My Old Kettle Leaks!
If you have an old kettle that has sprung a leak, the following ideas may prove useful:Leaking at a Rivet
- To seal a small leak at a rivet point, simply smear a little bit of sealant on the outside of the kettle over the rivet area. This will stop most drips/leaks. FDA Heat Resistant, food-contact approved silicons are widely available and will easily seal leaks at rivet points etc.
- If a rivet breaks, it is quite simple to replace it. Hand held 'Rivet Guns' and Rivets are available in all good hardware stores.
The Rivet size we use are: Head 4mm | Pin length can be 6-8mm | Rivet hole is 4.2mm.
Use a drill bit smaller than 4mm to gently drill out the old Rivet head. Drill slowly and gently so that you do not puncture the inner chimney wall. Then insert a new rivet through the bracket (that attaches the handle) into the hole and tighten with the gun. This will fix the bracket firmly to the side of the kettle. If replacing a rivet lower down at the chain attachment, it would be a good idea to apply a little bit of sealant (silicone, etc) to the outside of the kettle wall underneath the bracket. This will provide a better watertight seal. A leaking rivet higer up at the handle attachment is less of a problem. Simply fill the kettle to below the rivets and boil away!
If a kettle develops a leak at one of the rivest holding the handle, simply fill water to below the rivet points.
Leaking at a the bottom rim.
- Many silicons may not be suitable for sealing a leak at the bottom rim of the kettle where the temperature may exceed 200 Celsius.
- We know that many people have successfully used a product called 'JB weld' to fix older kettles (www.jbweld.com). We have not yet tried it ourselves, but following method has worked well for some customers:
- Clean off the seam area with a good rubbing with steel wool or light sand paper. Wipe off the seam area with alcohol (or other solvent) to make sure it is thoroughly clean.
- Make sure the seam does not contain any water. Dry it out by letting it sit open on a window sill that gets bright sun for a week, cook it at low heat on the stove or bake it in the oven at low heat
- Put a bead of well mixed JB Weld epoxy on the seam. Force the epoxy into the seam by firmly dragging your finger over the seam as you rotate the kettle. Let the epoxy cure for a couple of days ..or to make extra sure...follow steps 4-6 below:
- Seal up the kettle by placing the stopper/cork firmly into the kettle opening - sealing the water chamber.
- Make the kettle cold by putting it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cooling the sealed up kettle right after you apply the epoxy will cause the air in the kettle to contract and should help suck epoxy into the leak area. >Remove the kettle from the cold environment and immediately pull the stopper/cork out of the opening.
- Let the epoxy cure for a day or two.
- We know of a couple of other more unorthodox methods .....e.g. crack and egg into the water chamber, add water and boil it up. Once emptied again, a tiny fraction of the egg will have formed a seal within the bottom crimp and cure the leak. Another one we know of is ground black pepper....swirl it around in a little water a few times ... the small grains will find their way into the tiny leak and help form a seal .... apparently! Again, we are reliably informed that both of these work.
- It is sometimes possible to tighten a leaking bottom seal of a kettle with something like a vice-grips, particularly aluminium kettles which are easier to manipulate. At the bottom of Aluminium kettles, the inner chimney is rolled around, up and over the outside wall of the kettle to form a watertight seal. Try and employ on upward type motion to bring the outer rim/bead at the bottom, up higher on the outside wall of the kettle. Try and stretch it upwards even more. That can sometimes work.
- Note: It is extremely difficult to weld Steel and virtually impossible to weld thin Aluminium.
Finally, when all else fails......a slow leak will not stop the kettle from boiling if you use it without the fire base!
If the kettle leaks, place the kettle on a large stone or rock. Turn the kettle so that the dripping side is 'downhill' so to speak! Use the natural slope of the stone/rock to divert any drip/leak down the side of the rock and away from the fire in the center! In this way, the fire will not quench and the kettle will boil quickly as normal. We use this method regularly ourselves on the shores of Lough Conn (rocks are plentiful!) with perfectly good old kettles that we have grown attached to! :-)