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How can I patch a pin hole in the return of of steam boiler?

sbelyo Member Posts: 13
I found a leak this morning in the basement. It's coming from a pinhole in the return line where the water drains back into the steam boiler. I can get to it after opening up the wall. I need to patch it somehow so I can run the heat today. After that I'll get someone in to fix it properly.

What's the best way to do it with what I can get at Home Depot?


    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,451
    There might be a pipe repair clamp in the plumbing section; something split so you don't have to cut the pipe. They might not have one big enough for your return pipe. And they are maybe not for hot water.
    But you could see how to build one with large radiator hose and SS clamps. There are also some tape type products that claim to stop water leaks; that might slow it down enough to get by until you get someone there.
  • sbelyo
    sbelyo Member Posts: 13
    that's what I was thinking. I didn't know about the tape stuff. That sounds promising. I'm going to see what I can find at the depot
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,200
    Red rubber gasket material or any kind of "squishy" gasket will work. As JUGHNE said they make pipe repair clamps and the hose clamps will work in a pinch. Probably could use the parts from a "no hub" pipe coupling.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,100
    And when you get someone in to fix it -- replace the whole length. Don't just cut out the section with the leak and put in a patch. It's been my experience that where there's one pinhole, there are lots of them -- it's just they don't all leak at once.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,199
    make sure the pipe is sound before trying to clamp t, you do not want to collapse that pipe.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,451
    I would second Jamie's motion to replace all the wet return that you can. Just putting the wrench on some old pipe will egg shape it and invite future leaks.
  • sbelyo
    sbelyo Member Posts: 13
    well, the fix seems to have worked so far. We'll see what the morning brings. I took a fernco rubber coupling and removed the clamps. Then split it lengthwise. I sliced some material out until I got the fit where I wanted it. Then I got some JB water weld and mixed some up. I applied it to the area and made sure it was just short of the length of the coupling. I slid the coupling into place then put the clamps around each end and tightened until snug. I used the remaining epoxy to seal the ends of the coupling. I waited 3.5 hours and checked to make sure it had cured. I ran the boiler for 5 minutes and all seems well.
  • sbelyo
    sbelyo Member Posts: 13
    I will definitely replace the whole length as soon as I can get someone in here to fix it. Right now I'm just recovering from re-plumbing all the waste lines in the 2nd floor lav, replacing the vent stack from the roof to the bottom of the 1st floor, and remodeling the wet half of the 2nd floor lav. More to follow I'm sure...
  • sbelyo
    sbelyo Member Posts: 13
    It held up as of this morning. I heard it come on once in the night and it went through a full heat cycle this morning with no issues.
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