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Repair Options For Leak At Steam Pipe Tee?

Hello Everyone,

A 2- inch steam pipe recently started leaking in our basement. Upon closer inspection we discovered that the leak is not coming from an actual hole in the pipe, but from the threads of a Tee Fitting. It is only leaking from the left section of the Tee fitting. The right and top portions are completely fine. Is there a way I can seal this leak without having to take the pipes and fitting off? I've read about Rectorseal, but it seams that is applied inside of the pipes. I am looking for an external solution to seal the leak. Any recommendations?

- Hillary

Comments

  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    The pressure is so low that JB Weld will certainly stop that leak. Get a wire wheel on a grinder and thoroughly clean the area where the leak is occurring and mix up a batch. Apply it so it's at least 1/16" thick (3/32 is better) and let it fully dry (24 hours).

    Done.
  • siberiansiberian Posts: 2Member
    Thanks for your advice, Hatterasguy. Do I have to turn off the boiler in order for it to dry?
  • HatterasguyHatterasguy Posts: 6,058Member
    Unfortunately, yes. You need a clean and dry surface for the JB to cure properly.

    You might want to wait until May. The slight steam leak probably won't cause any issues.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,512Member
    Would high silicone caulk work in this situation? I have similar exacerbated by either my recent overfill or changing the CPH to 1.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,442Member
    What pressure does your boiler run at? A system I work on lost all of it's leaks by dropping the pressure from 5 down to 2.5 PSI.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,512Member
    I generally run in ounces or in a vacuum (when of course, it doesn't leak!), but since changing to 1CPH, I actually saw it rise to 1lb. yesterday when coming back from a setback. This is new piping and I think it's the the threads cut with the first crappy dies. There's no way to redo it with out dismantling the entire thing and even then, I'm not sure it would resolve it. I'd prefer to try something before resorting to welding.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • siberiansiberian Posts: 2Member
    I would like to follow up this post on the soultion that I used to stop the leak. I bought a tube of J-B Weld "Steel Stick". First I turned off the boiler. Then I thoroughly cleaned the area that was leaking. Next, I took coarse sandpaper (50 grit) and went over the area I planned to use the JB Weld Steel Stick. Then I used a handheld propane torch to fully dry the area. Finally I applied the steel stick around the outside threads and tried to push as much as I could into the threads to seal the leak. The curing time for this product is 1 hour.

    After the hour passed I turned back on our boiler and we had no more leaks.

    Its a very easy product to use and has high reviews .
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,787Member
    Thanks for getting back to us, I'm glad it worked out for you.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,512Member
    thanks for the follow-up. I'm going to try that. The Loctite tape didn't work well at all in this app. Anyone have any thoughts on the high temp silicone caulk idea?
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • RobGRobG Posts: 1,850Member
    You can try as a fist attempt wrapping the joint with a wet rag liberally doused with salt. Let it sit for a few days and it hopefully will rust shut. I know it sounds crazy but it can work.
  • vaporvacvaporvac Posts: 1,512Member
    Thank you, RobG. Funny you should have recommended that because I think that's what's happened naturally to most of the leaks, but it hasn't been enough for the mains and header Tee.
    In the end, I tried the JBWELD hdyro stick and am happy to report that after a few applications I'm almost leak-free. It's great because I could apply it as I saw the droplets forming and it still set and sealed. I'm VERY happy I didn't have to resort to welding them and have seen an increase in my vacuum as a result. So happy to not have to keep adding any water to my beautiful boilers. Now I can focus on fixing a few other problem areas.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • jumperjumper Posts: 1,210Member
    I heat areas that I want to epoxy.Stuff runs into the leak.
  • MetalguyMetalguy Posts: 6Member
    Hello, I don't want to offend anyone with my two cents, and forgive me since I'm new here, but, has anyone else tried electrical tape on leaks? I know, it sounds stupid and isn't too professional, but it does work well quite often as a temporary solution, and sometimes lasts surprisingly longer than you'd think, especially on lower pressured leaks. (I can't take credit for it, I learned that trick from an old plumber way back when I was a kid). I've actually (luckily?) stopped a leaky connection on an old 2-1/2" (12psi) cast iron hot water line from the boiler that I didn't want to change (it's in a rough location), and it's held up for me just fine over the last ten or eleven years now without any more drips. (I still don't want to change that old pipe, it would be opening up a whole giant can of worms!). Black tape has also worked fine on a leaky inline furnace valve bib for the last 15 years now with just a few tight wraps of good rubbery black electrical tape. Why haven't I changed that leaky valve you may ask? Because when my late old man installed the system 40 years ago he didn't install any unions anywhere near it, I'd have to cut out that valve and probably half the old pipes around it and replace them all. No thanks! lol, I think I'll just wait till I rip the whole system out next summer now that the entire system is rotting to death and needs replacing... Good luck to you!
    "I'm NOT a "Pro", I just know how to and prefer to use my own two hands and some tools to repair or replace what's broke when it's broke!"
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