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Help...I've Sprung a Leak !

rhw Member Posts: 49
One of the main pipes in my one pipe steam system has a tiny pin hole and steam/water is spitting out. Can it be plugged with an epoxy or something similar?


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    They sell pipe repair kits which are like a radiator hose clamp pressing a rubber gasket against the pipe. They are for making temporary emergency repairs.
    Is this leak on the return, or supply.? There may be other spots waiting to spring a leak.--NBC
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
    Blue Monster (and others), have a silicon tape that can be used TEMPORARILY to seal the leak.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
    It's a supply pipe. And with "other spots waiting" what do you suggest?
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
    Also does clamping the spot harm the system in any way?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
    I was looking at the other post with pictures of your boiler piping. This (IMHO) is another result of that poor boiler piping putting wet steam into your system. Steam supplies don't typically rot out, unless there is something wrong with the system. Wet returns are a totally different story. Just something else to think about.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
    Thanks KC. New boiler was installed in Feb. 2002 after old one cracked. After recently discovering Dan Holohan books and advice we realize it was done poorly. Hoping to find an expert to correct the piping mistakes in the spring. Also hoping to get through this winter without any other heating issues.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,322
    First off -- no, clamping something around the pipe to stop a leak won't hurt the system at all. Better, in fact, than stop leak of some kind, in my opinion.

    However... if this is a supply pipe, you may have a real problem. As @KC_Jones notes, a leak in supply pipe (we would use the term steam main) is rare in the extreme -- and may indicate much more trouble to come. Sorry about that... When you have work done on the system this spring, I would suggest that you have all the pipes -- and especially fittings -- checked very carefully. I don't have any brilliant suggestions as to how to go about doing this, but one approach might simply be -- at the end of the season! -- to temporarily raise the pressure to about 5 psi to see if you can annoy the problems enough to show up.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    What size is the main? As noted above all these are temp repairs.I agree with KC and would try and find out the root of the problem.It does sound like you will be cutting out some pipe and replacing.Good luck and post some pics if possible.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,700
    Cut rotted section out, thread ends of main in place and put back together using a nipple and a union.

    IMO that's the proper way to repair it, but the emergency fix is fine to get you into the spring.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • rhw
    rhw Member Posts: 49
    2" main.
  • Bio
    Bio Member Posts: 278
    edited January 2016
    What ironman said is a good temporary solution
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    +1 for the blue monster tape. Just make sure the surface is clear of rust/paint
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,627
    Another +1 for the Blue Monster tape. That stuff'll seal a live steam leak from a rusty pinhole on old painted pipe! I keep a roll on hand for the odd emergency repair, so far it's pretty durable. Just a temp fix, but I expect to make it all the way through the season before I can repair the 4" main.
  • James D. Arch
    James D. Arch Member Posts: 19
    for pinhole leaks, for temporary repair, i agree with linking together hose clamps with 1/4 or thicker flexible sheet rubber , also i suggest a piece of flexible sheet metal to cover most of the rubber as to give even pressure across the patch so clamps don't dig in and cut the rubber.... this should last you through the winter or longer....