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Thread: First timer question about running copper pipe

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member NullPointerException's Avatar
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    Default First timer question about running copper pipe

    The vanity was originally on the left side of our bathroom. I'm moving it to the right side to allow for a larger vanity and double sink. This requires branching off of the existing 1/2 inch copper supply lines and running them in the floor to the other side of the room and up the wall.

    This past weekend, my father-in-law and I ran the pipes and soldered. The connections to the sink are just stub outs until we put drywall on.

    He has done some soldering of copper pipes before, I have done none until now. When we turned the water back on, nothing leaked and there have been no leaks for 3 days now. This is obviously a good thing.

    I guess what I'm asking is, after you're doing with installing copper pipes, what tests or visual inspections can you do to be confident that it won't develop a leak in the future?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    On new construction I test my waterlines with 170# PSI of air. On remodel jobs I just turn on the water BUT I have also been soldering for a long time and trust the work I do.

    That said soldering jobs that don't leak with in a few days normaly won't, but then again your new at it. It's your house and you will be the one to tear up the floor or ceiling if there is a problem down the road.

    Not sure if this helps or not.

  3. #3
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Talking its a skill you cant teach

    It simply amazes me sometimes......

    to be able to solder something just good enough
    to last about 8 hours......literally a "timed released joint""

    So just when you are sitting down at the supper table that evening
    you get a call from a job your guys did at 9am this morning
    and it held up all day long....

    only to let loose once the sun goes down.....

    to be able to solder something just half assed good enough
    to get you out of there.....

    for your boss to have to go back on
    and re-do that evening.......


    that kind of skill is truely something that cant be taught...
    Last edited by master plumber mark; 02-28-2006 at 04:05 PM.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    The "secret" of a good solder joint is to do the basics very well. That means to clean the inside of the fitting and the outside of the pipe well, to use plenty of flux, to have absolutely no water in the pipe, to heat the joint to the point that the solder will flow when touched to the heated joint on the opposite side of where the flame is being applied, to be sure the solder flows completely around the joint, and then to allow the joint to cool naturally without moving it. If you do all of those things well, the joint will not leak. The thing is of course, these steps have to be followed on each and every joint without fail. Sweating a good joint isn't especially difficult, but if any of these points are not done or not done well, the possibility of failure is very real.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default solder

    I had a customer call one morning. He was in a panic because he had hit a copper line in his cabinet with a can of peas and it had fallen apart. The joint had been "soldered" 20+ years previously. It was a very poor joint, however it took just the right "shock" before it broke.

  6. #6
    Geologist sjsmithjr's Avatar
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    Default Just when I thought I was out of the woods...

    I just finished up plumbing our 1945 bungalow with copper. Pressure tested at 100 psi for 24 hours with no leaks before letting the drywallers have at it. Now I have to worry about errant cans of veggies.

    In the interest of marital harmony, maybe I'll air it up at a higher pressure (my compressor is good for 125psi) for a week or so before I turn the water on...

    -Sam

  7. #7
    Plumber Cass's Avatar
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    Funny story now, a friend was a GC and was doing a 2nd floor remodel on a 3 story house. He left a 5:00 which was 2 hrs. after the plumber had finished. The homeowners went to bed on the 3rd floor at 9:00PM . The GC opened the door at 7AM to start work, the homeowners don't get up till 9. He opens the door to find water flowing down a chandeleer, into a grand piano, pouring over the keys onto the floor.

    The plumber had missed soldering a joint and it didn't let go till sometime that night. He, the plumber, also didn't have any Liability Ins. so the repair fell to the GCs Ins. to the tune of $35,000.00 That was 1976 prices.

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