I lied, another question. This home improvement stuff is harder than it
I soldered 8 joints in 3/4" pipe Tuesday. I looked it over today and there
was a drop of water on the pipe. It took a while, but I found one of the
joints was oozing a drop of water about every 5 minutes. I know the pipe is
well seated in the joint because I did this one with the T in a vise and
shoved it in securely; but I am very unhappy with it leaking.
I heated the fitting from the bottom and applied the solder to the top of
the pipe. It wicked into the pipe and ran out the bottom, leaving a little
glob. Oddly, the leak is at the bottom where the solder actually ran out.
I cleaned like crazy, and surely flux would have run to the bottom even I
failed to flux adequately; and that is where I was heating the joint so it
had to have been hot enough (since the top was hot enough to melt the
solder), so I can't figure out what I could have done wrong. Even with a
magnifying glass I can't see anything that isn't solid, but there obviously
is. If I wasn't so anal, I wouldn't even have seen the damn drop.
Could I have heated it too much and the solder ran out before it could
So, my question.... Since I know the pipe is well seated, and I can see a
continuous band of solder all the way around the joint, it can't be too bad,
If I heat the bead of solder that is on the pipe right next to the leak, I
think maybe there is a possibility (probably not large) that it will stop
the leak. If that happens, can I let it go? Or is the joint comprimised
and simply stopping the leak is masking a potential failure.
Opening up the joint and redoing it will not be easy because I will have do
a bunch of dissassembly down below. There is a water powered sump pump and
I will have to pull that out before so I can run water through the pipe to
be sure no loose solder has fallen into the pipe. So, if I can avoid
But a joint failure will be a horrible mess, and I have to be sure it is
I am going on vacation Saturday, so you won't have to put up with my
questions for a while. I am NOT taking my laptop.
The vise may have acted as a big heatsink preventing the solder from being
wicked into the joint properly. Most likely it isn't going to "fail". It
may drip forever but the chances of a blowout are minimal.
Are you using propane or Mapps gas. Mapps is generally easier for lead free
Give it a few days. I doubt that a soldered connection will improve
(threaded ones sometimes do). Shut off the water while on vacation. When
you are back and fresh, do what you know you have to do. We have all had
that one d&*^ fitting that leaked.
Propane. I have a bottle of Mapps and using it is probably a good idea.
Some of those joints took a while.
Can't shut off the water on vacation. It is for a water powered backup
sumppump, and the whole idea was to get it in before vacation in case there
was a power outage!
I don't care about the drip if it doesn't foreshadow a joint failure.
Highly unlikely if you're not going to be gone for an extended period...
It's quite possible it will generate enough corrosion products that
<eventually> it will quit seeping, but comfort would be to go back and
fix it when you do get home.
I do alot of brazing in my line of work. An old timer told me
one time " If you don't have a leak now and then, then your not do'in
enough brazing." You know what in my case? I could braze a joint
standing on my head way back in some inaccessible space, then some
thing right in front of my face or like you done at the work bench.
This will be the one that leaks. Like the previous poster said " you
know what you have to do, right" .
Thermal Product Solutions
Yes, that is what I meant. Where ya goin on vacation? I am
presently working in Miami. WOW, what great weather. 75 to 80
everyday. No humidity to speak of. Have a great time.
Thermal Product Solutiions
If you can remove the water from that joint, sand the joint where the
drip was. Put a dab of flux on it. Heat it lightly and put a drop of
solder on. That will most likely take care of it.
If the leak is that small it will probably clog with mineral deposits
in a few days.
Of course, you being anal and all, you know you are going to take it
apart and do it right, the way it should have been done in the first
Use clean flux and a new/er flux brush. Use a good torch. Not some old
thing thats been laying around for 20 years. The turbo torch line is
pretty awesome and not all that expensive.
A clean joint is a happy joint.
- Nehmo -
A plumbing job should have NO leaks whatsoever. That's not being anal;.
that's simply doing the job to minimum standards. And don't wish for
mineral deposits to clog the leak.
Cut out the T with a pipe cutter. Replace it with compression fittings.
To check for leaks: pressurize the pipes (turn on the water, that is) >
get some dry toilet paper and wipe the junction dry completely > wait a
couple of minutes > wipe the junction all around again with some new
toilet paper > If the toilet paper has a wet spot, you did something
I forgot to mention, if you got a leak, you are not cleaning the pipes
good enough. Yes, leaks happen, even to us plumbers, but I learned
after a few months on the job that if I spent a few more minutes
THOROUGHLY cleaning the pipes and fittings, I'd save an hour or more
fixing a leak later on. The trick is clean, and clean more.....
Apply lots of flux to both pieces..... Heat quickly, apply solder, and
get done with it. You are NOT milking a cow. Get it done fast !!!!
One other thing. On an elbow or tee, sweat ALL two or three joints at
the same time. In other words, clean and flux all of them, stick them
all together cold, apply your pipe hangers or temporary hangers.
Apply a piece of wire or a stick (downstream from the fitting), if you
must do so to keep everything tight. Now, take your torch and heat
the lowest joint first. If they are all the same level, it dont
matter. Then immediately go to the next one, which will almost be
heated enough to apply the solder, and to the 3rd (on a tee). If a
pipe starts to pull out of a fitting while soldering, use your 3rd
hand to push it tight and hold till cool. Ohhhhh, you say you dont
have a 3rd hand???? Thats why I always use a torch with a hose. I
learned to hang the gas tank on my belt, and got to where I can hold
the torch and solder in the same hand, use the other hand to keep
things tight if needed. Yeah, that takes practice.
I always wipe the joint with a damp cloth too, so that hangs out my
shirt pocket. If you plan to wipe the joint, wear a thick leather
glove on at least the one hand you wipe with. I have gotten burned
many times from dripping hot solder. However, I like nice looking
It needs to be taken apart and resoldered sometime, yes. But not necessarily
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
I would personally re-do it, but I am a plumber and for me thats no
big deal. The hardest part is getting all the water out of the pipe,
of course that depends on where your problem is located. I have been
known to cut a pipe nearby and sweat in a union to drain the thing.
Anyhow, that's what "I" would do.
I am not going to tell you the joint will not pop apart, because if it
does, you'll have your lawyer hunt me down. However, I will go so far
as to say that it's unlikely it will pop apart if that is all the
water that is leaking, and of course you tugged on it, just to nbe
Anyhow, you can do this. Drain all the water. Be sure there is no
water at that joint. Apply a little heat with yout torch, using a
sweeping back and forth motion. That way you wont melt the joints.
Thoroughly clean that joint with a wire brush and emery cloth (or
sandpaper). Get it nice and shiny. Be sure it's still dry. Then
apply a glob of JB Weld. Be sure to coat that entie joint. JB Weld
is super strong, It will seal the leak and you will never be able to
take that joint apart again.
Let it dry thoroughly before pressuring the pipes again. Follow the
instructions on the package and add more time. You'll be best not to
turn the water on for a full day or longer, so fill jugs with drinking
and cooking water, the kicthen sink for dishes, and fill the tub and
place a pail nearby so you can flush the toilet with a pail of water
from the tub. Shower by a friends house, or stink for one day.
JB Weld is not the cheapest stuff, but it really works miracles on
almost anything. They do make a quick dry version of it. That might
speed things up for you. If the pipe is verticle, a little duct tape
can be used to keep the JB from running down.
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