Category Archives: Leaks

Plast-Aid, Magic Goop Really Does Exist!

This stuff… is amazing.  I use it more often than just about any specific tool in my tool bag.  If I’m out of Plast-Aid, I’m always concerned that the next service call is going to need it, especially if a leak is involved.  Plast-Aid is a repair adhesive/acrylic/plastic that can repair PVC, Acrylic, and anything that the catalyst part of the combo can make sticky.  Now before I give you a sales pitch, take a look at the image below – this is a horrible situation for anyone fixing a hot tub:

2014-12-18 14.44.19On first look, this is the bottom end of a $160 (internet price) filter cannister.  The supposed ‘flex’ hose connected to it, which doesn’t even flex any more, connects to the suction of the main pump.  How did that thing crack off like that?  Lol.  Well… ahem, long story short:  I had to replace both pumps on this spa due to chemistry damage.  The first pump, well ummm after I loosened the coupler to the pump completely, it was literally ‘glued’ to the pump suction fitting and I couldn’t move the pump at all.  So me, with all my bright ideas, decided to give it a good old fashioned kick, to knock the loosened suction pipe off of the pump.  Instead, the pipe on the bottom of the filter snapped off like a match stick!  In the photo above, the pipe is still stuck on the front of the pump!  (No I did NOT kick that part where it’s broke.  I kicked it right at the pump!)

OMG, it’s mid December nonetheless; and it’s cold.  PVC don’t like cold, and flex PVC doesn’t flex, especially when it’s old, and cold.  That stuff is hard as a rock.  Haha.  Well because I had just received my latest order of Plast-Aid, I just laughed it off, but had to look forward to a bit more work than I had planned.  <<<  Now that is something that most could NEVER say in a situation like this.  There would be a lot more 4 letter words spewed out than could be mentioned here.

On a scale of 1-10 of screw-ups… this one rates a 10.  Enter Plast-Aid, it becomes a 1.  Seriously.  Let’s take a look on the repair:

2014-12-18 15.01.19What you see above, is… the pipe is still stuck to the front of the pump (not shown), but I lined it back up with the crack at the filter.

2014-12-18 15.04.08This is the initial application of Plast-Aid.  It is not pretty, then again it is not supposed to be.  This is a repair under the spa skirt, not cosmetic plastic surgery… well maybe you could call it that but not in the ‘cosmetic’ category of things.  I love Plast-Aid.  Did I tell you that yet?

Going forward… Well, Plast-Aid, like any other adhesive or catalyzing compound, loves heat.  Out here it’s really cold, this day in the 40’s.  So I always have a small butane torch with me to help keep things warm around the area.  Note I didn’t say hot.  Never heat anything like this to where you cannot touch it.  It works best at room temperature or slightly above.  There is an art to heating up components like this in the cold, and if you aren’t experienced with it then use a blow dryer with caution.  A heat gun can get you in trouble as you really want to be in the 60-80 degree fahrenheit range and never higher.  Hotter does not always equal better. (Actually, hotter means brittle and we NEVER want brittle!)

Let’s move on to the next photo:

2014-12-18 15.26.34Note in the above photo, you can see more Plast-Aid on top from the initial application, plus a piece of electrical tape on the bottom 180 of the fitting.  That is actually two pieces of electrical tape – taped together to cover the gap between the edge of the street 90 45 degree ell on the right, and the filter itself.  Because I cannot see behind, or below the fitting (and gravity doesn’t do you any favors when working with Plast-Aid when it’s in it’s most liquid state, I create a dam with the tape, to pour it into and hold the Plast-Aid in place during it’s cure-out.

2014-12-18 15.26.47A close-up view of Plast-Aid in action along with the electrical tape dam to hold it captive while it cures on the PVC fittings.

2014-12-18 16.04.43Last One:

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Overall photo of the installation:

2014-12-18 16.13.20Yeah.. that 2.5 foot section going to pump 1 suction may as well be hard pipe. So, the question really is, replace entire cannister, lose a lot of time – or fix with Plast-Aid which is stronger than all that pvc combined?

Honestly, while to date I experience a 100% success rate with Plast-Aid repairs, on everything from cracked wet ends to pvc manifolds, I have about a 75% success rate on first time in and done repair.  That is, the one you see above, I actually had to go back and apply by hand more Plast-Aid on the back side that I could not see with my eyes because there were small areas that leaked water.  Sometimes it’s just repair – by – feel.  The tape dam is not a be all to end all in guess-work.  It’s just the way it happens in the field.  I’m happy that it worked out this way, much better than having to replace the entire filter cannister, which can take as much as 4 hours depending upon all fittings, flex pvc, temperature and everything else involved.

If you ever have any questions about Plast-Aid, you can either call the company that makes it or even give me a call any time.  I’ll be really happy to tell you how fantastic this product is.  It has saved my customers over the years THOUSANDS of dollars in re-plumbing costs.

This stuff, IS magic goop in a bottle.

Other recent repair examples:

 

2015-01-31 13.38.42See that crack on the suction fitting?  Yeah.  I’m out in East Point, and it’s either drive back 40 miles to supplier, pick up new wet end and drive all the way back to put it in.  No Way I’m doing this.  Bring out Plast-Aid.  Fix crack in 30 minutes, go home.

2015-01-31 13.38.53Look at that lovely mess – Plast-Aid saves the day (and me a LOT of  driving time for no reason!).  Plast-Aid by the way, is stronger than the material it is fixing.  There is no other repair material available anywhere at any price that is better than this stuff.  It also saved my customer about 250 bucks.  My customer loved this stuff, and watched as I demo’d the product to him.  (This stuff is fun to show off).

Plast-Aid will, reduce your plumbing problems to a minimum, allowing you to move on to more business, save your customers money, get you more referrals because you saved them money.

Even if you don’t need me to fix your spa/hot tub, buy Plast-Aid just to have it. You can get this product from the same place I do.  Plast-Aid.Com

There are a lot more links to Plast-Aid on this blog than I’d like but I couldn’t help myself.  By the way did I tell you I LOVE Plast-Aid?   There is no better tool in my truck than this stuff.  Get it, got it, GOOD!  It’s amazing.

If you EVER have any questions about this product I encourage you to call me immediately, it doesn’t matter if you’re up north or down south, or out west… call me.  I use it every week and it saves me many hours of un-necessary work, and many $$$ of charges to my customers.  Note that I make no money from promotion of Plast-Aid.  These people don’t even answer my complimentary emails either.  I have no idea who they are but what they got here WORKS, and my business cannot live without it!

Ok Folks, have a wonderful Plast-Aid day!

:^)

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Spa & Hot Tub Leaks: The difficult ones.

Plumbing work in this business is usually not a big deal.  It’s simple and straight-forward and usually follows this sequence:

  1. Cut out offending PVC (broken/bad leaking stuff).
  2. Obtain new fittings from local supplier or Home Depot.
  3. Using PVC Primer (the clear not purple stuff), and heavy bodied PVC cement, prepare fittings and pipe/flex hose and install the replacement.
  4. If it’s cold out, warm up the joints and parts with a heat gun…. (NOT hot).
  5. Wait ample time for the PVC cement job to complete it’s cure cycle.
  6. Fill up spa and test under pressure.

Many times though, it’s not this simple, and you really need to try to figure out a much different way to solve the problem.  (Take that to mean the cure could be worse than the disease).

Case in point.  1990’s model Sundance spa.  Nice spa, really nice thru the deck installation and has been a family treasure for many years.  Using common sense and intuition, it was determined that the leak that was draining the spa down 2-3 inches per day was located in a specific corner area of the tub.  For the uninitiated, this model of Sundance spa is a full foam tub, which means that you’ll need to dig through a lot of foam to find the leaking pipe.  Squirrels had moved into this spa and dug out a ton of foam, so it was initially thought that the squirrels had dug through the foam, found a specific pipe and chewed a hole in it.

I don’t like having to trouble-shoot leaks in full-foam hot tubs.  They can really be resource hogs.  But the water soaked foam in the area I was digging was soft and easy to remove.  Yes it was really messy and not fun but digging with a crow-bar worked well.   Eventually the leak was found and it was in a really tough area, with tight parameters for ‘fit-ment’.   I mean, there’s just no way to cut out the bad stuff and just insert some new stuff and the leak is gone.

Here’s what it looked like, the spa was leaking at the blue glue area (top of the image) where the PVC  connector meets up with the tan colored flex-PVC:

2014-03-05 15.40.25

Going the conventional route, the standard answer to this situation is cut it all out, and replace the fittings and all that it connects to.  But in this situation you just can’t do that.  If you’ve ever worked with older flex PVC, you’ll know it doesn’t flex anymore, that’s 1.  2 is that everything else that it connects to are proprietary fittings/devices – like a Sundance diverter valve that controls which jets get the most water flow.  There’s nothing wrong with those things so they need to stay in place, and 3 – omg, the foam man the foam!  Everything is fixed in place by this stuff so you don’t have the liberty of moving stuff around to make it fit with new PVC.

So what do you do?  Cut it out and start a nightmare of a ride to nowhere or just try to fix the leak without all that insanity?

I like simple solutions.  In this case, we decided to use an old-fashioned approach with a bit of a twist.  They do make PVC repair couplings/fittings for this purpose, but they are hard to find, especially in the 2″ variety like this one was.  I took a 2 inch PVC coupler, and cut it in half.  Then I cut it in half again.  The end result was this:

2 Inch PVC fitting, cut in half.

The leak was a lot of water coming out of the edge of the 2 inch fitting, so the idea was to target THAT.  This fitting that was created out of a 2 inch PVC coupler from Home Depot was designed to butt-up next to the leaking PVC fitting in the spa, and it’s size, with good preparation and PVC cement, would stop the leak completely.  With this repair option you’ve got a PVC fitting edge butting up next to the edge of the existing PVC fitting that’s in place.  Hmmm what about that tiny gap between the edges of the fittings?  Well I decided to do the standard leak repair (on top of the repair) by using Plast-Aid.  So, I’ve got a new half-circle 2 inch PVC fitting up against the old 1990’s 2 inch fitting, with a lot of good prep work, (drill wire brush to clean, along with PVC Primer), It’s all sealed with medium or heavy bodied PVC Cement.  In this case I used “Weld-On” Brand Hot PVC Cement.

2014-03-10 16.11.21

It is not a pretty job.  But you can see the Plast-Aid over the top of the edge where the two PVC fittings meet.  It looks like blue and white mixed together.

The end result was a complete success!  A lot of money was saved using this method of fixing a hot tub leak.

And that’s just one of the more difficult jobs that we face daily.  Each job can be a challenge!  If you have a problem with your hot tub and don’t know what to do just give us a call anytime!

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Spa and Hot Tub -SLOW- Leaks

Let’s face it, most hot tub and spa leaks are quite obvious once you take the spa side panel off and take a look… (here we’re talking about most portable hot tubs that are outside, not in your bathroom). But slow leaks can be a real pain.  Anyway, standard leaks are really easy –

The usual culprits are going to be:

  1. Pump Seals deteriorated due to old age, or bad water chemistry.
  2. Pump and heater union gaskets getting old and deteriorated.
  3. Heater leaks.
  4. Everything else.

The top three are easy and quick to fix.  However, when faced with a really slow hot tub leak, let’s say one that drains down about an inch or two a day with no power applied, the problem can be quite perplexing.

There is one thing you need to have when trying to find a slow leak… patience.  Then add in persistence.

To help find a slow leak some of the best tools you have in your arsenal are going to be food dye, and your eyesight.Hot Tub / Spa Leak Detection

The above shows a leak test performed on a roto-molded spa with limited access to the back side.  No leaks were detected.

But the below photo exposes the slow spa leak culprit.  There are actually two jets in this photo.  The first is a Waterway mini-jet that is easily seen at the top.  The second is a cluster jet enveloped in blue food dye that’s about 7 inches below it.

Spa leak detection What happens is this… and you really have to look CLOSE and be PATIENT when you squeeze the dye into the water.  The dye will be drawn into the leaking orifice.  It’s akin to finding a virus or trojan on your computer.  Only this is analog, not digital.

Cracked Spa Jet

This spa was fixed quickly after 2 service calls, and we didn’t even have to cut a hole into the outside of the roto-molded plastic spa shell.  The failure was in the jet retainer ring.. It was cracked.

If you’ve got a leak problem that just won’t go away,  and you don’t know what to do then give us a call.

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