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Someone (cough cough) screwed through a water pipe under the floor boards in my mother's house. It's a 22mm copper pipe that I'm pretty certain is running hot water from the combi boiler.

I removed the screw and replaced it with a shorter and slightly thicker screw to plug the hole. The screw itself did a pretty good job of stopping the flow of water (to something like a few drips a minute). The pipe runs parallel to the floor boards but has a 90 degree turn a short distance after where the screw went in to the pipe, which means pulling the pipe up and getting a pipe cutter in to replace a section of the pipe would be a massive pain and involve me pulling up at ton of floor boards, which I really don't fancy doing.

So, I got some epoxy "Quick Leak Repair Putty", specifically this stuff:

enter image description here

I put two layers of this stuff over the screw and it seems to hold perfectly, no issue with water pressure and no drips or movement in the putty.

Here's a picture of the pipe with the putty:

enter image description here

It's been there for a week or so now (with some heavy use of the heating... it's cold) and it seems pretty solid to me. I spoke to a few people though and a plumber friend said in no uncertain words "Never, ever use that"... which seems to be the general consensus. I'd rather not rip up half the floor and I'd rather not pay through the nose for someone to essentially cut out a piece of pipe though.

So my question; How temporary or not is this fix?

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    How long is permanent? I wouldn't want that fix in my house, it will fail someday (at the worst possible time). – Tyson Dec 27 '16 at 15:08
  • Well I guess that's basically my question, I haven't got it in front of me now but the packaging implies it can be used as a permanent fix, but I don't exactly trust that... it seems fine now but is it reasonable to leave it for a few weeks? A few months? A year? – Cai Dec 27 '16 at 15:34
  • If you don't want to pay someone to sweat in a new piece of pipe you could try this type of product: permawrap.com/t/Howtouse – Jim Stewart Dec 27 '16 at 18:27
  • You could use a Sharkbite coupling. You would have to cut out and then replace part of the floorboard to the right in the picture. did-it-myself.com/fix-a-pinhole-leak-with-sharkbite – Jim Stewart Dec 27 '16 at 18:35
  • I am not dead-set against it, but I'd say it's all about the prep and using top ingredients. I am very reluctant to trust these "prepackaged magic solutions to hard problems in a blister-pack for $7.99" deals. For instance I would consider using West System epoxy with several wraps of fiberglass mat Although I know how to solder, so I'd just do that lol. – Harper Dec 27 '16 at 20:27
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I would not trust it, especially in a concealed area where a leak could go unnoticed for quite some time.

You may be able to repair this yourself, if you know how to solder.

Supplies

  • Tool to cut the pipe (Oscillating saw should work).
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Torch (MAPP gas preferably).
  • Steel wool or sandpaper.
  • Heat shield (preferably non-asbestos)
  • Appropriately sized coupling without a stop.

Procedure

  1. Use an oscillating saw (or any other means) to cut the pipe near where the damage occurred (preferably right where the damage occurred).
  2. Use the steel wool/sandpaper to clean/mar the pipe on both sides of the cut.
  3. Lift one side of the pipe, and slide the coupling all the way on.
  4. Realign the pipes, and slide the coupling so that the cut in the pipe is near the middle of the coupling.
  5. Solder the coupling in place (careful not to start a fire).

NOTES:

  • How well this repair holds up, is dependent on your soldering skills. If you can't solder well, you may want to get help.
  • You might consider installing metal protector plates over the pipes, to prevent further mishaps.
  • It's asking a lot for a person who is not experienced in sweating joints to make a sweat repair in this situation. I cannot tell how close the pipe is to the floor joists but from what I can see there would be a significant chance of starting a fire. I assume we are looking down on the floorboards. What is the purpose of that screw with a Phillips head at about 4 o'clock on the red circle? Unless it is very short it looks like it goes in-between the two pipes and could have damaged one. – Jim Stewart Dec 27 '16 at 18:11
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    @JimStewart The heat shield mentioned in the supplies section of the answer should help prevent fires. I also mentioned a couple times within the answer that soldering skills are required for this repair. – Tester101 Dec 27 '16 at 18:15
  • I agree with tester, the one difference I might suggest is with the water drained using silver solder to seal the screw to the pipe may be a good solution. I haven't done much plumbing with sharkbites but have used them and that might work well as other answers also suggest. But being an old school I prefer solder.+ – Ed Beal Nov 1 '18 at 3:17
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It appears that this is 1/2" (or equivalent metric) copper water pipe. In the US they make a 1/2" to 1/2" Push on fitting. This requires only that you cleanly cut the pipe. I prefer to use a rotary pipe cutter (the kind with the adjustable jaw and 3 cutting wheels).

Cut the damaged section of pipe out, and using 2 couplings and a length of pipe OR use on coupling and only remove approximatey 1/2" of length of the pipe. Clean with steel wool, and press on the fitting as per the instructions provided.

I've use these push fittings several times over the last 2 years with no failures yet. This solution will require the least experience and the least number (and cost) of tools.

Small bonus:It also avoids burning you mother's house down!

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Because you can't get a cutter in there you may want to try a hacksaw with very fine teeth for cutting metal. I'd be concerned with deforming the pipe, and I'd go nice and slow with it.

After cutting the pipe clean up the ends that I'm sure will be jagged after the hacksaw and then find something like this:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBite-1-2-in-Brass-Push-to-Connect-Slip-Coupling-U3008LFA/202270515

I'm not an expert, but this situation is almost exactly what this product is made for.

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