Author Topic: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank  (Read 3626 times)

DK

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plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« on: August 07, 2013, 03:16:24 PM »
I've got a leak where two pipes are coming together in the basement. It's not horrible, but will leave a puddle if left unchecked. I talked with someone who recommended replacing it with PVC40 to prevent it from corroding it in the future.

Just wondering if anyone has experience on what I should do. Really, looking at it, I'm not even sure how I'm going to take it apart, since it's threaded all the way around. I've never done any plumbing work before, but I am semi-handy.

It is leaking off each side of the "T".

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9J1XSwMserXVF93NjE3eUJuUW8/edit?usp=sharing

ncornilsen

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 03:44:06 PM »
That is quite the specialize "T" fitting!

I wouldn't replace it with PVC. try fixing what's there.  It looks like it's only leaking where the reducer goes into the T on the right.   Do this:

You'll need to cut the copper pipe  to unthread that section. Get a copper coupler, a few feet of copper tube, a new copper elbow, and a threaded adapter, a die-electric union (important!!), and a new bell reducer.

-Fix the leak going into the Tee. if the threads in the tee are trashed, then you'll need to replace everything, probably all the way tot he tank.

-Rebuild the piping to the valve. Attach the die-electric union to the valve. Fit the copper tubing to the other side of the union. Solder it up, done.

You can't have copper directly in contact with galvanized piping, or it corrodes. I don't think brass is an issue though.

What kind of pipe is in the insulated sleeve? Plastic?

Spork

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 03:52:21 PM »
a couple of words of advice in addition to what's been said:

* use pipe dope on the fittings!  This will not only provide sealing, it keeps the pipes from seizing to each other.  I suspect what you have is seized like a weld.
* old plumbing turns to snot over time.  Expect the galvanized stuff to crush/crumble/break/seize up.
* you might try to put the copper/brass together with something that can actually be removed...  i.e. a compression fitting or something similar.  This would solve a future issue of "you'll have to cut that copper".
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DK

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 06:40:13 PM »
Yes, it's got a lot going on, splitting the flow, pressure switch, gauge. I actually have not seen anything similar to it, where I could just try to do an in place replacement.

He rec'd PVC for the section because he has similar water, and he's already replaced his once, and then had to replace it again and ended up just using the PVC so he would not have to keep on replacing it. I'm bringing the pics to show him tomorrow and will talk to him a bit more on it. He built his entire house so he's a fairly good resource for various fix-it stuff.

Yes, the pipe in the insulated sleeve is plastic down to the elbow, from that to the T, I'm actually not sure, it almost seems it's wrapped in electrical tape....

Ugh, I was hoping to not have to cut anything, I thought there might be some way to unscrew it apart magically that I just did not know about.

Do you think there might be any piece I could reuse and wire brush clean, or I'll end up needing everything new?

Spork

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 07:44:14 AM »
you might be able to clean it up....  but... we're talking really inexpensive parts here.  The "expensive" part is your labor/time.  Any way you go, I'd optimize for that.  I.e.: optimize for "less likely to repair again and if I have to, I can take it apart."
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Greg

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 10:36:48 PM »
The part on the left is black poly, it will undo if you undo the clamp and use a heat gun to soften it.  That's the line in from the well.  The part on the right is copper, either cut it or un-solder it to turn it loose. 

Good luck unscrewing the tee.  It may be seized to the pipe out from the pressure tank.  You can replace with PVC, it's easier in some ways to work with.  Regardless, make up the new arrangement with unions so you can separate the tank/left pipe/right pipe in the future.  If you want to install metal parts, like the top nipple for the pressure switch (careful, likely 220V there), use lead-free brass. 

Good luck, make sure you have at least 2 pipe wrenches and a propane torch to help convince this stuff to come apart.

Nords

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Re: plumbing - repairing leak on T valve by water bladder tank
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2013, 10:57:25 PM »
I've got a leak where two pipes are coming together in the basement. It's not horrible, but will leave a puddle if left unchecked. I talked with someone who recommended replacing it with PVC40 to prevent it from corroding it in the future.

Just wondering if anyone has experience on what I should do. Really, looking at it, I'm not even sure how I'm going to take it apart, since it's threaded all the way around. I've never done any plumbing work before, but I am semi-handy.

It is leaking off each side of the "T".

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9J1XSwMserXVF93NjE3eUJuUW8/edit?usp=sharing
First, I'd like to say "Thanks!" for uploading the photos.  More of us could do more of that.

Second, you're fixing a cascading problem.  I don't know how old the system is, but everywhere you see rusty joints is your next leak waiting to happen (and not just above the coffee cup).  As soon as you start taking things apart, the nearby joints are going to start misbehaving.  You're going to have to make plans for a sustained loss of water pressure and possibly water service... until you get it back together.  With the right parts.  Assuming the hardware store has the parts, and is still open.

Third, how old is the system?  Is it worth fixing just the one or two leaks you can see, or would you rather replace that entire section of T and the adjacent piping?

Fourth, PVC sounds great until you accidentally smack it with the vacuum cleaner or a kid's tricycle or while you're moving furniture.  Let's not get into how I learned that.

I wouldn't try to re-use any of your existing piping or joints or valves.  In fact I'd replace everything that you could reasonably take apart, including the T connector.  The value of your time & labor is greater than the cost of the parts, and the insides of the existing piping will look far worse than the outside.

When I was younger and braver, I would leap right in to projects like that.  Today I'd spend a week or two planning for the worst case, mustering all of the parts & tools that I could possibly use (plus some spares), filling the house with water buckets, and talking through the procedure with someone to check that I didn't miss anything.  And then I'd probably call a plumber.
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