sorry new post, flux from airing cupboard cleaned but cannot clean it from pipes in loft

Discussion in 'Engineers' Talk' started by lady_new_2_diy, May 8, 2018.

  1. Hi

    I cleaned the bright green line of flux off the pipe in the airing cupboard, with a plastic pan scourer, but could not access the source of the flux leak in the attic (possibly the join) as there are other pipes in the way, plus cables, and I'm also worried i've knocked the earth bonding. Also, there is green flux on another pipe.

    The pipe in the attic that bled flux into the airinig cupboard is inaccessible to me.

    The plumber said that he is not going to look at all the joins to clean the flux off each one, as the loft is ten metres long with it being a big flat.

    Since noticing the flux last night, I no longer trust the plumber, I think he will fob me off. He left loads of mess up there too, bits of lagging etc, and dunno if he's used the right size lagging.
    Meanwhile, given the corrosion on the pipes in the pictures below, I am really worried as decent plumbers round here are all usually booked up and in the meantime a lot of damage could be done if the plumber was too lazy to clean all the flux off the pipes.

    Below are the pictures of the cleaned flux in the airing cupboard.
    Can you see the corrosion(lighter colour and green corrosion at teh bottom where i wiped some off with my hand in the small hours?
    The second pic is another pipe with flux on.
    The third pic has a red arrow indicating the pipe that was bleeding flux into the airing cupboard.

    I am worried as the plumber has refused to go over all the joins in the loft, and am worried that the flux will erode them if left. There is no way I can access them the loft is far too big and is unsafe as it is not boarded out.
    Sorry for the fresh post I just wanted you to know I have been pro active.
    Was I right in using a plastic pan scourer to clean off the flux, I forgot to dry the pipes though.
    Here are the pics, any help would be really appreciated. Please dont post just to tell me not to worry, I need to know if my pipes are going to be damaged, because I might have to enlist the help of another plumber.


    corrosion after wiping flux off with wet plastic pan scourer, while pipe was hot with heating on-note the green bit of corrosion at the bottom where I wiped it off with my hand 24 hrs ago, I cant get this off, and am worried it will cause a small leak.
    corrosion line from flux wiped from top of pipe as it leaves loft, you cannot see the green in the hole in the plasterboard on the photo but I tried to wash that off and just made the plasterboard soggy.

    Another newpipe with flux on join, you cannot see the green much on the photo there is much more in teh flesh
    flux on other new pipe.jpg

    Red arrow shows pipe that was bleeding flux, I cannot access it to clean flux off, worried what damage flux will do to pipe if not cleaned off
    red arrow shows pipe where line of corrosion came from.jpg

    Also, I tried to wipe the back of another pipe, that i could not see with a piece of kitchen roll and that has got green on but I could not see what I was doing because all the pipes are close together.

    If a small amount of time can do this, what will happen if the flux is not removed from the pipes? See corrosion in red circle.
    corrosion left by flux.jpg
    Also, worryingly, hes got flux on the plasterboard between the loft and the airing cupboard, i tried to wash it off but i've just wet the plasterboard.

    Thanks, sorry for the long post but ive been pro active in cleaning flux off pipe in airiing cupboard, just worrried about the rest of the joins on the pipes in the loft thanks I really appreciate any reassurance or any warnings so I can tell the plumber when he comes at the end of the week.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  2. I've just read this post,161370
    It says "Yes, flux is an acid. And many plumbers use way to much of it, leaving behind accummulations of flux residue in the piping they're joining. If you research the matter at the Copper Pipe Manufacturers level, you'ld find that this damage is called 'mitigation of Copper Pipe due to acid reflux'! (A ball of flux will roll down the piping, creating little pin hole leaks). Not so much a problem on hot water systems that can flush the nasties, but 'bad' on the cold water system, or any system not properly flushed after construction! Hire a plumber that doesn't ream the pipe joints and the problem escalates! "

    There is lots of flux on the outside of the cold water pipe, which is the last photo, and I am worried there are or will be pin hole leaks in it now. If the flat wasnt leasehold i wouldnt be too worried but as it is, and there has already been many other construction problems related to the flat, they are sick of the flat, although they acknowledge the problems. A ball of flux did roll down the piping, not to mention the excess flux left in the joins the plumber said he would not look at.

    My plumber says that other plumbers just scaremonger and take the mick out of each other but i think hes fobbing me off. I fear I will have to get another plumber, but the decent ones wont do the work without a letter from the building owner.

    Will the central heating pipes in the loft all be hot or will there be cold ones, there are two rows of pipes going from one end of the flat to the other.

    Please someone help with this as I am getting really worried. Plumber said hes been going 20 years and hasnt had a leak yet but i dont believe him.
    Also, he has a very old VAT number considering hes only been going 20 years, i know the number is old cos I used to work in the VAT office and when i started in 1987 numbers started with 4 and as more traders registered they started with 5 and then 6 and 7 and when I left the numbers began with 9-this suggests to me he is using a de-registered VAT number.

    PS I felt along the pipe that I wiped the flux off and the only bit that feels rough is the bottom bit that I circled in red, telling me that corrosion has taken place. pls see below
    corrosion left by flux.jpg
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
  3. It was too late to edit teh above post, I felt with my fingers, along the liine where the flux had been wiped off and the bit circled in red is the only bit that feels rough - that, to me, is evidence of corrosion, so regardless of the scaremongers, I found out for myself that corrosion happens.
    Please somebody help, Im scared stiff there are loads more little balls of excess flux corroding the outside of the pipes in the loft.
    PS I forgot to mention the pipe that had green flux on also had it on the lagging.
  4. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    I'd be more worried about the state of the wiring up there. Looks tangled in all sorts
  5. ramseyman

    ramseyman Active Member

    I really think you are worrying unduly about this. I have seen so many installations where flux has not been totally wiped off but have yet to see a problem where I could definitely say the flux has caused it. Close that loft hatch, forget about it and enjoy the sunshine, it's the longest day in about 5 weeks!
    teabreak likes this.
  6. facilities

    facilities Guest

    For gods sake Dam0n don’t give her something else to worry herself/us about :eek:
    CGN, Heat, Dam0n and 1 other person like this.
  7. Dam0n

    Dam0n Active Member

    Ah sorry all looks tip top :D
  8. That slight blemish is almost certainly nothing to do with corrosion. It is just a blemish, nothing more.

    Please chill. It'll be fine.
  9. Could it be a danger? If so, how?
  10. I've just been up in the loft and noticed the plumber has spilt green flux on the electric cable, the white plastic cable (not trunking, actual cable plastic covering copper inside cable), is also split, as this is near pipes, is this a fire risk?
    The lagging is very poor so the cables could heat up and i am worried that in the winter there could be a fire in the loft.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  11. Please someone look at these two pictures of split wire with green flux spilt on them, im really worried they are a fire risk. I know flux neutralises on ccopper but what if its spils on plastic cable, could it have split the cable?
    thanks please help really worried aobut fire. Copper inside cable exposed, see pics, thanks. Pictures dont show copper wire inside cable very well but I can see it inside the split plastic cable.
  12. CGN

    CGN Well-Known Member

    How old are you?
  13. 52, am i at risk of a fire if i switch my heating or have a bath? Im panicking like mad. I know photos arent clear but you can see the copper wire inside cable and im worried flux gonna damage plastic wire even more even if it doesnt damage copper pipes, also worried about heat coming from poorly lagged pipes.
    52 in september. worried flux has caused that split in the cable.
    worrried heat will damage cables, scared stiff of fire risk, just need to know if i am in danger.
    Last edited: May 15, 2018
  14. CGN

    CGN Well-Known Member

    Put it this way, that copper pipe will outlast you and me. I'm taking a day off tomorrow, hopefully the weather will be good :)
  15. No. I'm worried about the split cable in the pictures above, im worried about the copper inside the cable which may be a fire risk. you reassured me about the pipes, but what about the cable with flux spilt on it, could the flux damage the cable, coudl it have caused the cut in the cable?
  16. The flux will not have caused that damage to the cables, but clearly something else has.

    At the risk of causing additional anxiety, I wonder if it's mice - the holes looks a bit rough and 'chewy'?

    Can you see bare copper inside (obviously being careful not to touch it...)? From the looks of the slight damage being on one side of the flat cable, if any copper is exposed in the wire inside, it'll almost certainly only be on a single cable and only on the side of that cable, so nicely away from the other two wires and almost certainly not a risk.

    Could you - very carefully - take a close-up photo looking in to the damage so we can see the cable inside? I suspect there will only be a tiny bit of the side of a single wire exposed, so it would all be made ok with a few wraps of insulation tape over the whole thing.

    Flux didn't cause that damage, but have you any idea what did? Any signs of mice? Perhaps it was damaged on installation.

    Please don't panic, tho' - it certainly is NOT going to spontaneously cause a fire as it is.
  17. Thanks @Devil's Advocate
    I have had rodents in the loft before, I had squirrel nuts at the far end of the loft 2 years ago.

    Yes, I can see bare copper inside the cable.

    What worries me is that there is yards of cable in the loft and either the plumber or mice could have cut it.

    I can't get a better photo than that, sorry, I tried loads of times, but copper is definitely more exposed inside the cable than the pictures show.
  18. It's hard to tell what the cause was (although certainly not flux). The edges are rough, and this could be from accidental contact with a moving saw or from a chewy mouse.

    Since copper is exposed inside, I would certainly suggest getting a sparky to have a look at it. Almost certainly all they'll do is wrap insulating tape around it as chances are only the side of one cable is exposed. I suspect you'll be charged for a half-hour job and a roll of tape.

    Ask the sparky what they think the cause of the damage is - they will almost certainly have seen this before. If it's mice, you are going to need to set traps and ideally find the entry point 'cos they are clearly hungry and not fussed about what they eat.
  19. Hi
    Thanks @Devil's Advocate As the flat is leasehold I am not suppposed to allow anyone in the loft. I should not have allowed the gas safe engineer in there to install the copper pipes, as I read the housing association's email wrongly. The loft is theirs. Their email said they have no problem with tradesmen working on pipes in my 'property' meaning just the flat, excluding the loft. If I was to just leave it, could it be a fire risk?
    There is loads of strips of silver solder on the floor of the loft, do you think the wire could have been split by hot solder wire and melted it?

    PS there is no mouse poo nearby, i know mice are incontinent and i had them in a previous house, there was little turds all over the place, sorted that problem though. No little mouse turds near the area in loft.
  20. No, it isn't 'melt' damage and it isn't 'chemical' (eg from flux). It is abrasion damage likely caused by some cutting tool - a saw or a tooth...

    Will it cause a fire? I'd happily bet it won't. There is no reason for it to do so - it's just a teeny tiny bit of exposed copper wire nestling within a couple of layers of thick plastic. Something further would have to happen to it to make it a hazard.

    Personally, tho', I would prefer to have it wrapped in tape. You are 'new to DIY', but this is an easy DIY task. BUT, you should first confirm it's as I reckon - the insulation on the wire inside is only partly damaged (ie not all the way around that wire) and this is on the side facing the outer hole.

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