Pressure Test

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 02/27/2013 - 11:34

There's going to be a lot of pressure today.

Today, our plumbing skills are being put to the test.

It's pressure test day.

Will we pass? Or flunk out and spend the night redoing everything?

Step 1 Diagram
Step 1

We finished up running all the plumbing supply hot and cold lines to all the bathrooms, kitchens, ice makers, and to the washer and to the dryer. Tell me I'm not the last person on earth to learn that dryers need water lines too?

Isn't it called a DRY-er??? As in it dries things? Then why the heck does it need a water line? How possibly can you dry clothes better by adding water?

Even though it makes no sense, we put the water lines in because it's certainly easier to do it now, than to add one later on, after drywall is up.

Step 2 Diagram
Step 2 Instructions

All the water lines are brought in neatly to the main plumbing manifolds in the garage wall. We placed the manifolds right under the bathroom, very close to the kitchens, so this actually went pretty fast. By drilling holes in the sides of the studs, we can get the plumbing supply lines neatly directed right to the manifolds. It's going to get buried behind drywall, but at least I know it's neat and tidy in the wall.

Are you like me? Even though you know you'll never see it again, you gotta be neat? Tell me I'm not the only one that paints the underside of furniture ... just because ... you will know it's not painted?

Step 3 Diagram
Step 3 Instructions

See the blue gauge on top of the manifold? It measures air pressure. It's got an air inlet at top and you add air to the water lines. If there's a leak, the pressure gauge won't hold and you'll see it drop, signaling you messed up somewhere.

But before we can fill up the lines with air, we have to connect all the water lines by crimping them to the valves and stub outs. The manifold above is done.

Step 4 Diagram
Step 4 Instructions

Where water is needed, we need plumbing stub-outs. We attach to the studs in the wall a bracket and place the stub-outs in them. Notice the ends of the stub outs are sealed? This is so you can pressure test for leaks, and then when you hook up your sink, you just cut the end off and hook up faucets. Or washers. Or refrigerators. Or, yes, dryers.

But on the bottom, open end, we'll need to crimp the white supply lines on that will eventually bring the water to the stub-outs.

Step 5 Diagram
Step 5 Instructions

We've rented a crimping tool. To me it looks like a craft button cover tool ... only it cost $1200 instead of $12. The plumbing supply store rented it for $15 a day.

Step 6 Diagram
Step 6 Instructions

On one end, we prep the tubing with the crimping tool.

Step 7 Diagram
Step 7 Instructions

Can you see the tubing is flared out now?

Step 8 Diagram
Step 8 Instructions

The flared end fits over the fitting

Step 9 Diagram
Step 9 Instructions

And then you slide the ring over the flared end.

Step 10 Diagram
Step 10 Instructions

And then that piece is crimped into place to seal the deal.

Step 11 Diagram
Step 11

That's the cold.

Step 13 Diagram
Step 13

And then we do the hot, and then move on to the next water line.

This actually goes really fast, and before we knew it, all of the water lines were crimped and we were ready for the pressure test.

Step 14 Diagram
Step 14

We start at zero.

Step 15 Diagram
Step 15

And add pressure up to 100 pounds per square inch.

Do we have a leak?

We were scoring a hundred, but now it's saying more like a 92.  And this is a test, 100 is a perfect score, but 92 doesn't cut it.  We've got a leak and we've flunked.

Now we have to find the leaks.

The Ram sprayed the connections with a soapy water mixture.

Not the shower fixture.  Whew.  That would be a tough one to get to.

But suddenly, bubbles started growing around some of the joints under the fridge water box.

When air leaks out of a joint, it causes the soapy water to bubble.  We've got leaks.  And lots of them.

All of the leaks were coming from the joints made with the teflon tape.  None of the solder or crimped joints caused us any problems.  

So it was a matter of taking apart each leaky connection,

Reapplying tape and tightening the joint again, and then pressure testing again.

And doing that until there were no more bubbles.  

And the pressure held at 100PSI.

And we finally passed! Yay!!!!  

Our plumbing lines are ready for water, and we are ready to move on to the next step - the phone and networking and tv lines.  With all the big mechanical steps taken care of, it's exciting to think drywall is actually going to happen!


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