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  • Emergency plumbing patch, need help!

    Got home late last night from visiting my new granddaughter and heard the dreaded sound of water hissing out of a pinhole in copper pipe.

    It's semi-accessable and with my budget crunch, I'm wanting to try a patch repair rather than paying a plumber hundreds of dollars to rip out a bathtub to replace the pipe.

    I'm thinking about machining a 2 piece thick walled aluminum sleeve that would assemble over the pipe upstream of the hole, then slide down over it. The sleeve would be held together by screws. It would either compress a piece of rubber tubing to seal the leak or be made a bit oversize and the void pumped full of JB Weld or other sealant.

    Any of you guys have any other simpler ideas or know of any commercial products?
    Milton

    "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

    "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

  • #2
    Try using a band clamp and a piece of rubber bicycle inner tube

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by polepenhollow
      Try using a band clamp and a piece of rubber bicycle inner tube
      Yep, I'll second that.
      Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
      ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

      Comment


      • #4
        Third. Maybe wrap a bit of aluminum flashing over it before using clamp.

        In case of no inner tube use electrical tape, flashing then clamp.


        If the pipe is vertical, drain the water below the leak, shine it up, flux it and apply a good outer coat of 50/50 tin/lead solder. It has to be 50/50 solder. The reason is that 60/40 is a eutectic and it melts and freezes at the precise same temperature making it impossible to control as a filler or patch. The same applies to the tin/silver lead free solders because the eutectic for tin/silver is around 3% silver in tin. 50/50 tin/lead has a range over which it is partly solid between solidus and liquidus. That is why it was used for plumbing.
        Last edited by Evan; 03-20-2010, 09:50 AM.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          Doesn't have to be that fancy, what I did in the buildings when I was a facilities manager was get a piece of red or black rubber sheet and I have used tin can or sheet metal and two screw hose clamps.
          Place the rubber over the hole, place the metal over the rubber and clamp on each side of the hole.
          This was some the items being feed could still be used. As the wait for either materials or the central office sending a plumber or fitter could be a while.
          I have found these patches on lines way down tunnels that pre date me by 20 years still holding. That is from the look of the label still on the can and or the clamps.

          I imagine that cork sheet would work as a temp. Of course being in a boiler room we had sheet goods of rubber in the locker at all times.
          Glen
          Been there, probably broke it, doing that!
          I am not a lawyer, and never played one on TV!
          All the usual and standard disclaimers apply. Do not try this at home, use only as directed, No warranties express or implied, for the intended use or the suggested uses, Wear safety glasses, closed course, professionals only

          Comment


          • #6
            A good hardware store, (not home depot) or plumbing supply house will have saddle patches that go over pipe and clamp with a rubber seal. In midtown Memphis, try Gate City on Summer. West Memphis, Garrett Hardware. Out your way, don't know who is there.
            John L

            Comment


            • #7
              Patch?

              What I would do is cut a piece of copper sized to fit generously over the "pinhole". Then clean the spot, and solder the piece over the pinhole. (obviously drain the pipe).

              DONE.

              That patch will last as long as it needs to... years. You can solder it with a torch, or a BIG iron, soldering copper, etc, depending on acccessibility.

              On the other hand, why is there a pinhole in copper pipe? normally the only way to get that is for someone to mail into it, etc.

              it isn't common to have it corrode, unless you have sulphur-water, or the wrong kind of chinese drywall, etc. if your copper pipe is rotting out, you have problems that a patch can't fix.......... not for long, anyway
              CNC machines only go through the motions.

              Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
              Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
              Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
              I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
              Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by J Tiers
                ...why is there a pinhole in copper pipe?
                Some years ago a 2" copper pipe where I work developed a pinhole. The section of pipe was replaced and we were able to examine it. Something, don't know what, got into the inside of the pipe before it was assembled, corroding and causing pits. The water supply was hard water and corrosion continued.
                Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with Jerry. What you are suggesting is a temporary fix and will probably start leaking on down the pipe in the future. I have cut out sections of copper water pipe many times, where a pinhole has formed and the copper at that location is very, very thin, and was not caused by chinese drywall or any other impingement other than the water in the pipe.

                  Patrick

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Probably cheap pipe. You are supposed to use type K copper tube for domestic water. In a 1/2" pipe that is .049" wall thickness. Contractors cheat and use Type M which is only .028 wall. It corrodes through in a few years instead of decades, everyone points fingers at the Chinese and all is good.
                    Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                    • #11
                      There's a miserable history of many types of copper pipe problems in my area and many others around the country. Don't have time right now to go into it. Just Google copper pipe leaks/pinholes & prepare to get sick at your stomach. There are people that are responsible for this mess that should be put in jail for a long time.

                      I don't have the room to solder on a patch. The leak is between 2 back to back bathtubs and have very little room.

                      I just got back from the local old-time hardware store with a clamp device but there's not enough room to use it. Gonna have to make somthing. Ya'll wish me luck.
                      Milton

                      "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                      "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Split a piece of heater hose and slide it on with a clamp. Or even replace the piece with rubber heater hose. Nobody will be drinking from it and it won't matter anyway.
                        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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                        • #13
                          I have had really good luck with the epoxy putty that you can get at any of the big warehouse hardware chains. It works when its wet. Just knead a bit and stick it on.
                          Seems to last
                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            If you have room for a torch do the following:

                            1) drain the pipe

                            2) run a sheet metal screw into the pinhole

                            3) solder the head of the screw to create a water tight seal

                            I used this technique when I accidentally drove a finishing nail into a copper water pipe.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yep, I've got a clamp/rad hose patch on "my" side of the water meter out at the street. It's a bigger fitting and has worked well for a couple years now.

                              This pipe is 1/2" (5/8" OD) and screw clamp distortion usually causes a poor seal on small pipes. Been there before.

                              I think I can whip up a 2 piece clamp block with 10-24 screws and a piece of soft silicone hose I have that will fit in the tiny bit of space available between the pipe, tub pipe and a wall stud. I'm CAD'ing up a quick sketch to check clearance now.

                              Alt/Tab'ing back to TurboCAD now.
                              Milton

                              "Accuracy is the sum total of your compensating mistakes."

                              "The thing I hate about an argument is that it always interrupts a discussion." G. K. Chesterton

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