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Pinhole leak steam return - Epoxy Repair

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Hi all -  I’ve got a small leak coming from this joint in the dry return to the steam boiler.  I imagine an epoxy repair will do the trick but thought Id check on the wall for the expert advice I’ve always been given here.  

Ive got some JB Waterweld on hand which might do the trick but maybe something thats a little less of a stiff putty would do a better job getting into the joint?  Any specific suggestions or advice on technique?


thanks

Comments

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,655
    edited February 2022
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    I'm betting it has corroded through where it is thinner in the valley of a thread rather than in the joint itself. You can clean it up and shove some epoxy in there, getting clean metal to bond to is the most important part, but it is just a temporary repair once it has corroded inside to the point where it is leaking.

    A piece of rubber and a hose clamp also works.

    Note that the experts would replace it.
    ethicalpaulHap_Hazzardluketheplumber
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
    edited February 2022
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    thanks.  Dealing with threading iron is beyond the diy tools I’ve got.  If an epoxy repair saves me a year or two before calling my expert its worth it.  If its doomed to fail within a few months Im listening 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    That is a funny looking coupling. Look at the running thread on the lower pipe.

    That pipe and fittings are very old pre 1920, maybe pre 1900.

    Look at that malleable 45, it looks like CI but you can't break them
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    @trivetman

    Try the JB weld it will probably make it to the summer. If it's a wet return you could replace it with copper
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
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    Thanks EB. House is a 1912 build so you're spot on. A lot of the piping is probably still original.
    I'll try the JB Weld. If it doesn't work I've got a good steam guy who will come and fix it proper.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,627
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    I used some Blue Monster compression seal tape (https://cleanfit.com/blue-monster-compression-seal-tape.shtml) to fix a pinhole on a live 2" steam main before. Lasted a year & a half.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    I have used that tape also. Worked well even with 40+PSI hot water pressure.
    Expensive but was worth it for that instance.

    Ed.....could that coupling be a right-left in place of a union?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
    edited February 2022
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    @JUGHNE

    I thought of that but with a left...right you start both threads at the same time and both the left and right joints tighten up.

    . I don't know how a running thread could seal?

    But If you look closely you can see a diameter change. Wonder if it is a nut and a gasket?


    never seen a running thread except on electrical conduit or on an equipment support
    JUGHNE
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
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    what is this running thread?
    CLamb
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    trivetman said:

    Dealing with threading iron is beyond the diy tools I’ve got.  If an epoxy repair saves me a year or two before calling my expert its worth it.  If its doomed to fail within a few months Im listening 

    It isn't iron. It's mild steel—very easy to cut. You can get a ½"–1" pipe threader for less than $50. The epoxy might get you through heating season, but I wouldn't want to go into the next one without fixing it.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,627
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    The bottom threads of the coupling are too long for a tapered pipe thread, they're something else. It looks to me like some kind of repair coupling, one that can be slid in to the middle of a pipe run where the end can't be moved apart to put a union in, but I think you'll need the experience of an Old Guy to find out exactly what it is.

    IIWM, I'd post that pic on The Wall with a title like "can you identify this old pipe fitting" or something to that effect; but I'm not sure that would help with your leak.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,655
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    It almost looks like that is a coupler and a really thick, smooth jam nut tightened up against it. can you do some scraping/poking at that ridge in the fitting and see if it is all one piece?
    Larry Weingarten
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
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    Wow -  everyone sure is interested in that coupling!!  I’ll probably scrape the joint and epoxy this weekend and ill take some pics from other angles for you
  • Tom_133
    Tom_133 Member Posts: 884
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    That is a funny looking coupling. Look at the running thread on the lower pipe.

    That pipe and fittings are very old pre 1920, maybe pre 1900.

    Look at that malleable 45, it looks like CI but you can't break them

    Here in Vermont many of my customers would be talking warranty on those fittings! at least labor!
    We are a squeaky tight crew up in these parts!
    Tom
    Montpelier Vt
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 659
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    Just keep in mind that if you patch it, WHEN, not if but WHEN it fails again, it will fail when you're heating and it will be a big emergency to deal with it.

    Do a proper repair during the summer when it can be done right without any pressure to do it ASAP because its cold outside.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
    mattmia2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    Dosen't really matter when summer comes just cut it out and fix it. Just curious about the coupling, never seen one like that
    mattmia2
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
    edited February 2022
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    Heres another pic of the coupling.  It is definitely two pieces split at that seam.  The leak is coming from a pinhole on the surface, not from the joint like I thought. im going to smear some epoxy on it as a temp fix and call my piping guy on monday.  Whole surface is showing pits so the piece wont last
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,297
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    Hi, I'll throw out a guess about the coupling and nipple. I'm imagining that part of the coupling rotates at the joint and that the straight thread of the pipe nipple allows the nipple to be tightened down against a washer inside of the coupling, making it watertight. Just a guess. Here's something similar.

    We'll see :p

    Yours, Larry
    PC7060
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    We are awaiting the autospy report.

    Is there any money being wagered on what this is?
    mattmia2
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,297
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    Hi @JUGHNE , If the coin of this realm is education, than there's a lot being wagered! B)

    Yours, Larry
    JUGHNEPC7060mattmia2
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
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    Well itll probably be at least a week or two before it comes out but ill keep you all posted 
    Larry Weingarten
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,852
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    The real question is if there's one leak how many more are waiting to show up? You can epoxy, super glue, bubble gum all you want but if that joint is compromised time to find out how many more are?
    mattmia2
  • trivetman
    trivetman Member Posts: 178
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    Well…..cant fix them before I know they’re there!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    I would wait for warmer weather before I opened a can of worms or be prepared for worst case
    ethicalpaulratio