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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    thanks for all the replies. Right now we are leaning towards the repipe option. we have a 4000 sq ft house with 3.5 bath rooms .
    If we need to select plumbers, what will be the best options - BBB, angie's list or ask around with bulding contractors?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,751

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    Choosing a plumber is like choosing a mechanic, no, it's like choosing a doctor.

    Forget BBB. Craigslist or any other list could be iffy. Your best source is a friend's recommendation, or a local source. But you need to get at least 3 bids, with references. Then actually call those references to verify. Keep in mind that references could be fake. If all 3 bids are close, use your gut feeling about the men who stand in front of you.

    Act fast, but take your time selecting a lic. contractor. Get everything (promises, warranties, suggestions) in writing. Try to be there for the installation, soldering, clean up and drywall work. Your presence is important. Inspect the pipes to really be type L.

    Good luck.

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,842

    Default Re: multiple pipe leaks

    If I read your posts correctly all the leaks have been in the recirculating line, not the rest of the plumbing. I would say it was not properly installed and you may need to just replace the recirculating sections.

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

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,751

    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.

  5. #15
    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..

  6. #16
    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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