I am working on an apartment building built around 1972. At that time the
service lines were put in with Type M copper which is now pinholing at an
accellerated rate. The manner in which the plumbing was installed is
disgaraceful. I am retrofiting with Type L and have a few questions.
First: I had to cut some 1" tubing into 10' lengths to get them into the
attic and work them around the trusses (pure hell). When I sweated them
back together with a coupling, they weren't exactly straight. There is a
2 - 3 degree, very slight, bend at the coupling. This is the best I could
do in those confines. Is this a real problem? Am I hoplessly inept as a
plumber? Did I set myself up for premature failure at that joint? Or is
this normal and nothing to worry about? Please advise.
Second: Due to time constraints, I was unable to go back and clean the
execss flux off of the outside of the new pipes. This left a little green
oxide in a few places. How big of a problem is this? I also noticed in one
spot where I sweated in two "Ts" and an elbow within a foot of one another
there did not appear to be any flux residue. Is it possible that the excess
I am well aware of the hazards of over fluxing but am more concerned with
getting a good solid joint. I try to use lots of flux, lots of heat, and
lots of solder (95/5).
Thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions.
If the joint doesn't leak, then the joint will be OK. There's always a
little give in fittings, and while you should always have things straight,
it's more a matter of asthetics than anything else.
It wasn't necessary to use 95/5 solder; ordinary lead free solder would
have been good enough. It also doesn't help to use "gobs" of solder. You
only need enough to fill the joint. Remember, any solder you can see isn't
doing any good.
It also doesn't help to use "lots" of heat. You should use only enough
to melt the solder. Overheating causes leaks.
I've got a question.
When I first bought my house, I got a Benzomatic propane torch for some
light duty work with the outdoor plumbing, converting the sometimes
plastic/galvanized/copper pipes to all copper. However, it seemed to take
forever, and a few of the joints either leaked right away or popped off
after a month or two, so I got a Benzomatic MAPP torch, which certainly made
quick work of things, and so far none of the new joints have leaked.
I've only used type L pipe, which I suppose in some places isn't needed, but
I figured you can't go wrong using the thicker stuff.
Is the MAPP too much for copper plumbing and/or joints?
As you can see I'm not an expert, but I do believe I've done everything
correctly. I prepped the fittings and pipes, used plenty of flux, started
soldering as soon as the flux started to smoke, and so forth.
The type of gas isn't important. Propane is hot enough, MAPP is hotter.
I use acetylene, which is the hottest. The important thing is to not
overheat, but it sounds like you were under heating with the propane. The
technique is to heat the base of one side of the fitting, and then put the
solder at the opposite side. When it melts, it's hot enough. The advantage
to using hotter gas is that you can solder quicker. Also, acetylene doesn't
throw as big a flame as the other gasses, making it safer.
use self cleaning flux.
clean both fitting and pipe ends. (that means scratch them up with sandcloth
I think the kind of solder does matter.
I think it is easier to learn with solder with silver in it. You have to get
hotter than "normal 95/5" so it is a little bit harder to overheat. I use
it has a silver content of like .4 or .04%; not much but makes a big
I see lots of noobs just leave the torch pointed at the pipe once the solder
to flow. They never remove the heat from the pipe as they apply the solder.
have to remember to pull the torch away once the solder is flowing.
acetylene W/ TurboTorch user here.
What have you done to eliviate the problem for the future. Why the hell did
you not use PEX?? That would not react with the hard water and would have
save you hassle on the instal. Basically what you have told me is that you
have shit your pants. OK now you know. use PEX.. get the fittings borrow
a wheel.. Do the instal >Do It!!! Do it!!!
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