Fixing a leaky pipe

During the coldest weeks last month, I accidentally left the garage door open when I vacation in Florida. Apparently, some of the pipes were frozen one night. I was lucky, a neighbor notice the garage door the next morning and closed it, he also turned off the water to the whole house, blessed him.
When I came back I found one of the copper pipes in the garage completely broke off. And there were two other small leaks. I get a local plumber to come in yesterday. He replaced the broken pipe with and one of the bigger leak. Each with about two feet length pipe. He charged me $419 for labor and $45 for material. Is this a reasonable charge ? I remember having a kitchen sink faucet replaced once and the charge was only $80.
Unfortunately, I forgot to tell the plumber about one other smaller leak. It was the hot water pipe to the guest bathroom which was never used, and I shut off the valve to that pipe since the leak was discovered and forgot about it. If I can help it, I would rather try to do this one myself. I have a feeling I already paid more than I should have. The leak was lengthwise and about .75 cm long and 1 mm wide. Is this a DIY project? Would one or more of the following work? - Glue it with PC-11 marine grade glue? - And or top with heavy grade plumbing tape? - Get a propane torch and soldering it up?
Thanks, pac
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PacKat wrote:

if you had to call a plumber out to do the stuff he did then call him back out to fix the rest of the stuff.. No you cannot use glue to fix a leak... and just soldering the pipe will probably not work.. you have to take off the broken piece of pipe and put in a new piece.... hope this helps.. and yes the price was high... but thats what they charge if you cannot do it yourself....
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And get a "repair coupling" which is a coupler for copper pipes, that doesn't have the stops in it.
Cut the pipe at the hole, slip the coupling over one pipe, put the two pipes back together, slide the coupling so it is over both pipes, solder.
You can get repair couplings in short, and long (6") lengths. I left out the steps of cleaning and fluxing which need to be done for sweat soldering.
If the area is accessible, it is a fairly simple thing to do.
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I think he took advantage of you. Unless the pipes were difficult to get to and the work took about half a day, I would avoid this guy in the future.
If you can get to the broken pipe easily, you can probably fix it easily. If the break you described is in copper, it just requires a hacksaw or tube cutter, a copper coupling, solder, flux and a propane torch. Local hardware stores, particularly Ace, generally can give you good advice on the procedure. Same for PVC. Galvanized is a little more difficult, but there are "temporary" clamp patches that work well.
For what it's worth . . . most big cities have Better Business Bureaus with telephone data bases. Punch in the contractor's phone number and see if anyone else has registered a complaint. You would be surprised how many bad apples you can eliminate this way.

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Sounds quite high for the labor and parts.
You didn't say if the other leaky pipe is copper, or PVC, or CPVC, or galvanized. Since your other pipe was copper, I'd have to guess that might the same.
It's not all that dificult to cut out a couple inches of tubing, and then use a couple "slip couplers" and a piece of new tubing to solder it all back together.
However, if you coulda, you woulda. So maybe a different plumber? or a neighbor or handyman who works with sweat copper? Sounds like that original plumber was a bit more expensive than I'd want to have back.
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Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

or CPVC, or

guess that

They are all copper.

plumber? or a

like that

have back.
Generally I am quite good with tools. Just never had a chance to get into plumbing yet. There's alwasy the first time...

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PacKat wrote:

was
Thank you all for valuable advices. THis is a great news group. pac
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I echo the other comments. You were taken. When this happens to me, I make a point of badmouthing the guy every chance I get. (Similarly when I get a good guy, I make a point of praising him every chance I get. ) But, as many have pointed out, fixing pipe (either copper or plastic) is not that hard. I still get a kick out of making a neat solder joint.

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One propane torch $39.95, one hacksaw $4.59, one 1.7 oz flux $3.39, one 8 oz, 50/50 solder $3.39, 10 .5" couplings (for practice) $3.50, two .5" copper tubes $4.38, one tube brush $9.98, one fixed leaky pipe, priceless :-)
Thank you guys pac
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