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Thread: Wondering if I made a mistake sweating copper

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Default Wondering if I made a mistake sweating copper

    Hi,
    I've sweated copper before with no leaks. This time I have 1" fittings that needed to be connected to 3/4" pipe, so I have 3/4 copper adapters. I wasn't thinking about it of course til after I was done, but I sweated all the 3/4 adapters onto the 1" connectors without also sweating to the pipes themselves. I was wondering if when I heat up the fitting again to connect the pipe, if I'll screw up the original sweated joints?
    I sure hope not since there's eight of them and those 16 pieces were pretty expensive. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    -- Jeff

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Not sure if I have the picture correctly, but the unsoldered joints must be disassembled, cleaned, and fluxed before soldering. If you don't go wild with the torch and overheat the joint, you can probably get the new joints soldered OK without messing up the previous ones. If you do have to take the original joints apart, you can reuse the fittings although cleaning out the old solder can be a PITA, it's done all of the time.

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    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Hi Gary,
    that's what I wanted to know. I'm uncertain whether I'll have issues
    til hooking it all up. I hope not because removing the solder and redoing all of it does sound like a major pita. Just to give you the full picture; what this is for is to hook up whole house water filter and softener.
    So, it goes like this: I'll need to connect to the incoming 3/4" copper supply to the house. That connects first to a main on/off valve, then a prefilter, then the carbon filter, then the softener tank then back out to
    the house. So, all those connections between units required a step up to
    1" fittings from the 3/4" of the house. So, picture the first connector which
    would be a 3/4" adapter to a 1" threaded connector. There's 8 of those and I pre-soldered all of the adapters to the connectors.
    Thanks for your input.
    -- Jeff

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    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff_bathroom View Post
    Hi Gary,
    that's what I wanted to know. I'm uncertain whether I'll have issues
    til hooking it all up. I hope not because removing the solder and redoing all of it does sound like a major pita. Just to give you the full picture; what this is for is to hook up whole house water filter and softener.
    So, it goes like this: I'll need to connect to the incoming 3/4" copper supply to the house. That connects first to a main on/off valve, then a prefilter, then the carbon filter, then the softener tank then back out to
    the house. So, all those connections between units required a step up to
    1" fittings from the 3/4" of the house. So, picture the first connector which
    would be a 3/4" adapter to a 1" threaded connector. There's 8 of those and I pre-soldered all of the adapters to the connectors.
    Thanks for your input.
    -- Jeff
    Just sweat the joints. If the presoldered joint heats up just flux it externally and hit it with some more solder to make sure there are no gaps. No problem

  5. #5
    That's all folks! Gary Slusser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff_bathroom View Post
    Hi Gary,
    that's what I wanted to know. I'm uncertain whether I'll have issues
    til hooking it all up. I hope not because removing the solder and redoing all of it does sound like a major pita. Just to give you the full picture; what this is for is to hook up whole house water filter and softener.
    So, it goes like this: I'll need to connect to the incoming 3/4" copper supply to the house. That connects first to a main on/off valve, then a prefilter, then the carbon filter, then the softener tank then back out to
    the house. So, all those connections between units required a step up to
    1" fittings from the 3/4" of the house. So, picture the first connector which
    would be a 3/4" adapter to a 1" threaded connector. There's 8 of those and I pre-soldered all of the adapters to the connectors.
    Thanks for your input.
    -- Jeff
    If you have threaded fittings to screw into 1" threaded holes or onto 1" MPT fittings, you've done this all wrong if now you can't screw the male or female adapters because they are soldered onto the tubing and the tubing can't rotate. Or did you mean you soldered reducing slip x slip fittings onto 1" tubing and didn't finish the 3/4" tubing joint? Adapters are threaded.

    Also, the prefilter and carbon filter will eventually starve your softener for water flow and shorten the life of your resin. If you are on 'city' water, it is not a good idea to remove chlorine on a whole house basis.Drinking water and shower head filters are a much better choice. If you are on your own well, you should not use carbon on water of unknown microbiological content. Who ever you bought the softener and filters from should have told you this before they took your money.
    Gary Slusser Retired (= out of business)
    Click Here to learn how to correctly size or program a water softener.
    CAUTION, as of Nov 12 2013 all YouTube videos showing how to rebuild a Clack valve have an error in them that can cause damage.

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    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Hi Winslow,
    thanks for the tip about the flux. I'm going to try to finish
    this up today.
    -- Jeff

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Hi Gary,
    Sorry, I don't know what an MPT or slip x slip fitting is. I'm ok with the issue of being able to screw the pipes on. I'm not in the situation where I won't be able to do that.
    Not sure what you mean about that the prefilter and carbon filter will "eventually" starve the softener for water flow. The manual does say that if water pressure drops off, then the prefilter probably needs to be changed.
    I read documentation and reviews about these units. I didn't see anything about the issues that you're speaking of including the comments about chlorine and microbiological content. I'm open minded though. If you wouldn't mind posting some independant URLs about the subject, I'd like to review it/them.
    Thanks.

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Default Done - sort of

    I tried to pay a plumber $95/hr plus materials to hook up these filters/softener. He came gave me the price and I said ok. Called him back and left three messages on his cell...no return call. Another outfit never even called back as they said they would. These are the plumbing outfits with the biggest advertising in the phone book. This is so typical of Savannah, GA. They must have gone fishing...that's not unusual.
    So, I did the job myself. I don't like to sweat copper, but I got it all hooked up. No leaks in all the copper connections but I had leaks where they screw onto the plastic. I used teflon tape first time around. I unwound all that stuff and used the teflon pipe dope. That fixed about four leaks.
    All is well except I noted some pressure drop in a few of the faucets, but not all of them. Then this morning, the lavatory faucet stopped altogether.
    I wondered what in the world could make just a couple faucets misbehave. I thought maybe air in the system. Then I wondered about the bread I used to stop the water flow to do the last soldering on the main water feed. Took off the screens on those two faucets and thankfully the water pressure is restored. Sure enough, there was a coating of bread on both screens. The kitchen faucet had some other kind of green plastic strip also stuck in there. I couldn't identify what that was....pretty odd. That's the good news. I'm soaking the screens in white vinegar. I don't have any clr or other right now. Think that will work?
    I guess it's time for a pro to chime in and tell me never to use bread. I searched a couple of posts where that is said. Thing is; that's what my plumbing book says to do. Not sure how I'll deal with this issue in the future, but it won't be bread. All things considered, I'm really happy my water pressure didn't suffer by installing these units.
    -- Jeff

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    DIY Senior Member taysan's Avatar
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    Well, I'm certainly no pro, but I've used bread before sucessfully. Only when I really needed to of course - it was when I moved a bunch of lines in my basement and there was no way I could see to get the lines completely dry and drops of water kept coming down from the 2 stories of plumbing above me. I also removed the screens from any faucets before turning the water back on.

    Only suggestion on bread is to use the whitest bad-for-you bread you can find Oh, and don't put crusts in there!

    I'm surprised you have to soak your screens - a toothbrush or something should remove any bread material - what kind of bread did you use?

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    TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP MACPLUMB 777's Avatar
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    Default Solder Copper Pipe With Bread

    I Have Used Bread Many, Many, Many, Times To Solder Copper Pipes
    Yes Some Times I Have Had Problem Cleaning Lines After Ward's
    The Best Way Is To Stop "all" Water Before Starting Work
    I Spin Time And Go To Great Lengths To Stop Water Before I Do Work These Days

    Last edited by Terry; 09-05-2009 at 05:21 PM.

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  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member jeff_bathroom's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys. I have to admit that I used the bottom
    side of a hamburger bun. If I have to do it again, I'll be sure to get some Wonderbread/ultrawhite and also remember to remove the screens.
    Luckily the first water that I ran was the utility sink without a screen
    and all kinds of crud came out of there...presumably the bread. :-)
    -- Jeff

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    I think that if you open up a bath tub faucet wide open before you turn the house water back on, most of the debris will likely go out there - no screen to get clogged up.

  13. #13
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    While a tub spout rarely has an aerator (mine does - it's integrated into the valve assembly), a fair number of valves have screens on their inlets. Bread under these situations can be a real problem.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  14. #14
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Good point!

    Maybe opening an outside sill cock?

  15. #15
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I have never shared my lunch with a pipe yet!
    There are many ways to divert water from the work area such as opening a faucet, flushing a toilet in a basement bath, or setting a washing machine to fill in the basement. Opening a sillcock is also something that I do.

    There are also tools that plumbers buy called Jet Sweats that hold water back.

    I eat my lunch!

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