I need to resolve conflicting advice about how to deal with a tiny leak!

Discussion in 'General Plumbing Help' started by EagerLearner, Sep 9, 2019.

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  1. Sep 9, 2019 #1

    EagerLearner

    EagerLearner

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    Hi! I have what I initially thought was a very SIMPLE problem, but...

    Here's the situation: I have a tiny leak but it's in a pipe that does NOT carry water under pressure. It's in my hot-water HEATING system, and I have the old-fashioned kind of hot-water system-- without a pump to circulate the water-- so the only force promoting the leak is gravity, i.e. the weight of the water above the leak, which is in a vertical pipe near the boiler. At the moment, the leak is just a very slow drip (less than one drop a minute) though when I fully refill the system and the weight of the water above the leak is heavier, it will be faster, but still slow.

    So, I originally posted my question about how to stop this leak on a general do-it-yourself site, where the responder linked me to a page with a variety of pipe thread sealants: pastes, tapes, sprays. He said I could use any of those products to seal the tiny leak. So I went to Home Depot and got a small tube of Hercules Megaloc Multi-purpose Thread Sealant, which is a non-hardening paste. But when I read the instructions, it seemed the product was only intended to be used by spreading it on the thread BEFORE joining two pipes, not putting it on the outside of an already-dripping pipe. So I called the manufacturer's customer service dept. and spoke to someone there who confirmed my doubts-- he said it absolutely was not designed for the purpose I wanted to put it to.

    Luckily, when I was at Home Depot I already was uncertain about the Megaloc Sealant's appropriateness, so I also bought an epoxy that could be used in a watery environment, J-B Weld Water Weld-- later, I called that company and spoke to a customer service rep who said that their product could indeed stop the drip, as long as I roughened the surface of the pipe so that the epoxy would adhere properly.

    Then I was thinking that maybe the best idea would be to use BOTH products-- spread the Megaloc Thread Sealant around the entire circumference of the leaking joint (stuffing it in between the outer pipe and the inner pipe) and then apply the J-B Weld Water Weld epoxy over the whole area. What do you guys think of that-- would the Thread Sealant interfere with the epoxy? Or is the thread sealant unnecessary and would I do just as well only applying the epoxy?

    And maybe everything I said above is going down the wrong track-- maybe both the sealant and the epoxy (whether used alone or with the sealant) are bad ideas-- and there's some better plan I could implement. If so, please let me know about it!!

    I'm a novice in need of sound advice!
     
  2. Sep 9, 2019 #2

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    I would definitely only use the J-B Weld Water Weld, as directed by the company.
    The thread sealant would not help the adherence of the epoxy, particularly when they told you to roughen up the surface for proper adherence.

    That's a gravity heating system you have there.
    I assume it threaded steel pipe and it's leaking at a joint.
    I must also assume that there is no easy way to take it apart and redo it.

    EDIT: Don't know if they mentioned it to you but probably best to drain it down to that joint before applying the sealant.
     
  3. Sep 10, 2019 at 12:09 AM #3

    EagerLearner

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    Thank you for your input, Diehard!

    You say, "I must also assume that there is no easy way to take it apart and redo it."

    Well, given that I had a little trouble taking apart my Tinker Toys when I was a child, there's definitely no easy way for ME to take the pipes apart and redo it!

    You say, "I assume it's threaded steel pipe and leaking at a joint."

    If not steel, it's certainly a highly ferrous metal given its attractiveness to my refrigerator magnet (I guess I'm revealing how much I'm not really a do-it-yourselfer when I admit the only magnet in the house is a turtle-shaped refrigerator magnet!) And yes, it's threaded and leaking at a joint.

    You say, "particularly when they told you to roughen up the surface for proper adherence [of the epoxy].

    Well, I got the impression the tech support person I spoke to at J-B Weld was speaking generally about how to best use epoxy-- they inferred I was someone not very familiar with these things-- not just about this particular epoxy. Although I have to mention, I have used Propoxy 10 on a few occasions in the past without roughening the surface and it seemed to adhere well. And may I ask you Diehard, How much roughening is necessary?-- I bought a steel wire-brush for the purpose.

    You say, "Don't know if they mentioned it to you but probably best to drain it down to that joint before applying the sealant."

    I explicitly asked tech support about whether draining was necessary (something I'd prefer to avoid) given the fact that J-B Weld's Water Weld is expressly designed to arrogantly ignore the presence of water-- so much so that you can use it when what you're repairing is actually UNDER WATER! I was told that draining was not necessary when using this particular epoxy-- I got the sense that J-B Weld's Water Weld would SNEER CONTEMPTUOUSLY at any drip that dared appear while it was hardening!!

    Again, thank you Diehard for your thoughtful, meticulous and intelligent response!
     
  4. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:01 AM #4

    Jeff Handy

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    Some pros on here will be fighting each other to be first to scream about “ripping out the pipe and replacing it”, which of course is correct and best,but pbly expensive, and not DIY.

    If you are committed to trying to plug the leak with a band-aid fix (which if done well could last forever) and the leak is super slow and low pressure, at least roughen up the pipe with coarse sandpaper, to give the JB Weld something to bite into for a better seal.
    And before doing that, wipe the area down firmly with rubbing alcohol, to remove any dirt or crud that will interfere with the adhesion.
    Wipe away any dust before gooping on the JB Weld.

    I personally would go for a clamping type of repair patch, you can buy these online, maybe also at big boxes.

    There is a two-piece metal frame that has a thin piece of high temp rubber on one side, this is placed over the pin hole leak, and the two metal frame pieces are screwed tight to each other, which squeezes the rubber patch tight against the leak.

    I am waiting for the storm of ridicule for advocating this, but I think it is way better than globbing on some JB Weld onto a damp metal leak.

    EDIT Just re-read the OP’s post, and the clamp type repairs are trickier to use at a joint, but can still be used if sheet rubber gasket material is used to take up the slack space around the pipe.

    Yes, not correct, but either $hitty method is worth a try. If it fails, then dig deep and call an hvac company to repair it right.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019 at 2:12 AM
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  5. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:33 AM #5

    Diehard

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    Well I have heard the J-B Weld epoxy was pretty good but have no first hand experience with it.
    I don't like the idea that there will be pressure behind that leak so catch it on a low level day.;)

    I like using a little wire wheel on an electric drill for things like that. But like Jeff Handy suggests, clean up good with stuff like alcohol after you roughen up. Rough it enough that you feel it's down to clean metal.
    Best of luck!
     
  6. Sep 10, 2019 at 6:08 AM #6

    Rossando

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    Sounds like he said it’s leaking at the joint, those clamps style ones only work where they are fully secured on a pipe.

    No pipe dope, just clean and use a green scotch brite pad, chor boy or something similar to scuff it up a bit before you apply the epoxy.
     
  7. Sep 10, 2019 at 1:15 PM #7

    dterryplumbs

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    Check out website iplumb-iheat.co.uk or thedorsetbathroomcompany.com and contact Dan, he can advise over the phone or if local, come and take a look. :)
     
  8. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:13 PM #8

    Diehard

    Diehard

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    Not very local to the UK. Just across pond.
     
  9. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:22 PM #9

    Surfer0063

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    This is some great info others have given. To sum up:

    Step 1 - Drain down system, if able. (This will allow the epoxy to adhere better)
    Step 2 - Clean area with sand paper or wire brush till you get down to good metal or till the metal is shiny-clean.
    Step 3 - Wipe area with rubbing alcohol to get it super clean and dust-free.
    Step 4 - Apply J B Weld, as directed on package.
    Step 5 - Let dry, as directed.
    Step 6 - Fill up system again and check for leaks.

    Tip: Since this leak is coming from a joint. Be sure to apply the epoxy all the way around the joint/pipe, not just where the water is leaking from. You want to seal the entire joint all the way around the pipe and fitting.
     
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  10. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:24 PM #10

    frodo

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    Here is how you fix the leaking pipe
    drain the system
    cut the pipe , remove the pipe on both sides of the elbow

    jb weld will not work, it will leak,silicone will leak
    nothing is going to fix a leak in a threaded fitting except replacing the bad threads


    6''.png
     
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  11. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:25 PM #11

    frodo

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  12. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:26 PM #12

    frodo

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    repair clamps do not fit on fittings, they are used on the pipe itself
     
  13. Sep 10, 2019 at 2:32 PM #13

    Surfer0063

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    The poster said its a JB Weld Water Weld product and they have contacted the manufacturer to discuss their situation. I agree, cutting the pipe and replacing it is the best bet.
     
  14. Sep 10, 2019 at 3:34 PM #14

    frodo

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    j b weld is a band aid temp fix

    it is rigging. it is not fixing

    seems to be a lot of jack leg shade tree, wanna be plumbers on this site

    I do not care what the op wants to do to because they are cheap and lazy

    I am a pro and i refuse to give out **** fixes

    that kinda advice is given out on the bob villa forum

    HANDYMAN IN A CAN

    handyman_in_a_can.png
     
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  15. Sep 10, 2019 at 7:24 PM #15

    Diehard

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    Well now that you know the correct way of fixing the leaky joint, you will be ready to fix it if/when the quick fix fails. That's if you decide to do it yourself, of course.
    Good luck!
     
  16. Sep 10, 2019 at 7:27 PM #16

    EagerLearner

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    I want to thank everyone for their contributions, even frodo, who says about me, "I do not care what the op wants to do to because they are cheap and lazy".

    Yikes! frodo, I guess I admit to being a little cheap (though I prefer to consider myself sensibly frugal) but lazy????? No, not at all. I am simply not remotely competent to undertake the pipe replacement you outlined in one of your responses above. Nor do I have the tools.
     
  17. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:15 PM #17

    voletl

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    Then hire someone that can fix it....
     
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  18. Sep 10, 2019 at 9:28 PM #18

    Diehard

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    He may!

    Or may not!

    Is he not allowed to have the option?

    Or is there no chance in the world that the easy fix will stop that leak?
     
  19. Sep 10, 2019 at 11:30 PM #19

    frodo

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    You used the word FIX
    NO, it will not ''FIX'' the problem, It is a band-aid on a wound that needs stitches

    Sorry eager learner
    the people on this site giving out advice are supposed to give out advice that is CODE compliant
    We are here to help you fix it correctly not ------rig the ****

    If you decide to fix it correctly, we will walk you through the process step by step

    you will need a hacksaw and 2 - 14'' pipe wrenches/ 18'' would be better,

    THATS IT that is all the tools you need to fix this
     
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  20. Sep 10, 2019 at 11:44 PM #20

    Diehard

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    This type of talk is not benefiting the OP so I will not continue it.
     

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