View Full Version : Reaming copper pipe & noise

09-13-2006, 06:54 PM
I've been taught that I should ream copper pipe before sweating the joint.

What I mean by reaming is that after cutting pipe that there is a lip on the inside of the pipe that needs to be made flat.

I've been told to do this in order to minimize the noise of water flowing through the pipe.

Is this something that the Mythbusters need to look at? In other words, is the time I'm spending (about two minutes per joint) worth it?

Does reaming the pipe really reduce noise or does it do something else?

Last, is there an automated/power reamer for the home/consumer market?

09-14-2006, 05:20 AM
Reaming the pipe may reduce some noise but will increase flow due to lack of restriction / cavation caused by the lip. It is not as important on a repair as it would be on a whole house.

What are you using to ream the pipe now?

09-14-2006, 05:39 AM
I have never heard any noise in copper tubing that was not reamed, nor any premature failure because of it.

Gary Slusser
09-14-2006, 12:02 PM
I've never heard of it causing noise but... Not reaming the tubing end is the prime cause of erosion corrosion caused water leaks in copper tubing. That's one cause of pinhole leaks in copper tubing.

Bob NH
09-14-2006, 12:39 PM
is there an automated/power reamer for the home/consumer market?

That little pointy thing on the side of your tubing cutter is there for reaming the end after you cut it.

If you want power, you can put a countersink bit in your battery powered drill. You could grind an old spade bit to do it but that could be dangerous.

master plumber mark
09-14-2006, 05:46 PM
you can get into big trouble on commercial jobs
if you dont ream out the pipes......

if someone wanted to figure out a way not to
pay for the work , that could be one of them,,,

also not useing purple primer
has given the scummey contractors a reason not to pay
the plumber.....and it went to court and the plumber lost....

but in the real world reeming copper pipe is not necessary...

Dunbar Plumbing
09-14-2006, 05:56 PM
It's a practice I should do more often although I don't work with copper other than repairs.

Hey MPM and Cass,

Have you gotten a ton of water heater replacements the past couple weeks? My phone won't stop ringing for them.....turned half of them down and only doing a couple for my repeat customers. Seems like everyone has high pressure these days; I'm putting in PRV's and EXP tanks every week.

I'm using a different style PRV, one that has 3/4" sweat unions on both sides. All I have to do is hold the PRV to the water line and cut at my marks, install within 10 minutes instead of using threaded connections anymore. More to solder up and a possible leak through the threaded connection. I'll admit, I'm tired of turning a wrench for them. The PRV is actually designed for a union on the outgoing side anyway.

We got someone in town soldering those 3/4" MIP's into the top of the PRV. That can't be good.

master plumber mark
09-14-2006, 06:00 PM
yes Rugged

about two weeks ago I had a rash of Rheem

gas hot water heaters I put in about 5 years ago

go bad on me..... had about 8 in one week.....

all under tank warranty...

its a combo of high pressure and a too small

magnazeium rod in the heaters....

and they dont want to spend themoney for a therm exp tank or for the pressure reduceing valve either....

what is the gong rate for therm exp tanks and
pressure reduceing valves these days in Ohio and Kentucky??

09-14-2006, 06:01 PM
I use one of these at work:


Now regarding noise. I'd have to say that the piping would have to be rather undersized for noise to be an issue. Undersized piping will create excessive velocity, but you would most likely hear that as water hammer.

The most common issues for noise are valves with washers, most notably stops, where the rubber has come loose from the stem. This generally causes a whistle, moan or chatter. Worn out ballcocks are also notorious for this.

A severely restricted/corroded fitting can cause noise, as can a damaged globe or gate valve.

As far as the piping itself causing, doubtful.

Now, on to why one needs to ream and deburr their cuts.

The duller the cutter wheel (and the less patient the plumber is) can cause some big time issues with erosion. Recirculated piping systems are where you'll see this.

Combine a pipe not properly reamed and an oversized circ pump (creating excessive velocity) running 24/7 and you'll see pinhole leaks downstream of the fittings. I've seen this on a few occasions in facilities less than five years old. The unreamed pipe ends create/cause an eddy as water flows past them. These eddies bounce off the interior of the piping as they travel along, eroding it away little by little.

In a box somewhere around here I have an 8" long piece of 3/4" L copper with a coupling in the middle. It was a piece that developed a pinhole leak on a recirc line. Looking from the upstream end, the pipe is nice and smooth. Downstream of the coupling, the interior of the pipe resembles the Grand Canyon.

During that repair, I cut an additional 1' off the downstream line because of erosion. That pipe had been in use for 3 years.

I ream every piece of pipe I cut, and so does anyone who works on my jobs. Be it copper, plastic, steel or cast (cut on the chop saw), dwv water gas or process, they all get the treatment. Even the vent piping gets it.

Lately, we've been using alot of water soluble flux. Water soluble flux contains no petroleum, so it's not a good lubricant when assembling fittings. We've had to be pretty deliberate with deburring to ease assembly of the fittings. I really have to resist the urge to reach for the Nokorode several times a day, lol.

Dunbar Plumbing
09-14-2006, 06:06 PM
The cost of materials or the charge to install? I've been getting anywhere from $300 to $500 to install the pair.....the higher number indicates replacements of shutoffs and some pipe reworking.

I'm getting these PRV installs where a wall has to be opened up in a basement and have to work within the confines of a 14" by 14" access panel, have to offset 45 the PRV just get it in between studs if the pipe was close to the concrete wall. All in all they are time consuming. EXP tanks I'll always rework to turn up (vertical) so I can't just unscrew/screw a new one in.

Materials I have about $55 in both tank and PRV, add another $10 for copper pipe and materials. I give a flat rate if I can walk right up and change them out.....I leave a window of a higher price if an access through drywall is in order/tight area. I'll post pics of a 12 gallon expansion tank install that will have you laughing, and the inspector passed it.

master plumber mark
09-14-2006, 06:11 PM
Its almost all gravey isnt it??

90% of the time it almost too easy .....

I wish I could put in two or three of them per day.....

but it seems that everyone around here would rather
just change out the heater every 6years.

Dunbar Plumbing
09-14-2006, 06:29 PM
I drive home some really hard points about the cause and effect of high water pressure and point them to a link on my website that is straight from Watts. It's an easy sell after that and I let others know the reason I'm there at their home to begin with.....is high water pressure itself.

Fix it now while I'm replacing the water heater and the devices pay themselves back in a few short years with less water consumption.

Here's the link I provide them:

High Water Pressure (http://www.wattscanada.ca/pro/divisions/watersafetyflowcontrol/support/support_faq_wprv.htm)

09-15-2006, 04:11 AM
Reaming the pipe may reduce some noise but will increase flow due to lack of restriction / cavation caused by the lip. It is not as important on a repair as it would be on a whole house.

What are you using to ream the pipe now?

The tool I use is the standard reamer/deburrer available at most hardware stores. It's a red thing that has a pointy end (reamer) on one side and a hollow end (deburrer) on the other side.

09-15-2006, 04:11 AM
If you want to save a lot of time Cash Acme makes a sharkbite Pressure regulator SharkBite® EB-86SB Pressure Reducing Valve.

No soldering or anything just slip it on and go.

I haven't used any yet but just saw one on a job I was on. Looks pretty slick.

I don't even know who carrys them in my area.

09-15-2006, 04:21 AM
I use one of these at work:


That seems to be a bit of overkill for my needs. :)

09-15-2006, 04:35 AM
is there an automated/power reamer for the home/consumer market?

That little pointy thing on the side of your tubing cutter is there for reaming the end after you cut it.

That thing seems to be far too flimsy.

I (ugh, manually) deburr so that the inside of the reamed pipe (using my pinky) feels like it is perfectly smooth.

So now I hear that deburring is

a) done on commercial jobs
b) May have little to do with noise
c) Not doing it is the (a?) major cause of pinhole leaks.

I'm not a professional but I've done a fair amount of plumbing over the years. I've been careful to deburr my latest renovation and I am 65% certain that the noise made by water running through the pipes is a good deal less than my previous amateur work. I need/want quiet because I've got a lot of exposed pipe in my basement above my head. I'm a computer programmer by profession and my basement with the exposed pipes is what is laughably called my office. I wanted as much quiet as I could get.

I was told by my contractor (not a plumber) tha deburring reduces noise. It made sense to me.

My concern was because in my previous house I had a shower in a partition wall between my bedroom and my bathroom. It was damn noisy. It was also installed by a prefessional plumber. I could hear an annoying "water running through the pipes" sound in the bedroom and the bathroom when the shower was running.

I've got the same situation in my current house. This time, though, I made sure to deburr. I also put in sound board. I put in plastic plumbing grommets to carry the cpper through the studs.

Quiet! I hear almost no noise in the bedroom and no pipe noise in the bathroom. Just the sound of water running through a shower head and hitting the shower tile.

It's unscientific. I wish I had a real comparative double-blind test.

Nonetheless, I share this as anecdotal evidence.

09-15-2006, 05:00 AM
You could get some pipe insulation and wrap the pipe to reduce some of the noise.

09-15-2006, 06:35 AM
If you could hear the water running through the pipes it was not because of burrs. Either the velocity was too high, or you were hearing transient noise from a faucet being used. Your other sound deadening items are more likely to be the reason you do not hear anything, along with the new house having a different pipe routing.