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View Full Version : How not to melt washer outlet box?



nuckphoto
03-22-2008, 10:29 AM
I am replacing leaking washing machine valves and the outlet box but have run into problems. How do you prevent the new outlet box from melting when sweating on the new copper valve adapters?:confused: I have gone through two boxes so far.

The old valves were sweated directly to the copper pipes. When I removed them, I bought the copper adapters to accept the new threaded valves.

Thank you.

Dunbar Plumbing
03-22-2008, 10:40 AM
You remove the threaded valves from the box,

sweat in short pieces short enough to get back down into the box to nut up and tighten,

but long enough make the necessary soldering to connect far enough away where the heat of the soldering doesn't transfer heat to the box.

Usually those lengths are 6-8" depending on where the holes located in the box. If it is a 2 by 6 framed wall, you can run even longer lengths and make this possible.

Somewhere on my site I have a picture to this idea.....lemme see if I can find it.

Dunbar Plumbing
03-22-2008, 10:45 AM
One (http://www.msnusers.com/DUNBARPICTUREALBUM/numerousrecentjobphotos.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=997)

Two (http://www.msnusers.com/DUNBARPICTUREALBUM/numerousrecentjobphotos.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=998)

nuckphoto
03-22-2008, 12:02 PM
Well, I guess if I didn't have this phobia about screwing things up, I might have come up with that idea. From looking at your pix, I didn't know the valves tightened (attached) to the box.

This is the old setup I'm working on. Leaks and mold were the main reason for removing the wallboard.

Thank you and thanks for the pix. A big help.

hj
03-22-2008, 01:31 PM
If you have the right valves, (and I have never seen those valves used for a washer box), then the solder connections are not close enough to the box to cause a problem.

nuckphoto
03-22-2008, 04:22 PM
If you have the right valves, (and I have never seen those valves used for a washer box)

Thank you for responding.

I believe the house was built in '82. But what's wrong with the valves? Don't you use standard water valves?

When soldering the connections, I used as small a flame as I could, but when the copper pipe and flux got real hot, the flame wrapped around the pipe and melted the part of the box behind it as well as the hole the pipe comes through.

Redwood
03-22-2008, 07:08 PM
I would recommend these for a box.http://www.siouxchief.com/oxbox/

enosez
03-23-2008, 03:58 AM
I personally like this one, though a lot more expensive.

http://www.watts.com/pro/divisions/watersafety_flowcontrol/learnabout/learnabout_intelliflow.asp

If your concerned with melting the box why not solder a 1/2 sweat by 1/2 female on some copper pipe and then thread it onto valve body assembly.

Wrex
03-23-2008, 05:28 AM
If your concerned with melting the box why not solder a 1/2 sweat by 1/2 female on some copper pipe and then thread it onto valve body assembly.

This would work well but you would probably have to enlarge the holes on the box to accomodate the hex female end of the fitting.

How about this remove the valves from the box and sweat the valves to a short length of copper pipe that extends outside the box. Insert the valves into the box. Then cut the existing tubing running to the valves to fit this stub pipe. Then simply solder the short stub pipe coming out of the valves to the existing tubing with a 1/2" to 1/2" sweat coupling.

This will keep your torch away from the plastic box and avoid melting.

hj
03-23-2008, 08:30 AM
No, I use regular washer box valves with the extended shanks and the handles on top. Even ball valves can get tight and the handles being behind the valves could make it very difficult to operate them.

Herk
03-23-2008, 08:53 AM
I've soldered many hundreds of washer boxes and have to say that I've never melted one. I'm guessing you have a torch that I would simply throw away.

As to that mold - if it were my house, I'd remove the rock on the other side of the wall and replace it. There are rules about such things.

From this site (http://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html):

"The purpose of mold remediation is to correct the moisture problem and to remove moldy and contaminated materials to prevent human exposure and further damage to building materials and furnishings. Porous materials that are wet and have mold growing on them may have to be discarded because molds can infiltrate porous substances and grow on or fill in empty spaces or crevices. This mold can be difficult or impossible to remove completely.

As a general rule, simply killing the mold, for example, with biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed, since the chemicals and proteins, which can cause a reaction in humans, are present even in dead mold. "

nuckphoto
03-24-2008, 05:44 AM
Many thanks to everyone that responded.

I do like the Ox Box and the Intelliflow boxes, but I'm sure the latter will be out of the budget. Makes me think, though, that the stainless hoses would be a very good idea, especially if we go with the double decker washer/dryer set up.

nuckphoto
03-24-2008, 05:55 AM
I've soldered many hundreds of washer boxes and have to say that I've never melted one. I'm guessing you have a torch that I would simply throw away.

As a general rule, simply killing the mold, for example, with biocide is not enough. The mold must be removed, since the chemicals and proteins, which can cause a reaction in humans, are present even in dead mold. "

The torch is one of the usual ones found in hardware stores. I kept the flame as small as possible, but not being a plumber (or even an experienced solderer) is most likely the problem.

As for the mold, behind that wall is (of course) the cubby hole in the garage where the water heater sits.

jadnashua
03-24-2008, 06:03 AM
A hotter torch means you're on the fitting for a shorter time...then the cooling can begin. A weak flame means you're on it a long time giving the heat a chance to migrate.

Fubar411
03-24-2008, 06:51 AM
I would recommend these for a box.http://www.siouxchief.com/oxbox/

After redoing my laundryroom, I wish that I had done my supply and waste in separate white boxes. Only b/c the supply hoses are notorious for bursting. If you leave the supply in an area more accessable, you can turn on and off the water when you're doing laundry, which isn't a bad idea.

Wrex
03-24-2008, 10:20 AM
A hotter torch means you're on the fitting for a shorter time...then the cooling can begin.

Indeed if you're using the 20 dollar "soldering kit" type burner with the adjusting valve that you need to light with a flint lighter then the temperature on that torch is pretty low.

I recently purchased a trigger type instant light torch burner with a can of MAPP gas and WOW was I shocked at how quickly I brought joints up to solder temperature. I can't believe I was using that other crappy burner for all these years.

Nate R
03-24-2008, 10:45 AM
I wonder how much that helps my soldering luck. I've done probably 80 joints now w/ only 1 leak. (A slow drip at that) But I never have used anything other than this:


a trigger type instant light torch burner with a can of MAPP gas

Redwood
03-24-2008, 03:40 PM
I recently purchased a trigger type instant light torch burner with a can of MAPP gas and WOW was I shocked at how quickly I brought joints up to solder temperature. I can't believe I was using that other crappy burner for all these years.

That is what I use for almost all my work. I actually took my tips, tanks, hoses, and regulators off my truck and put them in my garage. They sat unused in my truck so long I figured they were wasting space.

Dunbar Plumbing
03-24-2008, 05:53 PM
I would recommend these for a box.http://www.siouxchief.com/oxbox/



That guy tried to sell me a hamburger after that video :eek:

spryde
03-25-2008, 04:50 AM
I just saw the Oxbox at Lo*es. $25 for the double solder on system. Pretty neat.

SP

johnseeley
06-28-2010, 05:47 AM
Digging up an old thread. I was in the middle of replacing my washer and dryer and found that these valves are now leaking from the spout when shut. and valve handles are STIFF. I have the outdoor faucet type like nuckphoto which are 23 years old and I tried to remove the valve assembly to change the compression washer, but these WOULD NOT BUDGE despite all the soaking.

I wanted to ask HJ - or anyone - Which long shank valves would you recommend? The only two I noticed were mueller and webstone. And how long are the shanks? What I'm thinking is, I have the type of washer box like nuckphoto(with the waste in the middle) but with my box, the valve areas are 1" higher than the bottom of the box(with cover removed). This type: So when I stick these long shanks in, how far from the bottom of the box will they protrude? Will it be far enough from the box to sweat without melting?
Thanks so much.
John

hj
06-28-2010, 06:54 AM
The advantage of having the supply and drain in the same box is that if the valve leaks the water has a place to go, besides onto the floor. Using the valve in the picture means the copper lines come through the plastic and the connection is inside the box. The only way to prevent the box from melting with those valves is either a "silicone burn blanket" surrounding the connections, or a sheet metal barrier to keep the flame from getting to the plastic. A big torch heats faster, but reaches farther, a small flame heats slower so it causes a heat buildup. Both/either ways will damage the plastic if it is not shielded.

Hairyhosebib
06-28-2010, 08:38 AM
Get yourself a spray bottle of Laco Cool Gel or Bernzomatic Cold Coat. I saw the cold coat in my local Ace Hardware store. You can spray this stuff on a piece of cardboard, hold a torch to it and it will not catch fire. You could also just cover what you don't want to melt with a good wet rag.

johnseeley
06-28-2010, 12:40 PM
is that a response to my post? If so, I thought the whole purpose of the long shank as HJ mentioned early on in this thread, was to sweat it to pipe below the box? I was wondering if HJ can recommend a good brand of long shank valve and how long is the shank? I'm trying to find out, because if the long shank isn't long enough to sweat below the box, I would like to use couplers further down...keeping the flame away from the box. Thank you so much for any advice.

Thanks Terry for cleaning up my first post.

Terry
06-28-2010, 01:06 PM
I sweat the valves to pipe first, and then install them into the box after they have cooled.
Then I use fittings farther away, the extra distance helps.
I don't even try to solder pipe to the valve when they are in the box.

johnseeley
06-28-2010, 01:34 PM
Sounds great Terry. What is a good valve to get? What do you think of the quarter-turn ones? Doesn't have to be long shank now using your method.

Terry
06-28-2010, 03:44 PM
I like the 1/4 valves. It somewhat depends on what you can get locally.
I like the valves with the build in hammer arrestors.

johnseeley
07-04-2010, 08:34 AM
Happy 4th!!

Terry, Thanks for your help. I finally replaced my washer box and valves yesterday. Here is the pic. I bought a simple ball valve(1/4 turn) from Home Depot. I bought the box from Lowes. What do you thnk? One mistake was I didn't face the valves inward a bit.. to allow an easier bend of the hoses behind the washer. Oh well.

First after measuring everything, I attached the box to a new section of 2" PVC and added the coupler. Then attached the assembly the orig. drain trying to keep the box straight. For the copper...I sweated short pipes to the valves and one end of the couplers. Then in the wall, I performed the last two sweats- coupler to orig. pipe. Don't forget to put your rubber washers(above) and plastic plastic lock nuts(below) on the pipe before you do the final two sweats. For the rubber washers, I used garden hose washers. Worked great.

I hope this is handy for the next newbie coming along.
Constructive comments are welcome!!

Terry
07-04-2010, 09:54 AM
John,
That looks like it worked out okay.
For the others, never solder just half of a coupling, it may make the fitting harder to solder the second half, and it adds time to the job.
The coupling could have been heated once and done.

But still, nice job.

johnseeley
07-04-2010, 09:57 AM
Good to know and that goes for elbows, valves, etc where there's two ends? Thank you.

dlarrivee
07-04-2010, 12:26 PM
How do you plan to make that drywall look good now that you've created 4 butt joints for no reason...?

Terry
07-04-2010, 12:51 PM
He had to replace the valves, and that meant cutting drywall.
Sometimes you do what you have to do.
Fixing the drywall shouldn't be that hard. I like to use 20 or 40 minute mud with a few different size blades. A finish coat of topping mud, and then some texture over that.
If I were doing it, and considering it's behind a washer, how much time do you spend looking at the box that is behind and lower then the washer anyway. It would look perfect, which is too bad, because all the fine looking work would be behind the washer.

johnseeley
07-05-2010, 09:22 AM
That's right. I also had to replace the old washer box which meant opening up the sides. It's in the back of a laundry closet. It's going good. One more coat of mud. I'm looking at 3/8 to 1/2 nap to get orange peel to match orig. wall. Correct?

EDIT: Added Photo