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Old 09-30-2018, 10:43 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, 10:56 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, 11:39 AM   #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, 11:58 AM   #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, 12:23 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, 02:09 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, 02:26 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, 02:40 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, 02:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
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, 04:03 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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