My brother-in-law just bought a approximately 30-year-old house. Had a
number of plumbing problems I was able to fix. However, a leaking "T" joint
in standard half-inch copper pipe has resisted all my attempts at repair. I
have done the typical intensive sanding, fluxing and re-soldering several
times with no success. This had always worked for me in the past. All pipes,
etc. look in good shape.
Any other suggestions as to how to stop this leak without having to
soldering another "T" and corresponding connectors into its place. Thanks.
"I have done the typical intensive sanding, fluxing and re-soldering
times with no success. Any other suggestions as to how to stop this
leak without having to
soldering another "T" and corresponding connectors into its place.
What exactly do you have? Normally a soldered tee is all there is to
it and there are no "corresponding connectors." If it's just a regular
T, I would not have tried resoldering it several times. I would have
just replaced it.
Thanks for all the suggestions so far. When it is suggested to replace the
"T", does that mean to heat it sufficiently to pull it out of the pipes and
then put in a new one, or to cut the pipe on all three sides and use a
joiner on each side to connect the new "T". I've never tried to remove and
then replace a "T" before so I'm open to any tips one might have. The joint
is reasonably accessible and there is no residual water left in the pipes
once the water is shut off and all taps opened.
you did not pull the joint apart how do you know there is no water in it?
Now if your ready to do it right. It is best to pull the T if you can do it
without cutting pipe that's best, less joints. Heat it up soften solider
pull apart one joint at a time. Now if the solider dos not melt there is
water in the line, then you have to make a cut in pipe. ( or you could drill
a hole in center of T to drain ) Once you get the T out place it on the
ground and Peen it with a hammer until flat, That will take care of thinking
of reusing it. Now on all the pipe ends heat them up melt the soilder and
wipe with a rag fast to get as much solider as you can. Sand all the joints
reflux and solider. If you had to cut a pipe to remove T get a SLIP
coupling's to put it back together make sure you center coupling on joint.,
mark pipe with felt marker pen. Nothing to it Good luck.
If you're real lucky you may find there's enough "give" or spring in the
piping going into that T to permit you to reuse one or more of the
original pipe ends after you heat the T and pull them out (or it off) of
them or it.
If you can pull a pipe end out, clean the old solder off it by heating
it 'till it's molten and then wiping it off with a wadded cloth. Then
use abrasive paper or a wire brush to clean up the pipe end as close to
bare copper as you can get. (Use a pocket mirror to check the backside
if you can't see it directly.
If you have to cut the piping because there's no slack to work with,
then make the cuts about 2-1/2" from the ends of the T and use stubs of
new copper pipe and "slip couplings" plus a new T to replace what's there.
Slip couplings have no stop ridge inside them so they can slide
completely onto a piece of pipe and then be slid back down onto the end
of the pipe it's being joined to. Tou have to eyeball or measure things
to be certain that the slip coupling is centered over the joint before
soldering of course.
When soldering plumbing, cleanlyness is next to Godlyness, so make sure
you wire brush or sandpaper everything to be soldered (including the
insides of the legs of the new T.) 'till they're shiney, and don't
forget to wipe a film of plumbing flux on all surfaces which will
Heat the joints 'till the flux bubbles and then apply the solder where
the pipe enters the fitting. If you're doing it properly the solder will
pull into the joint by capillary action and run all around it. If you
doubt your prowess, practice on the bench with some spare parts until
you feel confidant you can handle "the real thing".
do is replace the fitting. What I do if it is in a tight spot and to
replace is major pain I will sill- floss it . ( SILVALOY 15 15% silver )
With Map gas you can do up to a 3/4" joint. Basically you get the joints red
hot, no flux, put Rod to it, the solider will burn out. For a novice I
would suggest replace the fitting. If it was leaking there could be
something in the copper. Like I said I have had this happen I don't like
using old fittings. Also if there is the smallest amount of water it will
leak even a drip, Stuff the pipe with bread to stop water.
Wouldn't getting it that hot cause the other joints in the T to melt and
Last spring I had to replace a broken pipe in a tight crawl space. My new
joints were fine, but then nearby ones fell apart. I screwed with it for an
hour, and just as I was about to give up in disgust, it miraculously all
came together. But I didn't even get it as hot as you suggest.
I'm a little confused. In your original message you imply you had the T out
and prepped it and then tried re-soldering (at least that's how I read
"intensive sanding, fluxing, .......". Yet then below you are asking how
to remove the T. If all you did was try to re-solder the T in situ and
didn't get a good clean on the inside of it, it's probably going to leak.
I had a similar problem recently and after a bit of research, I decided to
cut it out and put a new one in. That would be your best bet.
Thank you all for your great advice. I'm now sufficiently educated to go
ahead with this project. <grin>
There definitely is enough play in the pipes to enable the removal and
installation of a new "T".
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