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Thread: solder is not melting

  1. #1

    Default solder is not melting

    Hi, I thorougly cleaned the copper pipe and as far as I could tell, the pipe was dry (or maybe not?). I applied heat where the flux was put to the joint, removed the heat when I touched the solder to the joint. It just broke off in chunks. Tried heating it more (the drywall was start to brown) and the same thing - as soon as I touched the joint with solder, it just chunked off.

    Would water in the pipe cause this? The hot water tank is shut off as is the water supply all before I started soldering (also opened up the lines before I shut off the water supply which I thought would do the trick).

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Sounds like water in the pipe as well as someone about to burn down a house...
    Please call someone that knows what they are doing.

  3. #3
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Yup, as stated water in the pipes

    Why are you soldering?
    A leak?

    be more concerned about what's behind that drywall catching fire
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  4. #4
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
    be more concerned about what's behind that drywall catching fire
    Uh Huh....
    It's a bad day when the red trucks show up at a plumbing job...

  5. #5
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Just another vote for water. Even if you think it's dry, the heat will draw moisture to the joint. Getting all of the water out a line sometimes is 95% of the work. When soldering in tight spaces, you should use a heat shield. They make "real" ones, but for an occasional DIY job, you can split and flatten a #10 can, and that will work pretty well. Also, always have a spray bottle of water within easy reach. Remember the water is shut off, so you can't just go get a cup or two from a faucet. You might have a scorched joist or two, but no damage.

  6. #6
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    I agree with the others leave using a torch to the pro's. A plumber has insurance just in case the worse happens. This is also another reason not use a handyman ether since they are not licensed plumbers and do not carry the general liability insurance in case they burn your home down.

    Here is a recent fire they found that a contractor started using a torch. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/c...,1777717.story

  7. #7
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Many times older homes newspapers were stuffed in the walls
    I have found it in both homes I have owned
    Dry & very ready to go up in flame
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

  8. #8
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    There are some homes out here that have insulation that has warnings on it to keep away from a 80 watt bulb. A buddy of mine was installing a washing machine grey box, He removed the insulation from the floor up to 3 feet from the top of the box. AS he was soldering in the valves just the heat from the torch caught this stuff on fire. He called the fire department they ensured it did not travel anywhere else. They where shocked to see the warning about keeping away from an 80 watt bulb. They took some of this insulation outside and put an 80 watt bulb near it and sure enough it caught fire.

    Needless to say when we come across this stuff now we clear the whole section we are working in and the sections to both sides of us. People get upset that we just removed a 5 feet wide and as tall as their wall is of drywall, but we explain to them its to prevent their home from burning down while we do our work.

  9. #9
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default solder

    IF you touch the pipe about 6" from where you are soldering and the pipes are "red hot" you have water in the pipes where you are trying to solder.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SewerRatz View Post
    There are some homes out here that have insulation that has warnings on it to keep away from a 80 watt bulb. A buddy of mine was installing a washing machine grey box, He removed the insulation from the floor up to 3 feet from the top of the box. AS he was soldering in the valves just the heat from the torch caught this stuff on fire. He called the fire department they ensured it did not travel anywhere else. They where shocked to see the warning about keeping away from an 80 watt bulb. They took some of this insulation outside and put an 80 watt bulb near it and sure enough it caught fire.

    Needless to say when we come across this stuff now we clear the whole section we are working in and the sections to both sides of us. People get upset that we just removed a 5 feet wide and as tall as their wall is of drywall, but we explain to them its to prevent their home from burning down while we do our work.
    That's scary knowing theres insulation in the walls that could catch fire just by basically looking at it. Do you find places with this kind of insulation in chicago itself? or out in the suburbs. That would be weird if that was allowed in chicago at any point in the past considering there strict building fire codes.

  11. #11
    Illinois Licensed Plumber SewerRatz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gusherb94 View Post
    That's scary knowing theres insulation in the walls that could catch fire just by basically looking at it. Do you find places with this kind of insulation in chicago itself? or out in the suburbs. That would be weird if that was allowed in chicago at any point in the past considering there strict building fire codes.
    Only place I ran in to this stuff is in Aurora in home that where built in the early 60's

  12. #12
    DIY Member backwaterdogs's Avatar
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    I learned two things recently when doing sweating of joints...make that 3.

    1. Drain the water out of the lines or you'll never get it hot enough

    2. If you are soldering close a larger component, i.e. a brass shower valve, it will act as radiator too and not allow the joint to get hot enough.

    3. would have money and time ahead had I hired a plumber to rough in that shower valve for me. But, with the help of this forum, I got it done and am satisfied it's correct.

    thanks!

    Last edited by Terry; 06-20-2010 at 11:48 PM.

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