I just had an inspection for a hot water heater that we recently had installed, and while the installation passed, the inspector noted a leak at one of the copper joints in the hot water pipe. She thought the pipe might have been jostled as the plumbers were getting the water heater installed, causing the joint to loosen.

She then mentioned that using salt on the joint might cause it to reseal itself. I've searched all over, and can't find anything suggesting this might work. Has anyone ever heard of this before, and/or tried it?

PS: I've sent a message to the plumbing company that installed the water heater, so hopefully they'll come out and fix it for not too much money. Just curious about the salt fix.

  • 1
    I prefer mine with pepper.
    – JACK
    Jan 28, 2020 at 1:20
  • bad solder joint can be caused by moving the soldered parts while the solder is still liquid
    – jsotola
    Jan 28, 2020 at 2:29
  • This suggestion might be equivalent to using super glue on your tires to the pavement so someone cannot steal your car. It's certainly not a controlled way to create a seal, and there's no telling how it would corrode. Pretty much nonsense.
    – noybman
    Jan 28, 2020 at 2:43
  • No such thing ; hopefully the inspector didn't need to do anything important. Jan 28, 2020 at 2:48

2 Answers 2


It could reseal itself in the same way that rust could "seal" an iron pipe.

"Copper is one of the least resistant metals to salt-related corrosion." source

It is certainly not the most correct thing to do, but could it work? I suppose so. Copper radiators clogged from corrosion all the time.

What's the difference between a clog and a seal, after all?


What she probably meant was that, over time, a small leak might seal itself due to build-up of "salts" at the leak site. Minerals will precipitate out of the water as it evaporates and build up, salt might be a term used casually to describe the various minerals. I would not rely on this idea, the pipe needs proper repair.

  • This makes sense (sadly) - I once had a boiler contractor "zip tie" a paper towel to a pinhole leak on a brand new header (for a brand new boiler system install) stating it would seal itself. I was elated at their rationale and just as elated to let them know the replacement header would be delivered and installed soon right?? lol
    – noybman
    Jan 29, 2020 at 3:20

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