Soldering Copper.....leaks!

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Hiya Folks, Ok, I've sweated my share of copper before but have a question. I recently worked on repairing a water line (3/4" Cu) and all but two of the fittings are water tight. The two fittings that seem to be weeping ever so slightly, were where I tied into existing lines. These lines had been buried so it took a while to get them all cleaned up. They looked pretty darned shiny to me when I soldered them but I suppose there was pit or dirt in there somewhere. Anyway, my question is this, can I re-solder the existing fittings? Can I simply heat them up (no water in the lines) and flow more solder in or do I need to cut them out and put new in. I suspect I know the answer but thought I'd ask anyway. Cheers, cc
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What's the time difference between flowing more in and finding it's bad, or cutting out and doing it right?
It's a gamble... You know what your time is worth.
--
Life. Nature\'s way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who


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Actually it's fairly significant. To cut out and redo, I have to dig out more of the dirt around the pipes, clean them (which is where I think I had problems the first time), and then solder them. To re-solder, it's simply a matter of heating and flowing more solder. But as the saying goes, it takes time to do things right! Cheers, cc
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You know better what you did and didn't do, and what the consequences are if you take the quick fix and are wrong.
Still, given what you said I might be tempted to try the quick fix, if I'm reading you right. The quick fix works and you're well ahead of the game. It doesn't, and you're not much further behind. Play the odds...
My $0.02, and remember that free advice is worth what you pay for it.
--
Life. Nature\'s way of keeping meat fresh. -- Dr. Who


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James "Cubby" Culbertson writes:

No. The leak is not due to lack of solder, it is due to the solder not wetting the capillary area, which is almost always due to less than perfect cleaning and/or fluxing. The only sound solution is to tear it out and redo it. You might gob solder on outside edge and get it to hold now, but it will spring a leak later. If you have a leak now, you have a void along the entire collar.
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 00:33:17 -0500, Richard J Kinch

taught me that when you think it is clean, clean it again. RJK hit the nail on the head. Regrettably, you have to do the work.
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the rod in . The solder on the fittings won't hurt anything and you don't need flux. If you never brazed copper it might be a little scary you can melt the fitting. If your solder did not flow I would suspect water or missed a spot with flux. Just the smallest amount of water in a line can cause a leak.
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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 04:47:54 GMT, "Sacramento Dave"

Ouch!
First, it's Mapp (not map). Also, I don't care about witch code. :-)
And yes, you can use something like Zero_Sil (Phosphobronze) on the joints, with 1300-1500 deg F temperatures. It works well. I use it often in refrigeration. I also use 40% silver rod, with borax, on thicker lines.
But cherry red is way too damned hot for soft solder. 600-800 deg F, then the paste flux peters out (boils).
Brazing (silver soldering) is code for buried copper in Sacto? Since when?
--
-john
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Hey Cubby,
Sounds like the 2 remaining leaks are in a tight places. There are several great solderless solutions for copper pipe joining and leaks I use. Joining copper pipe, I use, Just For Copper Fixing small leaks - instaclamp or silicone self fusing tape
If you can't get it the regular way, you may try one of these for $5-$20.
Sozoman
=========================================================================James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

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I'm sure I have less experience than the other posters, but is it possible that the existing lines were slightly out of round? It is obviously striking that the two leaks are the two couplings to the old work.
Cheers, Wayne
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wrote:

Good idea but no, they seemed pretty round. Fittings went on nice and tight when I put them together. The biggest trouble was cleaning the old pipe. I couldn't see the underside of the pipes and just went over them a bunch with emery cloth/wire brush the best I could. The exposed part of the pipe I could see appeared nice and clean but I've no idea if the underside was as nice. I'm pretty sure that's my problem. Cheers, cc
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wrote:

Sounds like you have identified the problem yourself. Next time use a small mirror, borrow your wife's compact mirror and take a look at the bottom side before completing the joint.
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prevented this. I'll have to remember that the next time!
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Lots of good advice in other posts. A "good tight fit" can actually make it harder for the solder to flow into the joint. I have used air to pressurize the line and check for leaks as it is easy to find leaks with soapy water and if you do have a leak you do not have to dry out the pipe again to fix it. Don Young

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On Wed, 28 Sep 2005 17:42:55 -0600, "James \\"Cubby\\" Culbertson"

And always use your wife's favorite makeup mirror, being sure to get mud all over it. We all need to give our wives some real thing to bitch about, or else they tend to create their own reasons. I always prefer that their bitching has some valid substance, or else I am left confused as to the reasons for their bitching.
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wrote:

Yeah, I agree, and get yourself a dreml tool with a small wire brush tip and wire brush the piss out of the pipe.
You could probably coat the outside of the fitting with JB Weld too, but it would still have to be very clean and all flux removed, and no water in or on the pipe. I have successfully used JB Weld as a quick fix, and in many cases never did redo the connection since it stayed dry. Of course these were on exposed pipes.
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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

I think the old pipe was not really cleaned. Solder must've missed some tiny spots while flowing. Tony
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I've done way more than my share and my opinion is heat the bloody pipes nice and hot. add some solder acid paste and then some acid free solder. Let cool. IF after a few tried this doesn't work cut the bad section out.
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I've sweated MORE than my share of copper before,but nowadays I use Copper-Bond. A 2-part epoxy product approved by NSF and NFPA. After a project in which I had Styrofoam nearby and needed an alternative to the torch, I'm a believer in Copper-Bond. Just thought I'd mention that.
James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

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you also need to make sure you arent sweating with 2 closed ends. pressure will build in the line on the last sweat and it wont draw in..old pipe or new...good luck
--
whodat
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