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Water Heater Nipple Still Weeping - New Ideas?

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HandyFS
HandyFS Member Posts: 108
edited March 1 in Domestic Hot Water
So I tried pretty much everything to get this nipple to stop weeping without success. (Link to other thread)

I now know why I wasn't successful. It was because this leak was coming from both lower down on the threads, and below the threads. So while my other thread was all about getting the threads themselves to seal, it seems the issue was beyond just that.

Thanks to all for the feedback, guesses, and info, all very helpful while I was trying to figure this out. I ended up getting a corrugated stainless hose and reworked the supply line to adapt...and...the darn thing still leaked! Thinking this leak must be something beyond the threads, I mated on a 3/4 brass pex adapter which had a shallower depth so more threads were exposed. Lo and beyond, the darn thing is leaking from the nipple itself, both slightly in the thread, and just below them. The weep of water is small, but just enough when under full pressure to be a problem.

The 2 red spots are where I'm guessing it is leaking.

Ideas for new issue that isn't threads
Since the spot where it seems to be leaking is lower down on the thread, and below the thread, I was thinking of trying to use something to attempt to stop the leak. Some type of gasket paste, like Form-A-Gasket or something water-potable safe. Or rubber Gasket material wrapped around and a hose clamp around? Silicone Self-Sealing Tape? JB Weld? Silicone and wrap with teflon? Anything out there that can hold back the 60PSI of water on these weepers? The issue seems low enough down that I could probably get a coupling or fitting directly to the nipple, then repair these underneath where they are fully exposed and accessible to apply something on top.

The goal here is to get this to hold out and work for another year or so until I replace the mechanicals in the house.

Am I out of luck on this one with stainless nipples welded into the tank? I'll be attempting a few things I mentioned above to see if luck is on my side, but if anyone has some experience and tips I am all ears.

I appreciate you all!




Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,304
    edited March 1
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    Hi, I'd pull the dip tube and have a look from the inside of the nipple to see what sort of damage is visible. Do take photos! You can use a piece of rubber and a hose clamp to "fix" the lower hole. The leak through the threads might need a bit more creativity, like epoxy to fill the threads and then pressure applied from outside, like more rubber and a hose clamp, to hold it in place against the water pressure... as you were thinking. ;)

    Yours, Larry
    ps, Do you have acidic or salty water?
    HandyFS
  • HandyFS
    HandyFS Member Posts: 108
    edited March 1
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    Hi, I'd pull the dip tube and have a look from the inside of the nipple to see what sort of damage is visible. Do take photos! You can use a piece of rubber and a hose clamp to "fix" the lower hole. The leak through the threads might need a bit more creativity, like epoxy to fill the threads and then pressure applied from outside, like more rubber and a hose clamp, to hold it in place against the water pressure... as you were thinking. ;)

    Yours, Larry
    ps, Do you have acidic or salty water?

    Thanks Larry,
    Glad to hear someone else thinks there is at least a chance of giving it a last ditch effort. From looking down, its hard to say if there is the slightest line/fracture on the inner side. Definitely not a pinhole, and it it feels smooth. I didn't have a flashlight so I couldn't get a picture, but if I get back over there before I attempt fixing I'll give it a try.

    Think epoxy would hold on its own once dried? I was thinking maybe using a little JBWeld or something else, then once dry I could use any old coupling and thread it on and re-tap that small area IF the new connector I am threading on needs to reach that far down. Or another idea was to cake on some silicone then put on a deep coupling so it fully covers nearly the entire thread so I know its covered. Naturally this fitting may need to come off in the future, so I wouldn't JBWeld a fitting on, just get a littler material on the thread to cover/seal the hole, then the idea of rethreading it slight if necessary with the coupling. Or, cake on silicone which I know can be moved, and get the coupling covering over the problem.

    I guess I may start with some rubber/gasket material, clamps, then silicone and see where I'm at. Then move onto epoxy or a JBWeld type product as last resort.

    Come to think of it, the last HVAC guy who put on the old dielectric coupling got it to stop leaking with teflon tape alone, or at least I think it stopped. I didn't have the system under pressure the entire time though, so it could have been present and i just didn't realize it. Or, the teflon tape alone was enough.

    Any more ideas, feedback, or wishes of luck are appreciated.

    I guess you all know what I will be doing this weekend...
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,304
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    Hi, I wouldn't trust any epoxy to hold against water pressure, but here's an idea: Use a 3/4" tap to enlarge one side of a coupling or one of these.. Then, with some luck the coupling will cover the leak in the threads. If it can cover, I'd just use a lot of teflon tape under the coupling. Then the lower leak can go with rubber and clamp. :p

    Yours, Larry
    HandyFSSuperTechMikeAmannmattmia2
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,544
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    Have you tried to rough up the threads and use hemp unstead of teflon tape ? Works great on Stubborn leaks !
    HandyFS
  • HandyFS
    HandyFS Member Posts: 108
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    Have you tried to rough up the threads and use hemp unstead of teflon tape ? Works great on Stubborn leaks !

    I tried spool wick, lamp wick, different pipe dopes, different telfon tape, didn't have hemp available. This thing is a bear. However, I later noticed the leaks were happening much further down the nipple so most of those attempts don't apply. One of these weepers is just below the thread, along with one lower down on the threads, so double trouble to figure out and possibly need to address them separately with more than 1 method.
  • HandyFS
    HandyFS Member Posts: 108
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    Hi, I wouldn't trust any epoxy to hold against water pressure, but here's an idea: Use a 3/4" tap to enlarge one side of a coupling or one of these.. Then, with some luck the coupling will cover the leak in the threads. If it can cover, I'd just use a lot of teflon tape under the coupling. Then the lower leak can go with rubber and clamp. :p

    Yours, Larry

    Good idea. I'm going to find a coupling or two, and hope one goes deep enough to help. Would you recommend a stainless coupling, or brass, or either? I know stainless can be brittle, where brass is more malleable so just thinking out loud here.
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,166
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    I would try a coupling similar to what @Larry Weingarten mentioned. I would use a brass coupling. I would use Teflon tape and Leak Lock or Loctite and screw it down far enough to cover the areas with the holes. I don't use flex connectors, my preference is type L copper but I doubt the use of flex connectors is related to your problem. 
    HandyFSHomerJSmith
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,706
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    When in doubt, bust the X-pando out.  :)



    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,706
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    I decided to do a test.

    I mixed up some X-pando and made these two joints.  I'll see if I can get them back apart at one point next week.




    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
    HandyFS
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    If that nipple is really truly leaking through the wall of the pipe at either of those two points...

    Bad news. It's done. No waving of magic wands nor yet magic putties or tapes or fittings whatever is going to be a reliable permanent fix. If you can't get it out of the tank and replace it -- time for a new tank.

    That said, let's really verify. Using good dope and maybe some tape, screw an NPT cap onto the top of the fitting. Torque as though you were making up any other threaded fitting. Now pressurize the tank with water. There will be three possibilities. First, no leakage will be apparent. Second, you get weeping around the bottom of your cap. It's not sealed properly -- try again. Third, you get water coming out of one of both of problem locations. Verify that that is where the water is coming from, and not seeping along the pipe or threads from somewhere else,

    If it's the first case -- realign all the piping correctly and try retightening the union. I must admit that the plastic appears pretty badly chewed up, so that may not work. If it's he second case -- as I say, try again. If it's the third case. New tank.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    HandyFS
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,441
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    I would really be surprised if that nipple is welded to the tank. It is screwed into the tank. Put a 3/4" bolt in the nipple after you pull the blue dielectric out of the nipple. The get a 24" pipe wrench and counter clock wise the nipple out and replace it with a new dielectric nipple. The seal in a corrugated tubing cold water connection is a rubber seal in the nut resting against the top of the nipple not the threads. If using a female adapter, the threads do the sealing.
    HandyFS
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    It looks like a tank in tank type indirect, if so the nipple is welded.

    Time to break out the TIG welder
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    HandyFS
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 975
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  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 659
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    Before you break out the wrenches, you might take a look at the attached file from Loctite on porosity sealing.

    Loctite's #290 wicking grade of thread locker and sealant, while not mentioned in this file, is also recommended for porosity sealing in castings, weldments, etc.

    When using these Loctite products, I like to give the area a spray of acetone first. The acetone acts as both a cleaner and a primer and decreases the cure time.
    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.
    Larry WeingartenMikeAmannHandyFSPC7060
  • Panheadsforever
    Panheadsforever Member Posts: 21
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    Sounds like its junk
    HandyFS
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 659
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    Nope. Works for me every time I've used it.
    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.
    HandyFSPC7060
  • HandyFS
    HandyFS Member Posts: 108
    edited March 4
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    If it's the first case -- realign all the piping correctly and try retightening the union. I must admit that the plastic appears pretty badly chewed up, so that may not work. If it's he second case -- as I say, try again. If it's the third case. New tank.

    I've pretty much walked a few different tries with a few different fittings, tapes, dopes, etc, its leaking through the nipple in a small spot. So I'm trying to figure out if there is a last ditch way to get a little extra lift out of it before all the mechanicals get replaced in the sooner than later future.
    pedmec said:
    THIS is exactly what I was hoping existed. I was coming here to update this thread and ask everyone their thoughts about cutting off the threads on the nipple and at the top part where its weeping and to see if there was any type of connector I could mate on. I've used couplings on IPS before, but those were iron pipe in very different situations than this.

    My first thought was to use a long compression couplings, but most of the couplings I see are IPS, Not Copper/Stainless and I know the outer diameter of IPS is different than Copper/Stainless. So using that coupling you suggested, would I get away with using that, or will the OD of the IPS end simply not mate enough to be leak free?

    I had found this one and thought it might be worth a shot IF it can successfully mate to the stainless on the copper end (CTS) of this connector. I could easily do some transitioning from the IPS side to mate onto the supply side of things. Could this couplings possibly work if I cut the threads?
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/EASTMAN-3-4-in-x-1-in-x-5-in-Long-Pattern-Brass-Compression-Coupling-20545LF/205858356

    Or something like this, but uncertain if this would work since its technically stainless, and not copper as suggested:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Tectite-3-4-in-IPS-x-3-4-in-CTS-Brass-Push-to-Connect-Conversion-Coupling-FSBIPSC34/301492411

    Here is a photo of the small crack from the inside of the nipple. It is smooth to the touch, but I'm almost certain this is the culprit. I could in theory cut it off and have about 1" left on the nipple stub to adapt a coupling onto it.

    Last Inning Ideas:
    I'm down to the wire on tries. I tried a variety of tapes, dopes, couplings. I even bought gasket material and wrapped it around with clamps and it didn't hold, but I think I need an actual Fernco IF that is going to work. I may pick up a 3/4" Fernco and give it a go before I get cutting. Yes, I'm also starting to price out new indirect water heaters, but I'm not going the new route until I try a few more things.

    -Some type of compression fitting that will connect to the 3/4 Stainless nipple? All seem to be IPS other than that 1 I listed above that goes 1" IPS to 3/4" Copper, which might possible work?
    -A Fernco, but I highly doubt this will properly grasp the problem with the threads on and a coupling.
    -Some type of push to connect fitting if I cut the threads off
    -Cut the nipple and solder something on? I've never soldered Stainless before, but plenty of copper
    -Something else your experience says is worth a try?

    Keep the great ideas coming! You are all appreciated.


  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 975
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    what i sent you can be transitioned to copper by using an adapter. i don't like that long coupling as there is no internal ring to grab the pipe to prevent it from eventually sliding off the pipe.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,669
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    You could take a coupler and a tap and tap the coupler so it will thread on over the leaking part and use the expando or epoxy or rtv to seal it and another nipple to the coupler.

    or you could use a dresser coupling.
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    edited March 4
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    Do you have a technical school anywhere near you that has a plumbing department?
    If so, then do as Larry suggested above.

    Have the female end threaded deeper (wider), and cut off 3 threads from the WH nipple.
    What you are trying to achieve is to cover all of the nipple threads.

    If there is still a pinhole leak in the unthreaded portion, then use yerbasic hose clamp and a small piece of rubber.
    Larry Weingarten
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 7,852
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    Water Heater Nipple Still Weeping - New Ideas?

    Have you thought of calling a plumbing therapist? Sometimes when fittings are constantly weeping it is a result of depression. Overwhelming depression can be treated with Chemical Compounds available at pharmacists and supply houses. Often with a prescription compound, there are side effects like weight loss, dry mouth, diarrhea, drowsyness, dizzyness, constipation, and thoughts of suicide. Check with your plumber before stopping antidepressants.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    MikeAmannGGross
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,158
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    We use Loctite 545 at the factory for all the straight threads we assemble. No hemp, thread, just Loctite.
    It's basically a super glue for hydraulic and pneumatic fittings. Most ball valves are assembled with Loctite where the ball goes into the body. Although laser welding is being used more and more to assemble brass valves.

    Loctite is anaerobic, hardens in the absence of air, so it can be pressure tested within minutes.

    Everything needs to be dry and clean, Acetone type clean, no oil or pipe dope residue.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    mattmia2PC7060
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,304
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    Hi @HandyFS , This idea is a little out there, but have you ever soldered stainless? I've done it with a LACO stainless steel flux. Here's a photo of my old bottle of the stuff.
    You could try it from the outside an then run a die to clean the threads. It's tricky and iffy all rolled uo into one :p I think the idea of covering the upper leak that's in the threads with a fitting is a stronger approach for that hole. Then solder or clamp the lower leak.

    Yours, Larry