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Is this cylinder union failure really unfixable?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by Kesterlester, 15 Jan 2021.

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  1. Kesterlester

    Kesterlester

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    Two weeks ago I noticed a cylinder union was leaking on our vented copper domestic HW cylinder. I booked a plumber to come, and (supposedly) he is due to arrive this afternoon. The long wait was essentially them clearing their new year break backlog.

    About one week ago I noticed that the leak appeared to be growing so with 7 days still to go for the plumber's visit I decided to see if tightening the nut might help compress the washer a bit better. That just made things worse, as the whole fibre washer just crumbled to dust and a lot of the water stored in the cylinder came out, so I drained the cylinder completely and have left it like that for the last 7 days waiting for the plumber's visit today. The main reason I called a plumber here, rather than fixing this myself (as I usually do) is mainly laziness and getting older. I didn't really think of it as a tricky job.

    However yesterday, thinking it may be useful for the plumber to arrive prepared, I sent the attached photo of the union, and got a message back this morning implying that there was no way the system could be re-commissioned without installing a new cylinder.

    Is that really so? While I do believe that to fix it "well", so that it could last another 10 years, then indeed, replacing the cylinder would be right and proper.

    But I had (perhaps naively) believed that [since we only need to make the system work for the next three months (or so) until it can be entirely replaced by a new system altogether], there must surely be some way that either "hemp and boss white" or sufficient PTFE tape could be used to bodge the system just for long enough to get us to March...
    And furthermore, I had presumed that there may even be a non-bodgey way of solving it, such as completely disassembling that connection and reaching through the immersion heater hole to insert a new/replacement flange from the inside which would allow a new waster to appear on the outside?

    I was hoping that having a plumber do the thinking (rather than me) would save me some time and provide some useful employment locally.

    But now I'm not so sure I've just waited 14 days for someone to visit, yet am about to be visited by a professional who doesn't think they can fix something I think I could fix as a DIYer.

    That leaves me confused as to why I bothered to call a plumber!

    To be clear, I appreciate that I'm perhaps asking the plumber to do something a bit bodgey temporary fix, but only because that's (to me) an acceptable/tolerable way of getting us DHW up to March. I really don't want to have to pay for a new copper tank and all the associated fitting if it will only be there fore two months when it gets replaced again! But I do also appreciate that no plumber should have to do any work he or she is not happy with leaving behind as their calling card!

    Ideas for creative approaches I could suggest to the plumber if/when he arrives this afternoon?
     

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  3. picasso

    picasso

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    I would be very tempted to wrap loads of ptfe tape and do the nut back up as its only for a couple of months.
     
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  4. muggles

    muggles

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  5. Madrab

    Madrab

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    Yes, I'd agree, there could be a way to seal that up in the short term, especially if the big backing nut can be removed. You can get large fibre washers that could be incorporated with PTFE to seal that up. There wouldn't be any guarantees I wouldn't think as it would be a bodge but as long as you were prepared to accept that.

    Some companies/plumbers wouldn't entertain that though.
     
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  6. Madrab

    Madrab

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    Might be difficult to use a flange if it's the feed to the coil? I would presume it would be braised to the coil internally? Never cut one down though so couldn't be sure.

    Might be able to use the fibre seal off of one though.
     
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  7. Kesterlester

    Kesterlester

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    I've tended to keep going back to a company whose past work for me I've been happy with (which has not been the case for the first two plumbers I found after moving to the area, who I think did terrible work). But it's always good to have other recommendations as I am sure that is more than one reputable plumbing firm nearby, and it would be good to have other options if one is busy ....
     
  8. Mottie

    Mottie

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    If it’s the feed to the coil it can be replaced. I had something similar on our old cylinder. I seem to remember undoing the pipes, undoing the nuts, pushing the coil into the tank to remove the inner fibre washers, pulling the coil threaded bit back out, fit 2 new outer washers, tighten nuts and reconnect pipes. Lasted about 20 years until we changed it for an unvented cylinder.
     
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  9. Nige F

    Nige F

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    Fibre - schmiber :ROFLMAO: Find a plumber with a hank of hemp and a tin of bosswhite = take the union and backnut off - make hemp grommet - fit and smear with boss white. Tighten . (y) If I was nearer to Cambridge I'd do it for you ;) That would last for years.
     
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  11. Madrab

    Madrab

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    Icky ... Icky .... Gooooooo .... :sick::p
     
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  12. freeoil

    freeoil

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    If you dont fancy a goo ay sticky repair its possible to solder the back nut to the cylinder with traditional flux and flex and paste on thd threads that wont burn off. Fast and effective with all wters drained.
     
  13. gas112

    gas112

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  14. ianmcd

    ianmcd

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  15. Kesterlester

    Kesterlester

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    In an outcome I was not anticipating, the plumber did not turn up at all! No word responses to my attempts to find out why the no-show.

    I'm now beginning to wonder if words to the effect of "we can't really fix that without replacing the cylinder" were a sort of code for "we are not going to come" that I failed to read. By the looks of it I will have to enact one of the suggestions above. Thank you all.
     
  16. dilalio

    dilalio

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    Not all businesses are the same!
     
  17. Kesterlester

    Kesterlester

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    Having given up on the arrival of MJPotts, I have ended up implementing a hemp and boss white solution. There are many things about the other suggested methods which I'd prefer, but I happened not to have fibre or gasket material handy, access was difficult for brazing, and finally I suspected that if all went wrong I could still clean it up and try again with one of the other methods. That, and did have the necessary supplies. So went for it. I've never used it before, and by gosh was it fun! Crazy stuff, but oddly satisfying. Both messy, but also not messy at the same time. (Eg oily stains made on carpet the moment I opened the tub magically wiped themselves up invisibly (leaving no trace) with just toilet paper and no detergent. Magic!). Daughters retched seeing my hands. Cat thought smell was fantastic and tried to eat it. Fun for everyone.

    Resulting joint seems to be holding pressure with cylinder now refilled. Am slightly nervous that as soon as I apply heat tomorrow the metal parts will expand and squeeze the gunk out like tooth paste and leave me with a flood, but I hope that's just misplaced nerves from using it the first time.
     
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