A hole in the copper water pipe

The leak was finally fixed fairly late last night. Here it is:


There’s a nail hole in the copper pipe which supplies hot water to our kitchen sink and dishwasher.

The plumbers never showed up yesterday morning; only the gas engineer who fixed the problem the first time but as you can see, he didn’t fix the problem the first time. The loose join in a waste water pipe must have been a red herring. He told us yesterday that he was pretty sure it was a leak in mains hot or cold and so he left without doing anything since it was a plumbing leak rather than a central heating leak.

But the plumbers did not show up. They didn’t want to come. We signed up and paid for British Home Care cover for the property on the 19th of September when the previous owner’s policy expired on the same day thinking it would be a good idea to continue the cover. The previous owners have had this cover for many consecutive years and apparently never had a problem like this before. The idea behind the policy is that if you have an emergency like water leaking into a downstairs flat you can ring them and they’ll send someone to sort it out. But we must have a mark next to our property saying “difficult problem” or something because no-one wanted to come and fix it.

I rang several times yesterday getting increasingly desperate on the phone because water was running continuously into the downstairs kitchen. Finally I got someone who said we’d have to rip up our linoleum floor before they’d come to fix it. How are we supposed to do that? We don’t have tools for ripping up a kitchen floor. That’s why we purchased the Home Care policy.

In the end I had to call my own plumber who was very good and did quite a bit of investigative work before narrowing it down to a pipe leaving the hot water cylinder. Then he started cutting with a circular saw and found the source of the leak. Once he had done all the hard work the plumbers from British Home Cover (Dyno Plumbing) came out and replaced the section with the hole. On the whole, Dyno Plumbing were completely useless and I intend to complain to British Home Cover about this. Why should we pay them for emergency repairs when we need to pay for our own plumber anyway?

Now there’s a hole in the ceiling downstairs and a hole in our kitchen floor. I couldn’t care less about our kitchen floor. I don’t even want to fix it. At the most I’d like to put down a board we can lift up at any time should this happen again. I’m also keen to draw on our linoleum with a heavy marker pen a map outlining all the pipes, where they go, and what they do.

No-one has any idea how the hole in the copper pipe got there. There were no nails anywhere nearby and the cold water pipe was nested right next to the hole. Possibly a nail has been wedged in there for years and years and was the only thing stopping water from seeping out. Two weeks ago it must have started to come loose producing the first water leak. For some reason it got wedged back in. Then two days ago, maybe with the workmen poking and prodding the ceiling, and then me turning on the dishwasher forcing hot water through the pipe which expanded it, the nail fell out completely. But this is all just speculation as none of us has any idea.

How much is it all going to cost? We don’t yet know. The first ceiling repair cost £1500 of which we have already paid £1000. The Polish workmen who did the work have yet to give us a new quote. Our insurance will probably pay to fix our kitchen floor, but as I said already, I’m not sure that I want to fix it.

I wonder what new surprises next week will bring?

12 Replies to “A hole in the copper water pipe”

  1. My commiserations, Rachel. However it doesn’t look much like a nail to me. Are you sure that’s not a hole caused by a drill bit?

    1. It might be but there’s no way that could have happened recently because the hole is facing sideways and the cold water pipe is just millimetres from the hole. It’s possible that there was something soldered over the top and this soldering fell off.

      1. From the photo it looks as if the original installer may have installed a damaged pipe that he attempted to repair by soldering over an existing hole. This is not a role that solder is suited for; the proper thing to do would have been to cut the pipe off below the hole and used the undamaged length elsewhere. In addition the area around the hole appears to have been improperly cleaned and fluxed, although the passage of time makes this hard to tell for certain.

        I would be on the watch since a plumber ready to take one shortcut is always ready to take another.

  2. I don’t think you will ever know how exactly that hole in pipe turned up. I bet you will have some positive surprise next week 🙂

    I understand it can be frustrating to go through some thing like this. But don’t let these mishaps mask your blessings.

    1. Actually I feel a great sense of relief that a hole has been found and water is no longer pouring into the flat downstairs. And it’s only money.

      1. There you go!

        I can tell from experience that, the more willing you are to part with your money, the happier you will be. Seriously.

      2. Well, it depends what you spend the money on. If you donate to charity then it makes you happier and I would much rather donate £2000 pounds to charity than repairing ceilings and floors because others have blundered.

  3. What a bloody ordeal. Dyno Plumbers need a lesson in client service. Let’s hope that the leak is fixed for good and that you don’t have to go through any more frustrating and time-wasting episodes.

  4. Oh dear, that is very annoying. I sometimes wonder if the fact that plumbers are getting their business through a big organisation makes them more complacent than if they are your local guy who needs to maintain a reputation. But then one guy by himself is too small to offer the insurance. Tricky.

    1. Yeah, the local plumber running his own business was a huge step above Dyno who didn’t really do much at all.

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