Plumbing repair question
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  1. #1
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    Plumbing repair question

    At my old house that I just put on the market, about two weeks ago, I heard water running that seemed to come from water heater, and it seemed to get louder in the crawl space. Since we bought a home warranty, I had a plumber come out and he said that the water heater was leaking. They replaced it, and when I went over again, I heard the same sound. Since the crawl space is only about 18" in the good spots, and this was coming from the far side of the main beam, I cut a hole in the closet floor above it, and found a small split in the copper pipe between the main water shutoff and the water heater (oops....wasted my copay, didn't I?). I tried an epoxy pipe wrap, only to find that the pipe has a slow leak somewhere near the floor behind the water heater, which is basically inaccessible since it's in a small closet.

    Here's the question- how effective are the compression fittings for copper? I've soldered water pipe when I put in the original, and it was a pain in the ***. If I solder again, due to the difficulty of getting to everything, I will have to solder an elbow that is close to the ground and at arm's length when lying tight to the floor, so I'd rather use compression fittings if it is an acceptable long term repair. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    They make quick connect fittings for copper. Some trade names are Quick Connect, TecTite and Shark Bite. I recommend calling a plumber.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Compression fittings are fine but I would recommend a solder job first.

    Not sure I would want compression fittings on the main line feeding the WH.


    Last edited by akclone; 08-03-2009 at 12:00 PM.

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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Compression fittings are a well proven technology if assembled per manufacturer instructions. My company uses them on copper, steel, and stainless steel tube, and for significantly higher pressures then you will find in a residential copper water line.


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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    I would see no reason why a person couldn't use a compression fiiting in this application. Compression fittings are reliable, economical and easy to install. As an example, shut-off valves are common compression fittings.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    One word. Pex. Learn to use it and you will love it. It will still require some soldering but the stuff is amazing.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    I appreciate all of the feedback! Since it is a dirt crawl space, and is technically accessible (though a pain in the ***), I will probably go with the compression fittings and leave my access panel open until I've seen that there is absolutely no leaks. Thanks!



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Compression fittings are a well proven technology if assembled per manufacturer instructions. My company uses them on copper, steel, and stainless steel tube, and for significantly higher pressures then you will find in a residential copper water line.
    Compression fittings are effective as you have mentioned. Unfortunately, they might not be approved for residential use per the local building codes. I know that they are not in the area that I live. If the OP were to do the repair and then the next buyer discover a fix that was not legal, he would be open for a lawsuit.

    The bigger issue is since it sounds like that there have already been 2 bad spots, it probably would be best to replace the entire line as other areas have probably been weakened.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    Unfortunately, they might not be approved for residential use per the local building codes. I know that they are not in the area that I live.
    Holy Moly!! Compression fittings not approved for residential use??? Not even for repairs??? Some plumbers must have gotten a hold of the code writing authority for your jurisdiction...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    The bigger issue is since it sounds like that there have already been 2 bad spots, it probably would be best to replace the entire line as other areas have probably been weakened.
    This is a very good point!


    Last edited by jbhtexas; 08-03-2009 at 01:10 PM.

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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Quote Originally Posted by jbhtexas View Post
    Holy Moly!! Compression fittings not approved for residential use??? Not even for repairs??? Some plumbers must must got a hold of the code writing authority for your jurisdiction...
    You nailed it. The local inspectors are also pretty much all former union contractors so they take good care of their buddies.



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    Re: Plumbing repair question

    Update.......I bought some of the Watts Quick Connect fittings, and installed them tonight. I am planning on the leaving the subfloor open for several days to check for leaks. It was certainly a learning experience. Due to installing my elbow out of sequence, I had to pull and reinstall the elbow to the water heater twice, and the last time I put it back on, it would not slide all the way back on to the recommended depth, so I think I boogered it up a bit. Once I got the hang of it, the other two fittings went on quite easily. When I turned the water back on, the last two showed no sign of leakage, but the elbow in question did, so I need to get a new one, now that I know how to do it.



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