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Thread: Copper pipe Repair - Sweating or cold?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Alaska-Ron's Avatar
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    Post Copper pipe Repair - Sweating or cold?

    I have a Hot water baseboard heat pipe (3/4" copper) that has developed a small leak at a coupling. (The pipe runs between two bedrooms above the floor, pressed right up against the 2x6 wall frame, under the bottom of the sheet rock.)
    I'm afraid to use a torch in that confined area (fire danger) - the local hardware store suggested a new product called "Just for Copper Pro" that seals new fittings together and would handle the temperature and pressure requirements.
    Does anyone have any feed back on this product or should I consider sweating (solder) the new fittings ? Thank you in advance for any advice. Ron

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska-Ron
    I have a Hot water baseboard heat pipe (3/4" copper) that has developed a small leak at a coupling. (The pipe runs between two bedrooms above the floor, pressed right up against the 2x6 wall frame, under the bottom of the sheet rock.)
    I'm afraid to use a torch in that confined area (fire danger) - the local hardware store suggested a new product called "Just for Copper Pro" that seals new fittings together and would handle the temperature and pressure requirements.
    Does anyone have any feed back on this product or should I consider sweating (solder) the new fittings ? Thank you in advance for any advice. Ron
    I would sweat them, after the heating season ends if you can wait.

    You probably need to completely separate and clean the surfaces for the "Just for copper" stuff, and I suspect that you will have to remove ALL of the solder and tinning of the leaky joint. That is a big job; more than required for solder prep.

    Get a tinning flux such as Oatey No. 95. Get a flattened can or other metal shield to prevent burning the wood or drywall, and have a supply of water or a hose available to put out the fire that you don't plan to start. You can probably spring the pipe away from the wall a bit.

    You will have to remove and clean the joint. Don't try to repair it by just adding solder. You should probalby remove the whole fitting that leaks and do both ends of it at the same time.

    You can use lead-tin solder for heating pipes, or you can use the tin-antimony that is used for potable water.

    The pipes must be clear of water with no seepage into the area that you are soldering. It is impossible to solder if there is even a continuous drip.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You might use that stuff for a temporary repair on the weekend until a plumber could fix it properly, but never for a permanent connection, under a floor, and subject to extreme expansion and contraction as the water temperature changes.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I use a flattened #10 can for a heat shield when soldering near flammable materials. I also keep a spray bottle of water within easy reach. Those two things plus using as much care as possible will permit you to properly solder in tight places. I view miracle fixes that come in a bottle or can as snake oil. A bad joint has to be redone from the beginning.

  5. #5
    DIY Member edlentz's Avatar
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    When I need to solder close to a wall, or other flammables, I use a carbon fiber "towel" that I slip behind the area to be soldered and the heat DOES NOT affect the other side. I have even taken the torch to my own hand with it in my hand and there is no transfer of heat. I saw it at the orange box lately. As was mentioned before, get it clean and dry. Treat it as a new joint.

    Good luck

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I prefer using a Heat barrier mat over tin as there is very low conductivity of heat to the other side. http://www.oatey.com/Plumber/Shared/...Protector.html



    I also like Cool-Gel! http://www.laco.com/productDetail15.aspx



    There is no excuse for charring to occur when sweating a pipe these days!

    As stated above the pipe glue is not the answer.
    Last edited by Redwood; 06-02-2008 at 08:56 PM.

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    DIY Member edlentz's Avatar
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    That is the mat I was talking about. I've never seen that cool gel stuff, that is slick!

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