The never-ending basement plumbing project drags on

I finally got back to working on my endless plumbing project today.

A couple weeks back, I pressure tested the new branch I ran for the outside sillcock. To do this, I soldered a female adapter onto a 12″ length of pipe, screwed a quick-connect air coupling into it, and attached the other end to my branch with a compression fitting. Then I hooked it up to the compressor, cranked it up to around 30psi, and let it sit. There was a v-e-r-y slow loss of pressure, maybe 1psi or so over several hours. This was a little troubling, but it didn’t necessarily mean there was a leak (it could be the stop valve packing, the compression fitting, or even the regulator gauge). It did make me fairly confident I didn’t have any “gushers” or “blowout” type leaks.

This morning I got the idea to use a couple compression fittings and hook the branch up to my existing plumbing. That way I can be absolutely sure that the branch holds water, and when I’m ready to make the final repair, I won’t have to worry about the branch leaking. So, that’s what I did today. Cut a short piece of copper to fit between the existing plumbing and the new branch, shut off the water, drained the plumbing, and hooked the whole mess together. When I turned the water back on, I found my pressure loss pretty quickly: it was a slow drip at the stop valve, where the valve “guts” screw into the valve body. I had taken the valve apart to sweat it, and it just needed to be tightened a bit. I also had to tighten one of the compression joints. Other than that, everything looks good, and I can finally use the sillcock I put in 6 months ago (just in time for the dead of winter. But hey — it’s frost-free)!

With that, the only thing left is to make the original repair, which was the driving force behind this entire project. Maybe I’ll get around to that by next January or so.

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