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Thread: Newbie question-can you solder fittings twice?

  1. #1

    Default Newbie question-can you solder fittings twice?

    I'm likely going to sweat a tub/shower valve in next weekend for the first time, after I sweat it in and test for leaks, if the fittings leak, can I reheat the connections, remove them, clean them and re-sweat again??

    I think I heard you can't re-sweat and I thought somebody told me you can if you clean the fittings well.

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Default

    Concensus is that once they've gotten wet, it is a bear to resweat them. But, if you take them apart, wipe off the solder (and that can be a pain in the fitting), reflux and resolder, you should be okay. If you bang the fitting on a hard surface while the solder is still molten after you separate it from the pipe, you'll get much of it out. It is probably easier to just use a new one. Why do you need to take it apart? Hopefully, you won't have any leaks and leave it alone. The biggest key is to ensure you get the pieces very clean, flux well, heat the fitting, and don't hit the solder with the flame - add it opposite the flame, or after removing it, depending on the size of the fittings.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Homeowner geniescience's Avatar
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    Default I've done it.

    Pizza pizza,

    Although it can be done, and it seems to work best on 3/4" pieces because they are larger and easier to work with, a valid argument can be made against doing it. If your time has any value at all, a $1 piece is sometimes best not re-used but just stored away for a "who knows when" occurence. Once you've done it, you might appreciate the futility, and just get new fittings for all joints that need redoing. On the other hand, it is possible to fix a pinhole leak without even taking the joint apart... and not doing all the rework. Still not recommended.

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Smile

    Fitting and pipe can be resoldered, but you do have to clean virtually all of the old solder off so the pieces will fit together again. I've done it when I had no extra new fittings and it was too far to the store to get one. Pipe cleans easier and is often the best way because if the length has to remain the same, then you have to add the length lost back with a coupler and new pipe. Just heat the pipe end and use a rag to wipe the old solder off. I find emery cloth handy to finish the cleaning process as well as prepare for resoldering. As I said, cleaning the fittings is more laborous and hardly worth the time is you have an extra one or two.

  5. #5

    Talking

    Thanks for you help!!!

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default fitings

    A "resoldered" fitting can make a better joint that a new one, if the original joint properly tinned it. All you have to do is wipe the excess solder off the pipe, and use an internal brush on a heated fitting to also remove excess solder. You do not have to, nor do you want to, remove all the solder from the joint. Then after refluxing and heating the joint you just add additional solder. The original solder will combine with it to make a proper joint.

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