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Discuss Leaking hot water cylinder pipe in the Central Heating Forum area at PlumbersForums.net

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39
Hi

I have a leak from one of the pipes, going into the hot water cylinder, in the airing cupboard. There are 2 pipes going into the cylinder on the left hand side, (I think it is called a vented cylinder - colder water tank in loft) and it is the top pipe which is leaking, (the one with yellow cloth and black tie wrapped around it in pic) I will attach 2 pictures I have taken. It leaks where the pipe goes into the cylinder. Is it called a flange? I saw a video on youtube showing a similar leak.

As you can see, I am soaking up the water with absorbent cloths/sponges at the moment. I first discovered the leak, as it had stained the kitchen ceiling and when I went to investigate to see if it was the hot water cylinder, the leak had soaked some of the floorboards in the cupboard. They have dried out, since I put the cloths/sponges there and keep wringing them out.

It seems to get worse, whenever I run a bath/draw hot water.

I know this needs an urgent fix from a tradesman but I have been shielding since the beginning of the pandemic and still don't want anyone coming in the house yet.

Is there a product I could buy to try and temporarily fix the leak? I am not a diy-er and have no knowledge of plumbing etc. I also find things difficult because of my illness but hopefully, could manage to apply a product if there was a suitable one. The other difficulty is there is so little space to work in, as the wall and cylinder are so close together, so it's really difficult to actually look at the leak itself. I managed to take the pic where the pipe goes into the cylinder, by aiming the camera towards the hole and hoping for the best.

Another question: Because it seems to leak more when/after drawing hot water for bath etc, I am trying to avoid doing this. Is it unsafe for the same hot water to be heated over and over again in the cylinder, (have an ancient gravity fed system from the 1970's but cylinder has been replaced before, when the old one leaked) Could it cause Legionnaires Disease, or could it overheat if all the water evaporated over time? I have been running a bath every few days, to make the cylinder fill with fresh water then but it is so inconvenient, as I have to wring out the cloths much more often afterwards and worry overnight when sleeping.

Thanks very much in advance for any advice you can give me. Cylinder leak IMG_1852[9279].jpg Cylinder leak IMG_1858[9281].jpg
 
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Messages
38
Hi

I have a leak from one of the pipes, going into the hot water cylinder, in the airing cupboard. There are 2 pipes going into the cylinder on the left hand side, (I think it is called a vented cylinder - colder water tank in loft) and it is the top pipe which is leaking, (the one with yellow cloth and black tie wrapped around it in pic) I will attach 2 pictures I have taken. It leaks where the pipe goes into the cylinder. Is it called a flange? I saw a video on youtube showing a similar leak.

As you can see, I am soaking up the water with absorbent cloths/sponges at the moment. I first discovered the leak, as it had stained the kitchen ceiling and when I went to investigate to see if it was the hot water cylinder, the leak had soaked some of the floorboards in the cupboard. They have dried out, since I put the cloths/sponges there and keep wringing them out.

It seems to get worse, whenever I run a bath/draw hot water.

I know this needs an urgent fix from a tradesman but I have been shielding since the beginning of the pandemic and still don't want anyone coming in the house yet.

Is there a product I could buy to try and temporarily fix the leak? I am not a diy-er and have no knowledge of plumbing etc. I also find things difficult because of my illness but hopefully, could manage to apply a product if there was a suitable one. The other difficulty is there is so little space to work in, as the wall and cylinder are so close together, so it's really difficult to actually look at the leak itself. I managed to take the pic where the pipe goes into the cylinder, by aiming the camera towards the hole and hoping for the best.

Another question: Because it seems to leak more when/after drawing hot water for bath etc, I am trying to avoid doing this. Is it unsafe for the same hot water to be heated over and over again in the cylinder, (have an ancient gravity fed system from the 1970's but cylinder has been replaced before, when the old one leaked) Could it cause Legionnaires Disease, or could it overheat if all the water evaporated over time? I have been running a bath every few days, to make the cylinder fill with fresh water then but it is so inconvenient, as I have to wring out the cloths much more often afterwards and worry overnight when sleeping.

Thanks very much in advance for any advice you can give me. View attachment 47673 View attachment 47674
Hav3 you tried just nipping it up abit? See if you can tighten it a little more ( but don’t go mad)
 
Messages
2,075
Hav3 you tried just nipping it up abit? See if you can tighten it a little more ( but don’t go mad)
Out of an abundance of caution, I wouldn't try that in the OP's circumstances because there's a risk that taking a spanner to it it'll make matters worse. Obviously a plumber could handle any problems but the OP isn't a plumber...

I would suggest that the OP contact a reputable local firm and explain the circumstances. They should be able to do the work needed in a way that is safe, while the OP stays in another room and communicates with them by phone if necessary. Leave a window a jar while the work is in progress and give the area they've been in a chance to 'blow through' once they've left.

I don't normally suggest big firms like British Gas for small plumbing jobs because they are expensive, but they may be worth considering as they should have the resources (PPE, training, etc,) needed to work in buildings occupied by shielding persons.
 
Messages
38
Out of an abundance of caution, I wouldn't try that in the OP's circumstances because there's a risk that taking a spanner to it it'll make matters worse. Obviously a plumber could handle any problems but the OP isn't a plumber...

I would suggest that the OP contact a reputable local firm and explain the circumstances. They should be able to do the work needed in a way that is safe, while the OP stays in another room and communicates with them by phone if necessary. Leave a window a jar while the work is in progress and give the area they've been in a chance to 'blow through' once they've left.

I don't normally suggest big firms like British Gas for small plumbing jobs because they are expensive, but they may be worth considering as they should have the resources (PPE, training, etc,) needed to work in buildings occupied by shielding persons.
Are you suggesting that British Gas (who will charge three figures minimum for that) have all the resources but any other tradesmen don’t?
I have been working through the whole pandemic and I’ve entered many homes/ businesses without any issues.
If the op isn’t up to it I would suggest contacting a reputable plumber as appose to British Gas.
Any decent tradesman take the relevant precautions.
Im sorry but as a plumber of 30 years plus I completely disagree with your advice you have given the op.
 
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Messages
39
Thank you both for your replies. I would be too scared to try and tighten it, just in case it did make matters worse. Very tempting to try but I hope I can resist!

I am also too scared to have a tradesman in. I know they might say it can be done in a safe way (PPE, open window, me in another room etc) but I still don't want to risk it. I have heard of quite a few shielders who just took one little risk (such as this) and were unlucky enough to go down with the virus.

Is there no product at all, which would seal it up for now? Would be difficult for me to apply without me being able to actually see the leak (not enough room to get my head in position needed). I have seen sprays and putty etc. Any ideas? Or any better way than cloths and towels to catch the water from the leak?

Also, could someone answer my question about same water in cylinder being heated up over and over again, if I don't draw any hot water, until problem fixed? Worried about Legionnaires and/or cylinder burning out in the end.

Thanks again.
 
Messages
39
Also worried about the water in tank in loft not being drawn for ages and what problems that could cause? I think the cold water taps upstairs are being fed from the mains. So, I am worried about the water in the cylinder and in the tank not being refreshed.
 

Ric2013

Plumber
Messages
3,230
So long as your cylinder is heated to 60°C, that will be enough to kill legionella. (Technically 55°C is sufficient, but it takes an hour to do so). It is when water is stored for long periods at a medium temperature, say 40°C, that the bacteria is most likely to breed.

Even if you were to drink water with high levels of legionella bacteria (which you are not), that would not necessarily be a problem. You'd have to choke to inhale the water. Legionella in the digestive tract have no effect - it is when they get into the lungs that the problems can start. The greatest risk, therefore, is if you are using a shower that runs from a tepid cylinder.

The cylinder absolutely will not dry out or burn up. The cistern in the loft will naturally keep the cylinder full and replace any leaked water.

If your loft cistern ('tank') only fills the hot cylinder, then, while bacteria may breed in it (though less likely in cold weather than in the summer), these bacteria would be killed off once they get into the cylinder and are heated to 60°. You could always run a hot tap for 20 minutes (open the window and leave the room and shut the door while it runs) after you eventually have the leak repaired. This will flush the old water out of the system. Then let the cylinder heat through and leave it an hour before starting to use the hot water again, letting each hot tap run for 2 minutes once everything is heated through (again ventilating the rooms when you do so).

In terms of products, you can get a type of thick silicone sealant that is called "Fernox" LSX. It is suited for use with drinking water so you could give that a try. But only if you can locate the leak!

Have you not considered a shallow bowl, sardine tin, or similar to catch the drips? May be better than cloths and, if the source of the leak is warm and the area is open to airflow, some evaporation may take place at source (in a hard-water area you may even find the limescale where the water evaporates blocks the leak eventually... if you're really lucky).
 
Messages
39
Thank you so much for your very informative reply and advice Ric.

The cylinder is being heated to 60 degrees C. I hope so anyway. I have the boiler thermostat set to 150 degrees F. It is an ancient Vulcan boiler, so still in Fahrenheit! There is no thermostat on the cylinder itself that I can set.

Everything needs updating in the house and more and more jobs are piling up since the pandemic. This is the second plumbing problem that has arisen. The dishwasher hose is leaking under the sink as well, which is a real blow to me, with my illness. I can't do a temporary fix to that either, as again, I can't see exactly where the leak is coming from in the hose, before it leaks into cupboard.

With the cylinder leak and your suggested product to give a try, do you think I would be able to apply it just by feeling with fingers? Have you any idea from the first pic, which part is probably leaking, to give me an idea where I should apply the product? Probably difficult for you to answer that.

I do put a shallow plastic dish underneath the leak for extra security but it wouldn't be enough on its' own, as with the limited space between the pipes to place it, some of the leak still hits the floorboards around the dish.

Thanks so much again for your help with this. I really appreciate it!
 
Messages
2,075
I do put a shallow plastic dish underneath the leak for extra security but it wouldn't be enough on its' own, as with the limited space between the pipes to place it, some of the leak still hits the floorboards around the dish.
Another trick to try is to tie a piece of string around the pipe that is the source of the drip and arrange it so that capillary action causes the water to run down the string into a container. This gives you a bit more leeway when it comes to positioning the container.
 
Messages
39
PS We are in a very hard water area (Herts), so it would be fantastic if the limescale did eventually block the leak! I would be over the moon if that happened! 🤞
 
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