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Thread: pinholes

  1. #1

    Default pinholes

    Does anyone know a trick to fill in sweat joint pin holes without tearing the whole joint apart and starting from scratch? I can sweat a joint pretty well but have run in to situations where I can't get to the water that's still in there. I've done the white bread trick and that usually works but I'm puttin in a tub right now and getting frustrated with the hot water lead.

  2. #2
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default pin holes

    Close off the main valve. Open faucets below the pin hole leaks. Say a sillcock if no basement.
    Open the faucet near the pin hole.
    The object is to drain the water away and to release steam that would arise when you apply the heat to resolder. A compressor sometimes is helpful.
    Not being able to see the pipe in question, I would unsolder, clean and flux again. I assume that your talking about a pin hole at a solder joint and that you may have spoiled that joint trying to do a repair. Not hard to do.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default leaks

    Once water touches the copper tubing and the fitting by a leak, the joint is contaminated and it will not normally resolder until it is cleaned and fluxed again. And flux will not flow into the fitting by being brushed on the outside.

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    DIY Senior Member thezster's Avatar
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    Default

    I've experience issues in the past similar to yours.. There are times when it seems impossible to get all the water/water vapor out of that darned copper. I've found that using MAPP gas gives you a hotter flame that will sometimes overcome the issue. On the downside - it's easier to overheat your pipes too, giving just as bad a joint.

    Not a pro - but make do when I have to....
    It's 9a.m. Let's have a beer!

  5. #5
    Tradesman Plumber Kristi's Avatar
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    Now I don't like giving ALL my secrets away, but this is a handy one.
    First of all, make sure the cold water valve into the hwh is off (lol). Now my lovely trick is usually involving ball valves - open the valve up, tape a 12" piece of 1/4" flexible copper to my wet/dry vac, insert it through the valve and into the line, and turn it (the vacuum) on while I solder the valve on. Then shut it off (the valve) and solder away from there. You could try to adapt this to your situation, just solder while the vac is running...
    Last edited by Kristi; 09-22-2005 at 08:49 PM. Reason: additional comment

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Default

    Very, very cool trick, Kristi! Thanks for sharing!

    Another option, which I haven't tried, is those temporary plugs you insert in the pipe to prevent water from leaking onto the joint. They look like oversize Vitamin E capsules, and when you're done soldering the joint, you melt them with the torch.

  7. #7
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP) Lakee911's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveW
    Another option, which I haven't tried, is those temporary plugs you insert in the pipe to prevent water from leaking onto the joint. They look like oversize Vitamin E capsules, and when you're done soldering the joint, you melt them with the torch.
    I think that's the support-your-favorite-orange/blue-box-company-instead-of-using-bread-trick
    Jason

  8. #8
    DIY Member slb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveW
    Very, very cool trick, Kristi! Thanks for sharing!

    Another option, which I haven't tried, is those temporary plugs you insert in the pipe to prevent water from leaking onto the joint. They look like oversize Vitamin E capsules, and when you're done soldering the joint, you melt them with the torch.
    I tried these and they didn't work very well. First, my 30 year old copper pipes had some scale build up that made them difficult to insert without breaking them. Second, when I was finally successful at getting one inserted, it didn't last long enough for me to complete my solder joints.

    They might work better in newer/cleaner pipes, but my impression is that you need to work fairly quickly. I myself am a slow plumber

    -Steve

  9. #9
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
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    Default soldering

    New or old, makes no difference.
    The pipe has to be sanded clean. Don't put your dirty fingers on the cleaned area.
    Flux it and the inside of the fittings.
    Make sure it stays dry.
    I know you can do it.
    You got a lot of good advice from other threads..........

  10. #10
    Seasoned DIYer BellevuePaul's Avatar
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    Default The capsules didn't work for me either

    I had some fun recently soldering 3/4" ball valves into my main supply lines so I can isolate part of my house easily. I tried those vitamin E like capsule thingies and they didn't work well for me at all. I saw them in a book, and I'm an engineer, so it seemed cool. Problem was, the capsule itself seemed too big around to fit into the pipe (yes, I know there are two sizes...) and by the time I got it in there, it had ruptured and was useless. I think you're supposed to warm the capsule a bunch in your hand and sort of compress it.

    I solved my problem by holding the pipe down for a while to drain a bunch of water, and then raising it up so the water couldn't go "uphill" easily. Oh, and swearing a lot seemed to help too. ;-) Next project I'll try bread.

  11. #11
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default pipe

    Actually the way you did it, and the swearing probably helped a great deal, was probably the best way. At least you didn't have to worry about a lot of bread plugging faucets or aerators.

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