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Thread: Water softener connection issue

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Dimbasco's Avatar
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    Default Water softener connection issue

    Hello,
    I have copper piping in my home and had asked the builder to keep a connection for a water softener. So he did, but he made it with PEX.
    Also it is a bit tricky since the builder put the PEX portion of the pipe out of the wall, I am unable to reach the copper pipe without cutting through drywall.
    I cut a piece out of the PEX pipe and connected it with Sharkbites to a PVC (not Cpvc) with a couple of connectors (recommended by Lowes). I also created a bypass by using 3 valves. And connected this to the water softener all the way with PVC pipes and joints.
    Used primer and cement to connect the PVC joints. After all connections were set, I turned on the water supply and one of the PVC joints failed and water came gushing out.
    I redid the primer and cement on the joint and tried again, the joint did not hold through.
    Help. I'm a a loss how to fix this! (I've restored the water supply, but no softener!)

    Also 2 things I noticed - the water main cut off inside the garage does not cut off water to the e tire home. Water keeps flowing out of the PEX until. Turn off the water cut off outside the house. Te reason I share this is - I have a water pressure regulator, but it is attached to the cut off valve (that does not turn off ware to the PEX).

    Thanks in advance
    KR

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimbasco View Post
    Used primer and cement to connect the PVC joints. After all connections were set, I turned on the water supply and one of the PVC joints failed and water came gushing out.
    I redid the primer and cement on the joint and tried again, the joint did not hold through.
    Help. I'm a a loss how to fix this! (I've restored the water supply, but no softener!)
    I have never used primer, but maybe it is not a good substitute for cleaner. Also, be sure to de-burr the ends of the pipe so they do not push all the cement into the hub...and then be sure to let everything sit for a while (read the can about cure time) before pressurizing the system.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member mialynette2003's Avatar
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    You can not reglue a joint that has failed. You must cut out the failed connection and redo.

  4. #4
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Most codes don't allow PVC water lines inside the home.

    John

  5. #5
    DIY Junior Member polychromeuganda's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimbasco View Post
    Hello,
    I have copper piping in my home and had asked the builder to keep a connection for a water softener. So he did, but he made it with PEX.
    Also it is a bit tricky since the builder put the PEX portion of the pipe out of the wall, I am unable to reach the copper pipe without cutting through drywall.
    I cut a piece out of the PEX pipe and connected it with Sharkbites to a PVC (not Cpvc) with a couple of connectors (recommended by Lowes). I also created a bypass by using 3 valves. And connected this to the water softener all the way with PVC pipes and joints.
    Used primer and cement to connect the PVC joints. After all connections were set, I turned on the water supply and one of the PVC joints failed and water came gushing out.
    I redid the primer and cement on the joint and tried again, the joint did not hold through.
    Help. I'm a a loss how to fix this! (I've restored the water supply, but no softener!)

    Also 2 things I noticed - the water main cut off inside the garage does not cut off water to the e tire home. Water keeps flowing out of the PEX until. Turn off the water cut off outside the house. Te reason I share this is - I have a water pressure regulator, but it is attached to the cut off valve (that does not turn off ware to the PEX).

    Thanks in advance
    KR
    OK, in some semblance of the order in which you brought them up...

    1) ...cant get to copper pipe without cutting drywall... This would be much easier than the plumbing nightmare you've had. You use a utility knife to cut out a rectangle that overlaps the studs, when you're ready to close up, screw it back up, spackle the seam, and touch up the paint or wallpaper. Find the studs left and right of the cavity to be exposed. It might be better to use stud finder instead of finding them by tapping in a 4p fininshing nail since we know there's plastic pipe in there :-) Joking aside, you can find the studs without a studfinder by making your horizontal cuts first. Work 3 or 4 inches outward at a time uning using several passes, the first pass is just to cut the paper cleanly, the second some of the gypsum, the third more gypsum, ... , then cut through the back side paper. Don't push hard to cut faster, you'll blow out the back of the plasterboard. when you find the stud edges, assume the studs are 1 1/2 inch wide and make your vertical cuts 3/4 inch from the edge. Don't be surprised if you find a nail. If one cut matches a board seam, there will be nails or screws holding it in place that have to be found so you don't shatter the plasterboard yanking it out. Once you get in there you'll have to join copper pipe. Unless something's changed in the last few years you shouldn't use push on or compression fittings inside a wall and you solder the copper pipe with a propane torch (without burning the house down).

    2) ... PVC pipe from Lowes...joint blowout... You don't need to cut out a joint that blew the pipe out of the fitting, just dry it up and remove the failed glue, then dry it again and when it won't dampen a paper towel you can try again. PVC glue does not set well when it gets wet. Follow the can directions carefully. The prior reply mentioning de-burring, which is using something (knife, sandpaper, etc) to break (round) the sharp corner at the pipe end on the outer edge. Prime well, wait a minute, add glue, join with 1/4 turn twist, and hold in place until it doesn't try to spit itself out. THEN WAIT. This is the step you missed. PVC pipe is ready for sewer immediately. It isn't ready for pressure for many hours. How many depends on whether the evaporating solvent inside is directly vented or it all has to diffuse out through the pipe. If you wait 24 hours you can blame the pipe or the glue if it fails, if you wait 12 hours, you can still blame them, but you might be wrong, if you wait 6 hours you should have waited longer but you sometimes you can get away with it, less than an hour and you do it again...

    3) I think you can skip the contributor's comment about primer vs cleaner, the two products have identical solvents at the big box stores and are packaged as cleaner/primer. I remember distinct products in 1970, but the cleaner was unpopular because the primer was going to clean it anyway.

    4) ...the water main cut off inside the garage does not cut off water to the entire home... the water pressure regulator (... is downstream...) Is it possible the PEX was used as the underground water supply inlet to the house? I know the builder told you it was so you could attach a softener, but that's a source somewhat more familiar with the art of prevarication than used car salesmen and politicians combined. If your city water pressure is high and fluctuates it won't be possible to set your water softener to regenerate properl when the pressure is low without wasting a lot of water and salt when the pressure is high. You'll be hauling more salt and paying forever for not having it downstrean from the pressure regulator.

    5) ..."Help. I'm a a loss how to fix this! " Using the DIY tips above may not be in your best interest, only you can decide that. Sometimes the scope of a job grows and isn't what you can do and you just hire someone to do the job or the parts you can't do and move on to the next job on the list. If you can't be sure that you can make city water pressure connections that will hold100+PSI for the next however many years, then you'll always wonder if you're going to have a flood. Only you know if this is a job you can do but I can tell you that having to listen to your wife tell the story about you getting in over your head and having to call a plumber to install the water softener will be more bearable that having to listen to your wife tell the story about how the water softener you installed exploded and flooded the whole house and you had to live in a motel while they pulled all the wet carpets and plaster out of the whole house and the mold testing and the joys of living at the motel and ... (if you have no wife or are a wife, then as an internal dialogue instead...)

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