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Old 09-30-2018, 11:43 AM   #1
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Water Leak Under Pressure

I recently discovered an occasional water leak behind our "wardrobe drawer," where the hot water line connects to the outdoor shower. The leak appears to be at the black plastic threaded connection (on the threads, not at the pex crimp), and only occurs when I turn on the water heater and the pressure increases in the system.

I can run hot water through the line just fine, and let the trailer sit with the water pump turned on without any problem. It's just that initial heating where the pressure seems to rise enough to cause the leak. No issues at any other connections throughout the trailer, and the pressure release valve on the water heater is doing its job.

I completely unscrewed the problem connection and reattached it, but the leak still occurs. My question: how tight should that threaded connection be? I simply hand-tightened without tools, but should I use a set of pliers to tighten it a bit more?

Photos for reference to show the connection I'm talking about. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-30-2018, 11:56 AM   #2
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Same issue

Wow, what timing, I just logged into the forum to search for the answer to this same type of question except my leak happens on the hot water connection to the faucet. Same black twist connection to the copper threads of the faucet. I too would like to know if this should be hand tightened? Use pipe thread tape? Or tightened with a tool.
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:39 PM   #3
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Is there any teflon tape on it? That'd be my first try at a fix.
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Old 09-30-2018, 12:58 PM   #4
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We had this happen also, a couple weeks ago, hot water connection under the kitchen sink.

I attempted to tighten it by hand. It didn't feel like it moved, but doesn't seem to be leaking now. It wasn't hooked to city water; pressure was from the Shurflo pump.

For reference, this occurred just about one year after we took delivery.
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Old 09-30-2018, 01:23 PM   #5
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You can use teflon tape on a plastic thread as well as a metal thread. I agree with Bob, try that first.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:09 PM   #6
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Had the same problem under the kitchen. Firmed it up using a small wrench and seems to have worked.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:26 PM   #7
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Trying Tape

Just an update. I tried hand tightening but it would not budge; same with a light wrench persuasion. I have taken the joint apart and added Teflon tape. Not currently leaking, but it wasn't leaking on a continuous basis. It leaked every few days to a week. It was the hot water connection. We change sites every few days as we cross the country - water from the leak is not there after travel but appears within a couple of days.

Time will tell if it is fixed.

Thanks everyone,
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:40 PM   #8
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The overpressure valve on the hot water heater is designed to weep from expansion when initially fired up. The valve is designed to blow at 150 psi, but I don’t know if it weeps at lower pressure. It would be interesting to know how high the pressure in the lines normally gets during initial heating, and where I’m going with this (in me noggin) is I wonder if an accumulator tank might alleviate this problem. This was discussed in another thread recently, where leakage was only at the overpressure valve. I don’t consider normal weeping to be a problem (nor does water heater manufacturer), but leakage inside is a completely different matter.
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Old 09-30-2018, 03:52 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
You can use teflon tape on a plastic thread as well as a metal thread. I agree with Bob, try that first.
Interesting, for some reason I thought I shouldn’t use teflon tape on plastic threads. My main question is whether it’s safe to use pliers/wrench to tighten, but it sounds like a light torque down with a small adjustable wrench would be ok?

And since posting this thread I found that I have a similar issue with the connection between the hot line to the bathroom sink, although the leak is not as bad. And I’m less concerned about a few drips on the bathroom floor than other locations.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RicVic View Post
Had the same problem under the kitchen. Firmed it up using a small wrench and seems to have worked.
Same here. The only time it leaked was when the water heater went from cold to hot. I talked with Reace about it & he suggested using a pair of water pump pliers to "snug" the normally hand tightened connection. Solved the problem.

The pressure increase on the hot water side during heating is considerable. Since water is not compressible, something has to give. Sometimes it is the relief valve on the water heater.

If the water heater could keep an air pocket, that would solve the problem, but it doesn't. Another solution would be to add an accumulator to the hot water line on the output of the water heater. A cold water accumulator (although it is nice to reduce the pump running with every flush) would not help since there is a check valve on the input of the water heater to protect the water pump from back pressure.
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Old 09-30-2018, 05:57 PM   #11
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I had the same issue, but under the sink of our 17b. I figured it was pressure buildup during heating as several other people have surmised. I contacted ETI and was told by Reace to "use a wrench on the copper side and a pair of pliers on the black nut, you should be able to get another ˝ turn on the black nut which will resolve the issue".
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Old 09-30-2018, 06:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canyonrider View Post
My main question is whether it’s safe to use pliers/wrench to tighten, but it sounds like a light torque down with a small adjustable wrench would be ok?
Teflon tape seals the tiny gaps in the threads, and of course molded plastic fittings are not as precise as the cast and machined metal ones. So, it makes sense that it would work. As for using a wrench for a "light" torque, I'd put the emphasis on light. They're easy to break. Most plastic fittings are designed for hand tightening only, such as the water lines under the sink in my 19.
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Old 09-30-2018, 10:14 PM   #13
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The PEX fittings are sealed with a thick rubber cone washer in the fitting. The same as found on your home water closet fitting. A little plumbers silicone lube may help on the washer. The compressed washer is what makes the seal. Also making sure there are no burrs on the faucet is helpful. Tightening the fitting nut is what compress the washer. Teflon tape may help the fitting nut turn a little easier but it does not perform a function in the sealing process as with (NPT) national pipe thread fittings. Teflon tape is not needed on these PEX fittings.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:34 PM   #14
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Thanks to all for suggestions on this. I tightened both of the leaky fittings with a small pair of pliers. That stopped the leaks at both hot water line locations, but apparently caused a new leak at the cold water line attachment to the outdoor shower. I tightened that one up as well (as best I could, given the tricky access), so hopefully that solves the problem. I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on these on our next trip.
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:52 PM   #15
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I had this problem with an occasional leak at the toilet. Reace looked at a picture of my hot water tank connections and determined that a check-valve wasn't installed and sent me one. Took care of the problem.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:47 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mesa View Post
I had this problem with an occasional leak at the toilet. Reace looked at a picture of my hot water tank connections and determined that a check-valve wasn't installed and sent me one. Took care of the problem.
I assume this was installed on the cold water inlet to the HW heater like Escape is currently doing. Did you happen to notice if this caused your pressure relief valve outside to weep more water during system warmup because the water that was expanding now cannot push against the water in the cold water lines? It may not be a problem if you have a good air pocket in the top of your tank. This was a recent discussion.
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:35 PM   #17
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I assume this was installed on the cold water inlet to the HW heater like Escape is currently doing. Did you happen to notice if this caused your pressure relief valve outside to weep more water during system warmup because the water that was expanding now cannot push against the water in the cold water lines? It may not be a problem if you have a good air pocket in the top of your tank. This was a recent discussion.
I assumed that it would and watched it for a while but didn't see it happen.

Yes it's on the cold water side.
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Old 10-01-2018, 04:23 PM   #18
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I assumed that it would and watched it for a while but didn't see it happen.
Yes it's on the cold water side.
Thanks for the follow up. Interestingly I noticed on Oliver's schematics that they put their check valve on the HW heater outlet. The only reason I see that trailer mfr's do this is so they only have to install one diverting valve and the check valve keeps the antifreeze from back feeding into the hot side of the tank when winterizing. Of course Escape uses two diverting valves and thus no need for a check on the HW tank hot outlet. The only slight disadvantage is we just need to remember to turn two valves instead of one when bypassing the HW heater. Based on their schematic they do not use a check valve on the HW heater cold water inlet. Depending on piping configuration some trailers need them and some don't. The early classic trailers only have a check valve at the pump (integral) and city water inlet as far as I know and I haven't experienced any issues or heard of any.
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Old 10-02-2018, 02:47 AM   #19
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We had a similar issue under the sink in our 17B. Reace told me to tighten the plastic fitting, but I got too scared to do so in case I broke it. In the end I took the PTFE tape route, which although somewhat frustrating to have to do it, was effective and the problem was solved.

In our new 21 I might be pre-emptive and just put the tape on before I ever take it out. The last thing we want is to have to clear up water leaks while on the road.
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Old 10-10-2018, 12:42 PM   #20
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I had a small leak under the sink at that same type of connection. There is a seal in the female part of the connection.I changed it and all was good.Just tighten it by hand or you will damage the new seal. Reese sent me a new seal but you can buy one if you find the right pumping store.
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