copper pipe soldering

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11 years 5 months ago #33013 by kai
copper pipe soldering was created by kai
The main pipe coming into the house has sprung a leak it is copper soldered to a copper joint. Temporarily in has been wrapped it self amalgamating tape to stop it spraying the floor boards we just got dried out after the last leak (washing tub taps in the laundry)
OH thinks it would be cheaper to buy a braising torch and remelt the solder.
OH is not a plumber, he is great with plastic pipe joints, but no experience in copper.

My thought is that it is a high pressure mains joint, stuff it get the plumber in.

thoughts please? how easy is copper pipe to fix, or is the plumber the best and cheaper option?

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11 years 5 months ago #439375 by Kiwi303
Replied by Kiwi303 on topic copper pipe soldering
I would get the plumber, if you need to buy a brazing torch, you obviously don't have extensives eperience with brazing, so for a good repair of an in-situ pipe having the pros do it is better.

I have brazed in the past, but only on pieces I couldmove around to get a good angle on. I wouldn't want to do a pipe somewhere where I might scorch the walls :P

You Live and Learn, or you don't Live Long -anon

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11 years 5 months ago #439376 by spark
Replied by spark on topic copper pipe soldering
Hi Kai,

I am not a plumber, but I admit to having soldered copper pipe.

You will not only need a grunty torch, you will also need plumber's flux and silver solder (do not use 60/40 lead/tin solder - that pipe is for drinking water!). Safety glasses and welding gloves (or sturdy leather gloves) are a good idea too.

Your first concern should be fire safety, that the flame from your torch won't toast the timbers of your home and that where you are heating the pipe is far enough away from where the pipe touches flamable material that it won't scorch it too (copper pipe is a very good conductor of heat!).
So, you want to have a fire extinguisher, and maybe some WET plain cotton rags to wrap around the pipe between where you are heating it and where you don't want the heat to go (the heat traveling down the pipe must boil the water out of the rag before it can scorch the wood on the far side of the rag, etc). If the joint is close to a tap, then you will have to dissassemble it to remove the rubbers from it, or put a wet rag around the pipe between the heated joint and the heat-sensitive fitting, etc.

Since you said that it is the main water supply pipe, on some homes, this is used as part of the main earth for the 230v wiring in the house. It's a very good idea to turn off your power at the main switch, because if your don't and you have an open-circuited neutral, there could be electric current flowing in your water pipe (which can also cause corroison of water pipes) and you could get a nasty shock when you break the circuit by unsoldering the pipe and then complete the circuit across the break in the pipe with your body!

Since you are not a plumber, if you stuff up the job, and flood your house, your insurance company (depends on how picky they are) may decline to pay.

Still with me? drain the water out of the pipe (you will have big problems if you do not do this) and make sure that the pipe is open to atmosphere somewhere (leave a tap on, or the end of the pipe open where you disconnected it to drain). Heat the leaky join in the pipe with your torch, and when the solder melts (it will go shinny and runny) pull the joint apart (it should come apart easy as) - if there is still any water about it may flash to steam if it makes contact with hot metal!

If you are unlucky, you may find that the pipe and or the fitting has corroded through (and not just the old solder) - if this is the case, you should idealy replace the corroded fitting, and or cut the pipe shorter and solder a replacement section onto the end of it (use a proper pipe-cutter, not a hacksaw). Or you can try to "#8 wire it" by plugging the corrosion holes with solder, but that is taking chances and pushing your luck...

To re-make the connection, you need to thoroughly clean and dry the mating surfaces, then apply flux (the stuff I have used is like a gel) to the mating surfaces, push together, heat until the joint is hot enough to melt the solder (you may have to add aditional solder), and then very importantly, do not disturb or allow the joint to move until the solder has sufficiently cooled. Remember to clean down the outside of the joint and any other part of the pipe that has got flux (acid) on it with a damp rag.

You may find this video and article useful:

www.thomaspenrose.com/diy_plumbing_01.htm

Cheers

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11 years 5 months ago #439397 by kai
Replied by kai on topic copper pipe soldering
spark from what you have said, I really think we should get a plumber.

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11 years 5 months ago #439403 by GrantK
Replied by GrantK on topic copper pipe soldering

kai;438749 wrote: spark from what you have said, I really think we should get a plumber.

Absolutely! Braising with Silphos is no job for a novice :eek:

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11 years 5 months ago #439437 by wandering free
Why not remake it with crox fittings, no heat required, as long as it's not in a wall and can be got at if it leaks, you would have to buy or borrow a crox tool, but very simple to use.

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11 years 5 months ago #439450 by kai
Replied by kai on topic copper pipe soldering
Plumber has been and gone, took him about an hour, I dread to think how long it would have taken OH

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11 years 5 months ago #439583 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic copper pipe soldering
Well that's a good resolution. No disrespect to your OH, but something crucial like a main pipe is not something that the inexperienced in copper soldering should practise on.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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