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Old bathtub water-supply brass fitting

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irhunter

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The pictured threaded fitting, with the big nut-thing, is part of my bathtub water supply. Probably 1950ish. It seems to connect a copper pipe with the brass fitting. It is leaking.

First, what is that fitting called?

Second, what is the best packing for such a fitting? It seemed to have had teflon tape and some sort of white sealer. From the chewed-up nut and the remains of past sealers...it probably has been a problem for previous owners.

Thanks,

Roy
 

Jeff Handy

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It could be a trap primer, which sends a little water into the trap so it won’t dry out.

Post more pics, can’t see enough above, below, or to the right of that big view.

It looks like the elbow it connects to is feeding into a brass or copper drain line.

I think a few wraps of teflon packing string would work, along with teflon pipe dope on the threads.

The kind of teflon packing that you would use under the packing nut at the handle stem of a hose faucet.
 

irhunter

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I can get more pics...but, my problem is with that one "fitting." It is leaking.

The big picture: that 1" copper pipe conducts water down, from the vales, to the bathtub via the shown brass elbow. You can just ignore that 1.5" open-top copper pipe...it is the drain vent, and is not part of my current problem.

That 1" copper pipe runs straight down into the fitting, shown in the first pic, and, is made watertight purely by the packing held under that big nut. There are no threads or compression rings or anything like that associated with the 1" pipe. If I were starting from scratch, I'd put a union in there. But, I'd rather just re-pack the fitting.

I tried PTFE pipe dope plus one wrap of graphite packing. That worked for about three showers...now, it is leaking.

Jeff, you think this is what I need:

https://www.amazon.com/EZ-FLO-50037-Teflon-Valve-Packing/dp/B00838JDTK/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=teflon+packing+string&qid=1579463550&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/Loctite-1533652-Thread-Sealant-16-oz/dp/B005M1RIY8/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=teflon+pipe+dope&qid=1579463714&sr=8-9
 

Jeff Handy

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This video is for repairing a faucet packing nut, but the concept is the same.

Depending on how thick the packing string is, you need to wrap enough turns of it clockwise around the pipe to just slightly overfill that gap you see at the top of the elbow, by over-filled I mean overfilled after the big nut has compressed the string down after being spun back down.

Wrap the string clockwise, so that it does not get pushed backwards as the big nut spins down clockwise onto it.

So the big nut will be maintaining some pressure on the teflon packing, forcing it tight all around the pipe and filling up all of that shallow gap.

Also, I assume there is some kind of fitting or cap that you must have removed, at the top of the drainpipe that this leaking elbow feeds into.
Please confirm that.

EDIT You apparently confirmed that this open pipe will be attached to the vent.
 
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Jeff Handy

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Yes, the products you listed should work.

Use enough packing string so that after the big nut comes down and smushes all the air spaces out of it, it will still be sitting maybe just under 1/8 inch above the top of the elbow.

You can sometimes add a few more wraps if it leaks.
Sometimes it is best to start from scratch.

Put a thin layer of teflon paste up inside the nut also.
That way it will spin smoothly over the packing string while squishing it down, without grabbing it and pulling it along which will screw it up.

Graphite packing does not have the “push back” that teflon does, teflon packing is more forgiving and resilient.
 

irhunter

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Got it. Thanks, Jeff. I will report back, when I get this done and tested.

The water-supply plumbing only uses that 1.5" pipe as a physical support. The 1.5" pipe is just open,20200119_153309.jpg Best pic of tub side.jpg like shown, all the time...it functions, I assume, as a vent for the tub drain.

The second pic shows the water supply, tied to the vent tube, and heading into the tub.

The whole arrangement sure seems odd to me, too.

Roy
 

Jeff Handy

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That open pipe, if it is open down to the drain or the trap, should have an air admittance valve put on top.

Right now it lets air in behind the water that flows down the drain, which helps it flow better.
But it can allow sewer gases into the house.

And if the drain line backed up, water would possibly come pouring out of it.
 

irhunter

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Interesting.

But, (1) there is a water-trap between that open pipe and my sewer gas, and (2) if I controlled the flow of air at the open pipe, the sewer gas, getting past my trap, would simply come out my tub drain. Or, so I think.

In the first pic, in Post #9, you can see the top of the trap and the tie between the 1.5" open pipe and the tub drain.

Roy
 

Jeff Handy

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Looks like you are right about sewer gas not being a factor.

I would still cap it with an AAV.

In certain blocked drain pipe conditions, I think that open pipe could overflow.

Maybe others on here will give their opinion?
 

Jeff Handy

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From your new pics, it looks like maybe that leaking elbow leads to the combined hot and cold that feed the tub spout.

Looks like maybe there is no overflow drain either, is that right?

Post a pic or two of that end of the inside of the tub, I am just curious now.

Looks like a fairly ancient set up!
 

irhunter

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Well, before the pipe overflowed, I would have a bathtub half full of...umm...bad stuff. And, since the tub is on the second floor...I think, I would also have a kitchen sink overflowing with that same bad stuff.

My very-nice house is full of things not up to code. Electrical, plumbing, and such. When I fix stuff, I do like to do the right thing, within reason.

Roy
 

Jeff Handy

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Agreed, but if I lived there I would cap with an AAV, my spider sense says it somehow is a problem.

But like I said, others on here may add their opinions about it, or maybe this long thread has their eyes glazing over, haha.
 

Riickk

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That's an old "sand -trap" at the bottom. They tend to collect debris.
If the tub drains slow, you might want to unscrew that hex and see what's in there.
OTOH, my curiosity has gotten me in trouble, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

irhunter

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From your new pics, it looks like maybe that leaking elbow leads to the combined hot and cold that feed the tub spout.

Looks like maybe there is no overflow drain either, is that right?

Post a pic or two of that end of the inside of the tub, I am just curious now.

Looks like a fairly ancient set up!

Yes...the hot and cold valves are above the leak.
Correct...no overflow drain ("Hey you, bathtub user...pay attention").
Ancient...just like its owner.
Will get the pic.
 

irhunter

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That's an old "sand -trap" at the bottom. They tend to collect debris.
If the tub drains slow, you might want to unscrew that hex and see what's in there.
OTOH, my curiosity has gotten me in trouble, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Copy.
 

irhunter

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20200120_085334.jpg 20200120_085334.jpg 20200119_153309.jpg

By request, the big picture.

I will try to buy that Teflon packing today, and will report back.

Roy
 

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