On one of my central heating pipes, the elbow joint has a tiny leak which I
would like to fix. I cleaned the paint of the surrounding areas and cleaned
it all well down to the copper but I cannot get solder to plug it. Tried
fluxing it well but to no avail.
As I heat the pipe I can see small amounts of water vaporising thru the
Just to mention that this whole system is in use now and that I have no way
of isolating just that area!
Of course it's not switched on when I am trying to solder.
How can I plug this leak please?
Any info appreciated!
You HAVE to empty the pipe of water to sloder successfully.
There are freeze sprays which will freeze the water in the pipe either
side, but still it takes a LOT of heat to evaporate the water inside.
You cannot really do what you are trying to do.
One possible boidge is to wrap the whole thing in PTFE tape, and then
bandage it up. Thuis will mostly stop it dripping.
If yu can dry the outside of the pipe enough, car body filler soaked
bandage wrapped around it will sometimes work if it is lowsih pressure.
The real answer is to drain the CH and do the job properly tho.
Also, you'll almost certainly have to take the joint right apart and
clean up the pipework (get a new elbow, don't bother trying to clean
the old one). It very likely didn't solder first time properly because
the pipework was not cleaned up well enough in the first place, and
you are very unlikely to be able to rectify that without disassembly
and cleaning again. You don't have to clean all the shiny solder off
the pipe ends, but where copper shows (the ring of solder will be
incomplete, hence the leak), you do have to clean that back to bright
shiny copper with steel wool.
In an earlier contribution to this discussion,
G-Force <G-Force.bat(NOSPAM)breathemail.net> wrote:
As others have said, you haven't got a cat in hell's chance of re-soldering
it with water in the pipe.
Many years ago, I fixed one or two small leaks in my heating system by using
something called Bars Leaks (or somesuch) which was marketed for fixing
radiator leaks in cars. It was brown crumbly stuff (a bit like gravy
granules) which you put in the header tank so that it got circulated round
the system. When it encountered a leak - and came into contact with air - it
reacted in some way in order to bung up the leak.
Don't know whether it's still available - but the cure was still going
strong when I sold the house about 8 years later.
Whilst it's advisable to take the joint apart, I have had success by
leaving it intact and smearing around the pipe just before the joint
with flux, when hot enough dab your solder in some flux and offer it up
to the joint. Of
course the system was drained first though!I would have thought there
isn't much wrong with this method until you want the solder to defy
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On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 12:44:40 -0000, "G-Force"
<G-Force.bat(NOSPAM)breathemail.net> wrote:>How can I plug this leak please?
As others have said, you'd have to remove the water from the pipe in
order to do this job.
However one other option you might have is to freeze the pipe both
sides of the joint, then replace the joint with a compression fitting
rather than solder. If it is a straight-thru fitting then you could
chop a bit of the length off the pipe and use a compression repair
fitting like this:
If it's an elbow or tee then you might have a bit more work to do to
replace it as you'd have to clean the pipe ends properly before adding
the compression olive - I'm not sure it would be a good idea to put
the olive over a previously soldered section (perhaps someone else
could comment on that? Doesn't sound like a brilliant idea to me).
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Hasn't anyone else used the two part epoxy putty that's sold for plumbing
repairs? It will stick to wet surfaces and is sufficiently stiff to cope with
small leaks at modest pressure. Depending on the geometry, you can always back
it up with a bit of thin sheet ally (coke can) and jubilee clips.
"G-Force" <G-Force.bat(NOSPAM)breathemail.net> wrote in
No chance without shutting down; assuming you don't want to do that, would
a bodge with a jubilee clip and rubber or pvc or summat hold it.
is a sort of tape fix, they also make internal sealers, yoou might want to
check them out
"The leak is now repaired, and in less than 10 minutes the
self-vulcanising tape will have formed a unique, durable seal that
will last until you have time to make a more permanent repair."
So you can't escape from the inevitable.... just postpone it!
You have to remove all the water from the pipe.
If you don't want to drain down, you may be able to freeze the pipe, cut out the
join and add in a new piece and joins.
On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 12:44:40 -0000, "G-Force"
"G-Force" <G-Force.bat(NOSPAM)breathemail.net> wrote in message
Er no.... you cannot solder with water in the pipe, either drain it
down, or use a freeze kit and isolate a section.
If you don't want to do this, if the hole is small then a leak sealer poured
into the system may do the job ... I had a pinhole in the middle of a rad,
it fixed this and the system run for 10 years with no further leak.
What you MUST do if you want to do this is (assuming you have a header tank)
turn off the supply to the header tank ball valve. (turn off boiler first)
Drain off at least twice the contents of the header tank - via a downstairs
drain cock on one of the rad feeds.
Empty in a bottle of leak sealer (Fernox LS-1 for example)
Then turn the water back on and this will allow the sealer to mix in the
Remember to bleed the rads afterwards - as this will probably induce some
If you have a sealed system you will have to depressurise, drain off a
bucket full or so of water, use add the sealer ... how depends on system,
you may have to rig up an injector to squirt it in.
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