Non-trailer plumbing problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 06-03-2014, 08:37 PM   #1
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Non-trailer plumbing problem

I didn't do a very thorough job of draining water lines when I left. First split was in a dead-end copper pipe and I was able to cut that shorter and cap it with a compression fitting (very cool device.) Second was in a thread from a faucet, which broke off when I tried to turn it, so now I own a new faucet and a nipple extractor. Third is in what I think is the cold water pipe going to the sink.

But here is where it gets weird- it only leaks when I open the faucet. When the water to the system is on, but the cold tap is off, no leak. (And "leak" is an understatement- it sprays out with the tap on.

I don't get why it isn't leaking all the time. It's a big open split. I think I can get another magic compression repair thingy to fix it, so that isn't the issue, but why isn't it just on?

This cabin is slated to be demolished within the next six months but it seems to want to self-destruct ahead of schedule.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
But here is where it gets weird- it only leaks when I open the faucet. When the water to the system is on, but the cold tap is off, no leak. (And "leak" is an understatement- it sprays out with the tap on.

I don't get why it isn't leaking all the time. It's a big open split. I think I can get another magic compression repair thingy to fix it, so that isn't the issue, but why isn't it just on?
Sounds like the split is after the shutoff valve.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:05 AM   #3
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Nothing is shut off except the going to hot water heater valve.

Plot thickens, though- this morning, the split does not spray out water when I turn on the cold water. No leak at all (split is still there.) I wonder if the fact that the hot water tank is now empty had anything to do with it? Maybe it is the hot water line (but if so, why did it only leak when I turned on the cold water?)
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:18 AM   #4
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You could have an infestion of elves or sprites. Good news is they will probably leave when the cabin is torn down.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:31 AM   #5
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Just so they don't follow me to the new house! I had them in the house I'm selling, too, things like the dishwasher giving out (after fifty years) just as I was preparing to sell (can't be replaced without a chunk of counter removed.) (Dishwasher actually still runs fine- the metal tank rusted through so it leaks- it is a Hobart Kitchenaid and was made to outlast its own tank.)
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Old 06-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #6
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Did three repairs- three new leaks appeared. Did a little reading and came across the info that copper pipe can freeze five or six times before it starts splitting. This has no doubt frozen at least that often. So does it seem likely it is just fatigued beyond repair? Patches are easy enough as I've been using Sharkbite fittings which are a piece of cake, but not cheap, so I'm going to stop if it is likely new splits will appear.

I tried feeling over the line to see if there were any more before the last patch but didn't find them- as soon as the water reached the level of the split, though- after filling the hot water tank- water was spraying out again.

One option would be a rubber/pipe clamp temporary repair to try to look for other weak spots before spending any more money.

Any ideas? The cabin is coming down soon enough that a complete replumb job is not an option.
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:23 PM   #7
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Is the copper line accessible.. Might be just as easy to run one long run of pex with your shark bite fittings
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Old 06-05-2014, 12:58 PM   #8
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It's accessible but there are a lot of joints and corners- it isn't a straight run. The water comes in as Pex, then is joined to copper. That splits to hot (into the tank) and cold. Then the hot comes back out of the tank and splits to the capped off line and the line that goes to the sink. (That could be eliminated and just go Pex from the top of the heater to the sink pipe.) The cold seems to be fine (now that I fixed the second break.) The splits are appearing near (1-2 inches) annealed joints but not in them.

So far the breaks have been in the capped off line (from water heater out), in the water heater out (before it splits to capped line and sink), in the water heater line to the sink, and then in the shower connection (the only one not in a copper pipe.)

I'll have to go look and see what I could do with the least amount of plumbing.

Btw- these sharkbite connectors are great- they are easy and work with copper pipe or Pex or to join one to the other.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:24 PM   #9
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I think I could cut before the break labeled 4, add a joint and rejoin the pex to hot water side of shower, and run Pex to where it goes to the sink, and hope for the best. I'll have to price stuff and see if that's reasonable to do. I can reuse the connectors I used on break 3 so only need a few feet of Pex plus a T joint sharkbite, and whatever I can cut Pex with. Not sure what I have to buy to get that.
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Old 06-05-2014, 01:26 PM   #10
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This is a fairly primitive cabin- the bathroom area was added on later and so the plumbing is all exposed, there is just a single board-width wall between kitchen and shower. Luckily plumbing to the toilet splits off earlier and is fine.
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