like you describe are generally attributed to an improper installation or excessively acid water. Have water tested. Two installation errors that can cause leaks in such a short time is the over use of flux when sweating the copper leaving globules of acidic flux to eat through the copper or not deburring the cut ends of copper which leads to a vortex action and increased wear. More leaks may be a possibility but not certain. Personally I would wait and see if you get another, then if you do re-pipe.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    208

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    If it wuz me, I would simply phone around to the plumbers in your town and ask them if the water conditions in your area cause pinhole leaks in copper piping.

    If not, then the next time you have a leak, cut out the piece of supply piping back to and including the closest UPSTREAM joint. Have that pipe cut open and see if there's visible erosion of the ID of the pipe downstream of the joint.

    You may have just had some bad luck. It would seem to me that if you haven't had any leaks in 17 years, and now three all at once, that either means we're way out there on the normal probability curve, or there's gonna be holes everywhere in your piping by year-end. My feeling, it's just a spat of bad luck.

    If you live in a housing development, talk to your neighbors cuz the same plumbers that did your house woulda done theirs too.
    Last edited by Nestor; 07-12-2011 at 04:48 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    The first and second one were on the same spot. The plumber who came the second time told us that the first plumber ( same company ) did not do a good job & hence soldering of the joint failed.
    the third one happened yesterday evening . Again at another place- (recirculating line and hot water line junction)by the look of it the copper is really pitted and crusted at that area( I am not very familar with US plumbing terms!! ) Right now our hot water is turned off. The plumber wanted to drain the whole system before he repairs . we bought the house 5 years ago. The previous owners never mentioned any leaks. We did not have anything for past 4 years.
    Can a recirculating pump cause frequent leaks ?
    If we want to test water where do we do that ? If water is too acidic what can we do about it?
    In the mean time is the water pressure of 65 too high ?
    Thanks

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South*East
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    1,220

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    He didn't say what type of pipe he had, or if he is on a slab or not. I have seen copper go on numerous occasions after 17 years. Especially if it is under ground. If it is CPVC on a recirculating system I have also seen that fail do to it getting very brittle from the hot water. In any case he should repipe. I am curious though as to what pipe he has.

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    we have copper pipes( type - I am not sure). House is on slab as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    Jack,

    You suggested to replace the affected pipes only. But what if the entire house had pipes, connections and fittings that are ready to develop leaks? We just don't know.

    Based on the description of the condition of the pipes, fittings and connection, and based on the high costs of restoration, I would repipe, and repipe now rather than later. I would have no hesitations or regrets, for money well spent.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    update :

    Our plumber came fixed the current leak -minimal damage (
    water did not get into wood floors next room - thank you lord! ) . He was kind of surprised to see the massive amount of greenish deposits on the pipe line- again on recirculating line.
    His suggestions
    1) should check the water PH as well as the electrical grounding ( not sure why).
    2)He also recommended us to unplug the recirculating pump for time being( pump was installed by the previous owner - an architect who designed this house !!!)

    Since his company do not do re piping I am checking out other companies to get quotes..

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    208

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    I am also reading that all of the leaks have been on the recirculating line or where the recirculating line connects to the main supply piping.

    If that's the case, I wouldn't repipe at all. I'd simply disconnect the recirculating line at the end of the supply piping, and where it goes back into the water heater piping, and unplug the recirculating pump. That is, scrap that stupid recirculating line that seems to be the source of all the leaks.

    Most houses don't have a recirculating line. All that line does is carry hot water from the end of the supply piping run back to the water heater. There's a small pump pumping hot water into the supply piping and then back to the water heater through the recirculating line all the time. By doing that, you don't have to wait for your water to get hot when you turn on a hot water faucet; the water recirculating through the hot water supply piping is always hot by virtue of the fact that it's always flowing down the supply piping and then back to the water heater via the recirculating line.

    If your leaks have been in the recirculating line, or where that recirculating line connects to the hot water supply piping, then I'd say the problem is that the architect used either too soft a copper pipe for the recirculating line or that he sized the pump to big so the flow rate through the recirculating line is too high, and that's what's causing the leaks.

    If you haven't had more than one leak in your 1/2 inch supply piping, then you can't say you've got a problem with that supply piping at all. So, why start replacing THAT piping? I'd just pull the plug on the recirculating line and live with the fact that you'll have to wait for the water to get hot when you open a hot water faucet, just like you had to do when you were a kid, and just like most other people in the country have to do. It's not a hardship.

    Inspect the pipes to really be type L.
    Copper piping in both the USA and Canada will be identified by the COLOUR of the printing on it. Type M (thinnest wall other than DWV or drain, waste and vent piping) copper pipe will have RED printing on it identifying the manufacturer and the type of copper pipe. Type L copper pipe will have BLUE printing on it, and Type K (greatest wall thickness) will have GREEN printing on it. That's so the plumbing inspector can verify the kind of copper pipe that was used by just looking at it.

    PS: You might not need to know the rest...

    You said that the copper recirculating line had a lot of green deposits on it.

    The FLUX used for soldering copper pipe will contain a chemical called "zinc chloride". Zinc Chloride is used in soldering fluxes because at high (soldering) temperatures it behaves very much like an acid, dissolving any copper oxide in the joint more agressively than it dissolves the bare copper metal of the pipe(s) and fitting(s). It is critical to remove any copper oxide from the joint when soldering to ensure that the molten solder bonds to the bare copper metal. Any oxygen in the joint will prevent the proper bonding of molten solder to bare copper. At room temperatures, zinc chloride is very mildly acidic, and so good plumbing practice recommends that any residual soldering flux that drips out of the joints after soldering be removed so as to prevent corrosion of the copper piping.

    It could very well be that the problems you're experiencing arise entirely from the fact that the plumber or architect that did the soldering on your recirculating line DIDN'T remove the old soldering flux that dripped out onto the copper supply piping or smaller recirculating line, and the mild acidity of the zinc chloride in that soldering flux is what's causing the green corrosion you've noticed where the leaks have occurred.

    In a nutshell, I wouldn't do anything until I'd put that stupid hot water recirculating line out of commission and see whether you still get any further leaks in the copper water supply piping after that.

    You can confirm what I'm saying about zinc chloride by downloading the Copper Tube Handbook from this web page:
    http://apps.copper.org/applications/.../homepage.html
    in PDF format and reading the section on soldering copper tubing and copper tube paste fluxes.
    Last edited by Nestor; 07-13-2011 at 01:47 AM.

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