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The Importance of Isolation Valves part 2

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

We returned to our commercial plumbing repair at the truck stop in Haines City, Florida to complete the recommended repairs/alterations in the boiler room. The valves were installed as well as a permanent bypass for serviceability. The Bradley mixing valve was rebuilt with all new internals.

Haines city plumbing repairHaines city plumbing repair2

In the future servicing the valve will be a snap. It’s just a shame that the builder skimped on these devices. It ended up costing the property owner triple what it would have to just do it right the first time. This doesn’t factor in lost customers to the business due to water outages or man ours paid for by the staff to deal with the crisis.

The point to take home here is this: An inexpensive valve can save you downtime and facilitate repairs, saving you money. If you get several estimates and you always go with the lowest one, there is a good chance there is something important that is missing in that contract. Don’t go cheap unless you know EXACTLY what you are getting and not getting. Read the fine print, specifications and warranty. Not all companies are the same and will provide different levels of professionalism.

Don’t try and save pennies now only to lose dollars later!

Copper pipe leak under slab in Lakeland Florida

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082

Emergency Service Is Our Specialty
Emergency Service In Less Than 60 Minutes!

Copper pipe slab leak

Copper pipe leak under the slab. House flood.

Call 863-687-8082. This was a pretty typical slab leak call out in Lakeland Florida. In the Kathleen area to be specific. A slab leak is when a copper pipe gets a pinhole leak under the slab (foundation) of the home. Water leaks may go undetected for long periods under the slab because the water may soak into sandy soils rather than being forced up through cracks in the slab. At a certain point, the leak either shows up on the water bill or the ground gets saturated and then the house floods. Just because you see the water seeping up from an area into the floor, that doesn’t mean the copper pipe leak is actually in that location. Many times the leak must first be located using electronic leak detection equipment.

 

Once the leak is found the most common repair technique is to jackhammer open the slab and replace the bad section of pipe. The problem with this is that here in Polk County Florida ( Lakeland, Winter Haven ), the leak is usually caused be internal pitting where ever flux was used to solder the pipes. This flux is usually oil soluble and sticks to the insides of the pipes when they were soldered. Since the chemical was used at every connection, the whole system has been compromised. All of the flux was applied at the same time and exposed to water at the same time. Because of this the pinholes may not start for years but once you get the first one, many more will follow. The best long term solution is to just repipe the house.

We offer the described services in Lakeland, Winter Haven and all of Polk County Florida. We are the plumbers to call if you have this plumbing situation. 863-687-8082

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082

Emergency Service Is Our Specialty
Emergency Service In Less Than 60 Minutes!

The Importance of Isolation Valves

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082

Haines City mixing valve

The offending valve

We were called out today to deal with a Haines City plumbing repair in a brand new truck station/restaurant that had no hot water. It was quickly diagnosed to be a fouled tempering valve in the boiler room. Unfortunately, the commercial plumbing contractor that built the plumbing did not install isolation valves in many logical locations to install them. This made it very difficult to work on the valve and resulted in extended water down time. The business lost many customers during the water outage and the repair was more costly than it should have been.

 

 

 

 

Plumbing valve in Haines City truck stop

The needed modifications

 

 

We will be going back out to install a bypass line, flush-out port, and isolation valves soon. This will enable the building maintenance

crew to easily bypass the valve if it fails in the future and will make service a snap.

 

Don’t always go with the lowest priced estimate. There is usually something missing from the workmanship or materials. In many cases, the money saved by going “bare bones” is only a small fraction of what it will cost in the future to clean up the mess.

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082

Why copper pipes leak so often in Polk County Florida

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082

The Most Common Cause Of Copper Pipe Corrosion

Copper Pipe CorrosionIn central Florida the most common cause of pinhole leaks is corrosion from fluxing chemicals. Zinc Chloride in the flux reacts with our high PH and high chlorine levels. 90% of the leaks we locate and repair in Lakeland Florida are due to internal flux corrosion. Many plumbers in Winter Haven do not understand what causes these types of leaks to occur.  There have been theories about phosphates in the ground from phosphate strip mines attacking the copper pipes from the outside, electrical charges from building wiring systems charging the pipes and causing corrosion, lightning strikes traveling through the municipal water systems, etc.

The fact is though,  most of the leaks in Polk County are from internal flux corrosion coupled with out local water chemistry. Pipes on municipal systems are 10 times a likely to suffer damage as ones installed on private well systems or municipalities such as Bartow that don’t use much chlorine.

When soldering copper pipe, one must use a chemical that keeps the inside of the fitting and the outside of the pipe clean when it is heated, so that the solder will stick to it and become a metallurgical bond. The older flux chemicals were dissolved in petroleum jelly. If you got a glob of that stuff on your hand and try to rinse it off with water it doesn’t wash off. The same is true inside copper pipes. The worst part about this is that when the pipe is heated with the torch the flux paste melts and runs down the insides of the pipes spreading the damage area.

How Pinhole Leaks Develop and The Resulting Problems

Closeup View of Corrosion and a Pinhole Inside a Copper PipeAfter construction is complete and water begins flowing through the pipes, the corrosion process begins. It may take as little as 5 years in some parts of central Florida. We do plenty of pin hole leak repairs in Davenport. Most of the homes we are repairing or repiping there are 10-12 years old.

The internal pitting process starts at the same time everywhere in the system. As a result, when the first leak pops up, it’s just one of an endless string. Since each pit in the pipe wall started forming at the same time, they all “finish the race” to the outside of the pipe wall at around the same time. For example, you might go 20 years before the house gets it’s 1st pinhole leak. But the second only takes a year or so to pop up. then a few more months go by and you get a third. the process keeps accelerating until leaks pop up in just weeks. Given that the average 2 bathroom home has over 50 connections, you are not likely to ever fix them all without going bankrupt. This is especially true when you factor in the costs related to water damage and damage caused by making access to the leak areas to do spot repairs.

 

The Best Thing To Do When You Have Pinhole Leaks In Your Home

Flux Corrosion in a Copper PipeThe most logical thing to do when you start getting leaks is to just repipe the home. If you want to financially chase your tail, attempting to “fix” a failing copper system is a good start. Also, if you think your home owners insurance is going to take the brunt of it, you may be in store for a rude awakening. In Florida, most insurance companies will not pay for a repipe job unless you happen to be one of the rare few who get a leak that actually costs more to repair than to repipe. In most cases, they do not pay for the plumbing portion of the repairs. After 2 or 3 leak claims, they will usually send you a letter that they are cancelling you unless you get your house repiped.

What it all boils down to: If you start getting pinhole leaks in your home in Polk County Florida, don’t waste your money putting off a job that MUST be done. Just bite the bullet and get a good quality re-pipe done correctly and be over with it. Don’t just hire the first yokel that claims he can repipe your house. Get a warranty that is going to cover you for a long time. You never know how long you’ll live in that home. The whole reason you’re in this mess in the first place is the home builders plumber slopped everything together. BREAK THE CYCLE, call us.

Pro-Tech Plumbing LLC.
Your Home Plumbing Specialists
Residential Plumbing
Serving Polk County Florida
863-293-4202
863-687-8082