Fixing copper pipe without removing pipe?


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Old 04-16-16, 07:23 PM
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Fixing copper pipe without removing pipe?

First time soldering copper.
I used new water soluble flux and lead free solder, and a regular coleman propane tank.


Like the fist picture in the link that person posted is similar to what I have for one joint, not as bad of a gap but similar. The rest of my joints are all good.

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Someone replied to him that they were a pro plumber and said to 'repair' it, he can add flux to just that spot and resolder just that spot.

Thant's what I'm hoping to do only because I have so many other fittings so close to this spot. the heat needed to pop this fitting out to re-do the whole fitting with new sanding and new flux might un-do the surrounding joints. the joint is on a T and about 3 inches to the other side is a slip coupling joint.

I am still researching, but key words to find exactly what I'm trying to do is getting a bit hard to find exactly what I'm looking to do.

One tutorial said if this happens, I can't even re-use the same fitting? I reused other fittings and they look fine.
The waterline with this joint in question has been under pressure for 2 hours and still bone dry. I almost want to just leave it.
Do not recommend shark push fittings. I tried those first and do not like them.
In retrospect, I should have just bought ~$20 in pex and crimps and a ~$75 crimper and returned it after about 10 joints but I did it all with solder.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-16-16 at 07:33 PM. Reason: added pics from link
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Old 04-16-16, 07:30 PM
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If it's solid and it's not leaking..... don't mess with it.

The key to making reliable soldered connections is the pipe and the fittings MUST be absolutely clean. Even to the point of over cleaning. A dirty joint will not take the solder.

I went back and added the three pictures from the link you left. The top two are cold solder joints. The middle one is really bad. The third one is pretty good. Any gap in the fitting is a potential leak.

The top one could probably be fixed with a little flux and solder. The middle one is clearly dirty.
 
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Old 04-16-16, 07:48 PM
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thanks for the reply. Could be a cold solder like you said. Someone else said that on a different forum with my thread. Maybe I didn't heat it long enough in fear of un-doing the rest of the T. I didn't heat the solder, I heated the pipe until the solder melts without the torch near it though. I am very tempted to just put flux over the gap (it's smaller than what the pics shows, and it does have silver on both the coupling and straight pipe which I guess is good). I might just touch it up without taking the whole thing apart.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 03:56 AM
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Not recommended but I have had luck with doing your way. To not over heat other joints use damp rags on each side of joint. It will keep the other joints cool enough.Remember there can be no water in pipe.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 05:27 AM
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There can not be any water in the pipe or all the heat in the world would not be enough, you need to drain the pipe. But, as Pete said, if it has been under pressure and not leaking, then it is a good joint even it it looks ugly. Dry pipe, brush with flux and re-heat until solder flows will work.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 08:01 AM
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That middle picture is a cold solder joint. It's easier to fix it now before you run water through the pipes.
You will have to take it apart even if it involves removing other fittings.

When reassembling, you can use the old pipe, but don't use the old elbows. That's just to make cleaning easier.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 09:07 AM
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The pictures I posted for him were from another site and are not his fittings. He was making an analogy between his and those.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 09:27 AM
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OK. Got it.

If it's like the top, maybe fixable without disassembly.

Thanks Pete.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 10:34 PM
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If there's flux in the fitting and thus it wasn't originally over heated to where it burnt away, then I agree, it's not really different to just patch a small gap vs when doing it the first time. A trick to get the solder to melt faster without heating the joint so much that the rest of it drips out is to heat up the solder slightly so that it melts faster, not so much that it's in the flame as if this is welding and thus results in a cold joint, but it might help to have the solder tip near the heat.

I ended up re-doing the whole T, and then that was the third time the same Tee was used and I think that's why it failed that time. I did heat it up really hot and sand it all out but it was still silvery, I didn't dremel it down like some people do to reuse fittings. Store was closed at that point but I got a new Tee today and it's all good for now. joints look perfect and I feel like I mastered it. Tight space Tees and everything, elbows and couplings are simple now even with just a coleman and a vintage torch tip and harder-to-work with water soluble and lead free solder.

It was probably fine how it was with the gap smaller than the photo. Pro plumber videos on youtube even show the gap sometimes.

I really don't trust soldering for some reason though. Like you said, the joint is inside the coupling and you can't inspect it. I like Pex, and it's so much faster, and can freeze to some degree with no harm. The actual soldering I like seeing the silver melt but the prep work and everything was a PITA. I had to realign a whole bunch of other lines leading to the main area I was working on.





How to solder a copper plumbing Tee

How to solder a T How to solder a Tee How to solder a copper T how to solder a copper Tee

I had trouble doing a T in a tight space. First two joints on it went good but flux on the 3rd must have burnt away before I got to it or it was just a dirty Tee reused for the 2nd or 3rd time. I do two joints at once, let it cool down gradually, I don't shock it with a cold rag like some recommend not to do. Then I apply flux to the third pipe and pop it in a do just that one and it doesn't overheat the other joints.
 
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Old 04-19-16, 12:06 AM
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Soldering takes practice. I don't do it professionally but I do a lot of it and occasionally I'll get a crappy joint. I try to solder all three sides of a tee in one shot.
 
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Old 04-19-16, 08:28 AM
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If you're going to be doing more copper work, I suggest you switch to MAPP gas rather than propane.

MAPP gas will heat the joint much quicker. Apply the solder only after flux starts to boil.
The solder should flow easily and don't spend a lot of time working the joints.
 
 

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