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Thread: Sweat quality control

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member DirtyBrad's Avatar
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    Default Sweat quality control

    I'm working on a kitchen remodel, which is the first real plumbing I've done. The house has 1/2" copper pipe for water and PVC for waste. I've been reading and watching all I can on-line about sweating the pipe and did several practice pieces before diving in.

    My joints aren't gorgeous, but they're coming along. I have everything in place except for making the final connection in the basement. The water pipes run around a bend in the basement ceiling, up into the kitchen sink cabinet, then each one forks into two valves, so there are four total (hot, cold, fridge supply, DW supply).

    My question is, can I test this either before or after making the last connection? Obviously, anything can happen, but is it mostly the case that if I turn the water back on and nothing's dripping that I'm okay? Or can I have muffed something in a way that won't show up for a month? My plan was to turn the house water off when I left each day for the first week. I figure that way, if something's busted, at least I'd be there instead of coming home to basement swimming pool.

    My other concern is the ball valves that I sweated on. I did my best to follow directions and not overheat them, but they seemed to turn a bit easier afterward. I don't know if that means anything or not. Anything special to check there other than the water goes on and off when I turn them?

    Anyway, any tips or gotchas to look for would be a huge help in getting me a sound night's sleep.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    It is possible for a joint not to show a leak to fail days or months later. Since once water gets into a poor joint it must be completely disassembled, cleaned, refluxed, and soldered. You can not reheat and add flux and solder to a water contaminated joint. Professional plumbers take pride in their neat soldering jobs, but it is not neatness that makes the joint solid. My suggestion is to finish the job, turn the water on, inspect the joints, test the valves, and watch for awhile. You will feel much better if you turn the water off while you are gone for the day. Of course, a joint could fail just after you retire at night and run water into the basement all night and you'd not know it, but if you have no leaks when you first turn the water on, chances are pretty good you won't have any.

  3. #3
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    If you have fluxed and soldered, then most likely it will be fine, as long as there are no immediate leaks.
    I have sometimes seen unsoldered joints hold water for a while, and then pop off later, I have no idea how an unsoldered joint will do that.
    I soldered joint, with lead free solder isn't coming apart though.

    Last edited by Terry; 11-08-2010 at 04:41 PM.

  4. #4
    DIY Junior Member DirtyBrad's Avatar
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    Thanks very much. I fluxed and soldered and tried to err on the side of more flux when in doubt.

    I'll get everything connected and keep an eye for the rest of the week.

    How about the valves, anything to worry about there? They still feel smooth. I don't feel any binding or play, but they turn a bit easier than before soldering.

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    They should be fine.

  6. #6
    DIY Junior Member DirtyBrad's Avatar
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    Thanks for the quick response and the excellent forum. It's been an invaluable resource that is much appreciated.

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