Besides getting laughed at by your co-workers and cursed at by the
person who tries to get it apart, what's wrong with soldering a
A co-worker was telling me about his first foray into the world of
sweated plumbing connections.
He was a installing a new shower valve which involved a threaded
connection at the valve and then sweated fittings after that.
He got everything installed and sweated but when he turned the water
on, it leaked at one of the threaded fittings. He looked at the
situation, realized he couldn't tighten the connection since
everything else was soldered in place, so he took the easy way out.
He grabbed the torch and sweated the threaded connection.
Is he looking at problems down the road?
Almost without a doubt. Let me rephrase that - yes.
Firstly the threaded connection should have had teflon tape or pipe
dope. If neither was applied there's no surprise it leaked. A
sweated connection, even using the correct fitting, needs to be
cleaned with a wire brush or emory cloth, and flux must be used.
Without those critical steps a sweated joint will likely fail.
Without those steps on a threaded joint, well, it's basically
The joint might not leak immediately, but a shower body usually has
hot water running through it and the normal expansion and contraction
and any other movement in the pipes or building will eventually create
a pinhole leak.
The problem might not be noticed for a good long while, and by that
time you're dealing with ripping open ceilings and tiled walls, and
dealing with mold and rotted wood.
Covering up such a situation and hoping for the best is like holding
your breath as a form of birth control.
Let's get up a pool on the date that it fails...first month,... second
If there are teens in the house the odds go to the soonest. All bets
are off if he goes on vacation without shutting off the water.
I don't think he'll have any problems until the time comes to take it
apart, but I sure am curious as to how he cleaned and fluxed that joint
after it had been screwed together, and also how the flux reacted with
the pipe dope or pipe tape.
Often wrong, never in doubt.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
We have a winner here. In the situation as described, the threaded
connection should have had teflon tape or joint compound and it was
made up and not taken apart again. If those are present, it can't be
properly. And if they aren't present, there is still no way to
properly clean the
connection or get flux in there without taking it apart.
Aside from all that, let's assume you tried to do this from scratch.
couldn't clean it well to remove oxide because of the threads being
Second, in a slip fitting, meant to be soldered, the solder is drawn
wicking action and gets sucked into the space through the whole slip
fitting where the parts meet. With a threaded connection, at best it
solder would probably get in only a thread or two deep. Could it be
enough so that it forms a seal and the rest of the threaded connection
supplies the mechanical strentgh so that it works? Yes, but it isn't
right way to do things, particularly if it's a place behind a shower
access later could be a headache.
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