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Plumbing problem on Christmas
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Bkeepr    Posted 12-25-2004 at 10:24:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Seems I never come up with easy ones, I'd appreciate ideas.

Discovered (the water leaking through the 1st floor ceiling was a dead giveaway!) that one pvc pipe was not cemented into an elbow fitting underneath the shower on the second floor. Work was done at least a decade ago under previous owner, so I can't call anybody back to fix it.

Reason I say it wasn't cemented is that all the other joints have purple sealant traces around the fittings except for this one, and it is leaking. It is part of the drain from the shower.

Can't get to the fitting well, can just slide my hand in to touch it with a couple of fingers. It was apparently supposed to be a permanent installation without access. It'd be ok if they had glued it up!

I'm trying to figure out how to get it glued/sealed in place, because the alternative appears to be taking the entire shower enclosure out. The bit plastic nut that holds the down pipe in place to the shower is glued in place, so I can't lift it out from above.

The fitting is in the drain. There's a 6"-8" straight pipe coming down from the shower drain to an elbow. The bottom end of the pipe, where it enters the elbow is the one that isn't glued. I'm guessing maybe it has just worked loose over the years, but now is leaking pretty seriously. The shower isn't usable.

Any ideas how to glue it up or seal it? I'm thinking maybe I can drain the water out of the elbow, dry it, and then run some pvc cement around the inside with a long stick with a little sponge on the end. Doesn't seem like a good way, but is the only way I can think of.

Ideas? Suggestions?

Tom A

oslo in nc    Posted 12-26-2004 at 15:53:50       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Bkeeper; I think Alias is right on. Remember this drain has not been sealed for years so something made it leak. Must be a clog in your drain below the joint in question. A drain cleaner might work or if you have an air tank, wrap the hose with a wet rag and stuff it in the shower drain. Put a small amount of hot water down the drain to make a better seal then shoot the air to it. You might try using a commode plunger also. A snake could also work, although I don't like em. Also, to start you might pour very hot water down the drain. Use just a little water so that you don't get your water leak back. hth Sometimes patience works as well as a persuader.

Bill WI    Posted 12-26-2004 at 08:49:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Make sure you use cleaner or acetone before the PVC cement and you clean again with acetone and then get epoxy around for good measure. I think too, that it worked all the while you may have a clog at the beginning of your trouble. Just keep in mind the less you demolish the less you have to construct. lol Bill

Tom 8N396936    Posted 12-25-2004 at 18:45:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
Try eihter airplane glue or Super Glue on a very dry joint. Should work ok on PVC if'n you can get at it.
Good luck seems like this stuff always happens at the worst times :>)

SHeiserman    Posted 12-25-2004 at 17:52:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'd agree with the individual who advised you to cut an access hole in the ceiling. By your description, sounds like there isn't a trap on this drain. Ever get sewer gas? I know plumbing codes vary, but I'm familiar with one that requires each fixture to have it's own vented trap. The trap should be directly under the shower. A shower should have a 2" i.d. drain. I think you'll be time and money ahead cutting an access hole. If you haven't had trouble with sewer gas, then the trap is your call. Be careful, I can see a full blown remodel stemming from this.

Bob    Posted 12-25-2004 at 13:15:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
Have you considered rubber plumbing repair couplings with stainless steel hose clamps?

You may be able to cut out a small section of pipe, and find one that will stretch over your fitting, and clamp on the other side to the pipe.

With this system, you don't have to worry about getting glue to an inaccessable spot, or contend with trying to get the glue to stick with mineral deposits on the pipe.

Here's SOME examples of what's available:

TB    Posted 12-25-2004 at 13:04:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
I know this may sound off the wall. But in a pinch for several pipe repairs I have used that epoxie puddy. cleen the serface good and workt around the seem. but if it doesn't work you will be tearing apart more than that fitting.

Alias    Posted 12-25-2004 at 12:42:10       [Reply]  [No Email]
Bkeeper, if I understand the problem, the leaking, uncemented joint is above the elbow. now, since the line is gravity drained, and water will not run up hill, your problem is that the pipe is clogged at the elbow or below. remove the clog and remove the problem. It's leaking at that particular joint because the water is backed-up to a point above the joint.

Now, it is not necessary to cement every outfall end of a discharge pipe connection. some times they are purposely uncemeted to allow for contraction and expansion. So, before you start tearing out ceiling sections, try a bottle of liquid plumber. And, If that doesn't work, start ripping and demolishing.

Good luck and Merry Christmas.......gfp

Al /Mi    Posted 12-25-2004 at 11:01:53       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it is leaking thru the ceiling of the first floor . The ceiling must be ruined already
so why can't you cut a hole there and fix it through that hole .
The purple stuff is not a glue it's just a cleaner ,you put on first then you glue it .
Once those joints are glued and in place
it is almost impossible to save them .
I would cut out the bad stuff if you can get at it and replace it using the right cleaner and glue .
You can cut that pvc with a string by pulling it back and forth you know .

Another thought is if you CAN bang them apart they make a neoprene connector that is like the size of your pipe to the size of the elbow .
Good luck

Jet9N    Posted 12-25-2004 at 11:24:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Al/Mi has the right idea, but if you can't get it
apart perhaps you can saw it off and if there is
enough room you can get the rubber coupling on by
pushing the cut apart to give you the gap you need.



Willy-N    Posted 12-25-2004 at 10:58:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just a thought but you could use a spray foam insulation none exspanding type to coat the fitting with. They have a plastic tube and you might be able to get the tube (extend it if you have to)near the fitting on the outside and coat it to stop the leak since it is not under pressure. Unless the PVC is real clean and no sign of water I don't think the glue inside the pipe will work good. You would have to probley fill the pipe with glue let it sit a little bit then flush out the excess. You could allways remove the spray foam insulation when you do a perminent repair at a later date if a leak happens again. Mark H.

deadcarp    Posted 12-25-2004 at 10:53:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
besides being buried, you're faced with a couple more worries - first off, if it's been leaking awhile, is there any minreral build up between the bonding surfaces of the fitting? secondly, how do you apply a vacuum action (or something)that would draw the cement into that gap? if it's atall possible, since it's under
zero presure, i'd wrap rubber tape or sheet around the leak, and stainless clamp the heck out it. my next option would be that spray stuff that's suppposed to seal garden hoses.

garden hose fix???    Posted 12-25-2004 at 11:05:06       [Reply]  [No Email]
I'm not familiar with that spray stuff...what's it called or look like?

You're absolutely right about the mineral build-up, it is definitely visible on the outside of the fitting. I was hoping to push the fitting open with hand pressure--might get a quarter inch of play--apply the cement, and then push it back together again for the cement to set.


deadcarp    Posted 12-25-2004 at 11:33:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
i have cheated goop into a crack that way - screwed a test plug on one end then a helper used a plunger to work the suction - the puddle sunk in and it held so i'm done :)

that spray stuff was on tv - suppose it's in the chain stores now. .

Peanut    Posted 12-25-2004 at 10:41:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Tom, I assume you are accessing it from the first floor. The best I can offer is to remove the wet drywall ceiling and keep cutting until you have reasonably decent access. (Drywall is easier to replace, mud, prime, and paint.)

Your idea of repairing with PVC cement using a brush is a good one as long as you can coat the inside of the fittings real well. The limited access may be a problem unless you can reach all the way in there with your hands. You may want to consider using a metal coat hanger to attach to the brush. This way you can bend the hanger in the direction that works best for you.

No matter what though, the PVC cement is the only way I know of to permanently seal that darn plastic.

Good luck and sorry to hear about your Christmas plumbing woes.

plaster and lathe!    Posted 12-25-2004 at 11:00:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
No drywall here. I'm actually accessing through a small access panel that gives access to the incoming water lines, which i can reach ok. The drain goes in the other direction, I can just stretch under the shower from the side to get to it.

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