I was looking at my water meter the other day while taking some measurements and noticed that the small red triangle that indicates water flow was moving very slowly, even though there should have been no flow.
I searched the house for hours looking for the source of the flow. I have shutoff valves on toilets, bidet, etc and none of these stopped the flow. None of my taps drip. Then I put my ear to the hot water riser coming from the hot water heater and could hear flow, so I renewed my search, tracing hot water lines where I could. This was not easy since these pipes are all in enclosed drywall ceiling. I could get near most spots or have a peek or listen, by removing hot air registers. I finally heard a hissing in the basement ceiling, by the side of the home.
There was a small stream of water coming from a pinhole in a copper elbow. Apparently when these elbows are manufactured, they are bent and the elbow is sometimes too thin and wears through at the bend. I hate to think how many elbow I have in my home - I hope this is the only "bad one".
I cut open the drywall ceiling in the area around where the heating register was and removed a small heating duct, however, I could only cut an opening about 10" x 19" because there was ducting everywhere else - main square furnace duct, etc. I squeezed my upper body into the area and confirmed the leak was about one foot from the opening. I turned off the hot water line, opened a tap, put some tape on the elbow to lessen the flow and thought about it for several hours. Although I'm quite handy, this was simply not a job that I would be able to handle because it was like working on a submarine. I left the water off overnight and didn't get much sleep trying to think of my options.
I searched the web for a reliable plumber and came up with The WaterWorks. The problem has been repaired. Since it was impossible to solder in the very confined space, the master plumber put in one foot of PEX and the appropriate fittings. Problem solved. I'll put an access panel in the ceiling instead of re-drywalling the hole. It's in a 2-piece washroom in the basement so aesthetics are not too important.
I can highly recommend WaterWorks.
- I called and made an appointment, explaining the situation. They said they'd call an hour before coming.
- I got the call an hour before and they also sent a picture to my e-mail showing the name of the plumber and what he looks like.
- The plumber also called about 5 minutes before arriving.
- Michael was very personable and I recognized him as one of the owners of the company.
- He quoted a flat rate for the repair - not cheap, but good work rarely is.
- While doing the repair, Michael made several recommendations to save water, etc, much as I would do when optimizing someone's home theatre.
- The repair was done to my satisfaction.
- Waterworks called with a followup about an hour after Michael left and also followed up by e-mail.
Now that's how to run an operation. The WaterWorks, highly recommended! At a time when there are so few good stories, I thought I'd share one.
Edit: I have used WaterWorks since when we had a toilet issue but I felt the fee was too high for the amount of work done, even though the work was performed well. When I purchased two new toilets in early 2015, I removed the old ones and installed the new ones myself.
I'm so glad I found the problem before there was major damage.