Monday, November 9, 2009

Old Plumbing Problem

This is from an old e-mail to my uncle from 2001. Pulled it out of the archives due to busy schedule today.

The pipe between my well and my pressure tank had a leak. It was a small spray of water that would probably fill a glass with water every ten to fifteen minutes. Fortunately, the leak was situated so that the water all ran down into the pit where the sump pump does its thing. It was time to fix it, though. I started to unscrew the coupling that hooked the plastic hose to the brass tee that was attached to the tank. The coupling, which was the source of the leak, broke. Part of it was stuck inside the tee, and part was stuck inside the pipe. Grrr...

So, GPop and I went to the hardware store, and I explained to the Hardware Guy that I had committed an act of home repair against my house, and that I needed an accomplice to help hide the evidence. He summoned the Well Guy (Kevin) to lend me a hand with determining what I needed to buy. We figured out that I needed a new coupling, some plastic pipe, a new tee, the pressure gauges and plugs that go into the tee, and the pipe fitting compound (a.k.a. pipe dope). I also bought a short ladder/step stool so I'd have a place to sit while I was working.

OK. So far, so good.

GPop and I went home with our new purchases, and we discovered that removing the tee required us to remove the pipes on the OTHER side of the tee as well. Who would've thought? So, I went back and bought some copper pipe, the appropriate couplings, a propane torch kit, flux, and solder. I went back home, and we cut the pipe, then removed the tank so we could get to the tee. When I started to twist the tee to remove it, the bottom of the tank began to buckle. Arrrrgggghhhh!

Back to the hardware store. I'm sure that Well Guy and Hardware Guy were laughing by this time. We bought a new tank and a pipe wrench. So, at that time, we had all we needed.

We got everything installed correctly, and it looked just like new, which was correct since it was basically all new. So what now? Turn on the water and see if there are any leaks. I can see by the expression on your face that you expect me to say something like there was a gusher. Nope. It was leak free. Then, we heard a hissing/bubbling coming from a pipe about five feet away from where we had done our work. Apparently, our work had jarred a pipe that had a weak bit of solder, and it started a small leak there.

OK. Not to worry...

We started soldering the old pipe. After doing that, I've come to the conclusion that solder doesn't stick well to old copper pipe, so you have to do something to take away the corrosion. We ended up soldering a LOT onto the connection, then using an epoxy material to coat the whole coupling. It still leaked a bit, but it was about one drop every five to ten minutes. That's probably about enough time between drips that the floor will dry out in between drops. I'll look at it again next weekend.

And the kicker is that the village is running city water out our way within the next couple of months. Anyone need a used 20-gallon pressure tank? It's a very pretty sky blue color.

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