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Question DetailsAsked on 1/4/2014

how much does it cost to repair a pin hole leak in a water pipe?

I have a pin hole leak in my hot water line. Even after shutting off the water and opening all the faucets, there was still a little water in the pipe. The contractors were trying to fix the 1 pin hole leak for about 2 hours. Should I be charged for the cost of a simple repair or should I be charged for the labor of 2 guys for 2 hours? What is the $ range? I live on long island.

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer
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I see this an AWFUL lot - where there is a little water running down slowly from horizontal pipe runs - on cold water lines there is usually a hose bib or drain valve low down they can open, so water in the line is usually only a problem if you are very low in the system, usually near the incoming line shutoff valve and with no drain points between you and the shutoff vavle, which might be leaking.

Hot water systems, for some reason the plumbers fight it and fight it, rather than saying - OK - the water is not going to stop, and either using a piece of bread to block it off while soldering, blowing it out with compressed air, or draining down the hot water lines at the hot water heater drain. A lot of plumbers also seem to forget that hot and cold are joined at tempering valves for toilets and commonly bleed back a bit when older, and sometimes single handle faucets crossfeed due to worn seals, so you have to drain both hot and cold water lines to get the lines dry.

2 guys for a pinhole sounds like overkill right off - usually plumbers travel alone for this type job, unless maybe they were coming from a hot water heater or furnace install where 2 men were needed - still, they should not charge you for 2 men if 2 were not needed, and unless access was terrible, it should not have taken more than about 15-30 minutes - cut out the bad section (typically you take out a foot at least, or better yet to next connection each way if accessible) and put in new piece of pipe and couplings.

Even if they could not get the water to stop flowing for some reason, they could have put in compression unions to do the repair (require no soldering) or sharkbites (press-on type) and been out of there for the same labor, $10-20 additional materials cost.

You did not say what they charged you, but it probably should not have been more than standard trip charge plus materials, which are probably listed on your invoice.

This type of job would typically, unless they were chasing corroded pipe from joint to joint for a ways, cost about $75-150 - up to $250-300 in exceedingly high cost cities like NYC and Boston and Chicago - from standard cost guides, in your area probably about $125-175 plus $10-40 for parts and solder.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

1
Vote

This may sound like a simple repair but if it is a copper pipe it may not be. I hope they are not just trying to close the pin hole with solder. Not being there and seeing the pipe it sounds like a copper pipe that has out lasted its usefull life. It might have been a bad run of pipe that is failing on the seam and just patching a small area is just insuring repeat business. If they are working on an iron pipe it is a different story and patching is not an option. If it is copper it is far easier to cut out the section and insert a new pipe using repair couplings and should not take more tan an hour or two if the pipe is easily accessable. If you shut off is bad and the water keeps flowing into the pipe it is impossible to solder. If it is just a low spot in the pipe cutting out the section should drain it and if not they can take a piece of white bread and stuff it in the pipe to give them time to solder before the water disolves the bread. With out being there it is hard to really answer your question as to why it is taking so long. I am curious as to if they are plumbers or handy men though since it seems like a long time unless it is in a hard spot to get at.


Don

Answered 5 years ago by ContractorDon

0
Votes

It is a regular, run of the mill, copper water pipe. Probably about 20-30 years old. The reason why it took the contractors 2 hours is because there as water in the line (albiet a very small trickle) and you can't sodder when there is water in the line. After a few attempts (one was a regular coupling attempt, another was an attempt to install a shut off valve where they cut the pipe) they eventually used something else which worked. The contactors were highly rated from angies list. They were very professional and clean. Glad to see that they didn't give up. Also, the pipe was very easily accessable...on the unfinished side of my basement. Plenty of light and room to work.

Answered 5 years ago by crowleysm

0
Votes

Sounds like they probably ended up using a sharkbite or compression fitting - which are not quite as long lasting as a soldered joint, but OK for most uses - particularly where exposed so visible if it starts to leak.

(Compression fittings work by compressing a thin metal or plastic ring around the outside of the pipe between the fitting and a screw on nut - like is used on plastic pipe under sinks - many faucet shutoff valves use these, and while I do not like ti for concealed areas, they survive quite well.

Sharkbites ( and probably other brandnames) are a push-on fitting with sharp metal tabs inside that "bite" into the pipe to hold the fitting on,, and have a rubber seal inside to rpovide the watertight fitting - work GREAT as an emergency fix (particularly in seriously sub-zero conditions) but most plumbers do not like to leave them in permanently - they rubber seal ages and leaks, and they are not as rugged as other fittings so wiggling the pipe and freeze-thaw and thermal expansion can loosen them up enough to leak.

A note to readers - if a plumber uses a piece of white bread to act as a dam to stop a slight trickle of water so he can solder a joint, make sure to run water through that line full force for at least a couple of minutes afterward. Do NOT use this method and just let it sit afterwards - the bread will cause corrosion in copper piping quite quickly, creating a leak at the bread, so be sure to flush it out right after the repair. Found this out the hard way on a job where an unused line pointed downwards that kept dripping while trying to solder was plugged with bread, then capped right below that - the pipe corroded through and actually broke right off under the water pressure due to corrosion less than 6 months later.

One other solution to the constantly dripping line during soldering - most plumbers say to open A faucet so the water in the line drains down - because each faucet is a high point in the line, you actually have to open ALL faucets higher than the repair site (including sometimes washing machine) to drain all the water down - this plus pulling down a bit on horizontal pipes to make it drain it will eliminate the trickle problem, which makes it impossible to get a good solder joint because, at best, you get a "cold" joint that does not bond correctly and can leave flux pinholes in the solder.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD




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