Plan A was to not forget, again, to shut off the water to the outdoor faucet
before it froze. Plan A failed. Again.
So now we're at Plan B, which is "fix it ourselves". We've found out where
the crack is, and have soldered it, but there is still a bit of dripping -
too much to live with. Before I proceed to Plan C ("Have the same plumber
fix the same pipe, for the same reason, and undoubtedly more money than last
spring."), does anyone have any suggestions for how to fix a frozen, then
soldered, and still dripping pipe? Do we have to replace that segment of
pipe? And is that beyond the abilities of a pair of do-it-yourselfers, do
you think? We don't weld.
Thanks in advance,
I've never heard of soldering a crack in a pipe, but that doesn't mean
someone hasn't done it successfully. More important question: There's a
thing call a frost free valve (faucet) for hose outlets. Why not just have
one of those installed? And if you are able to solder & you're already
installing that type of faucet, you may as well replace the damaged pipe.
This assumes that you enjoy sleeping soundly, especially when you're away on
vacation and you remember the cardboard boxes on the basement floor, all of
which will turn to mush.....
In addition to frost free faucet valves,
There are recirculating systems,electric wires made to wrap around pipe
and keep it warm, & insulating jackets.
We have plastic pipe which is a bit more forgiving than metal.
And, there is always global warming.
I went through the same thing last spring. I had the water turned off but the
copper pipe split in 4 or 5 places where it ran under the deck outside. Well,
what the hell. I cut out the bad sections and soldered in new pipe after doing
my very best to make sure the remaining pie and fittings were dry. Miracuously,
the joints held tight... and I've soldered maybe three things in my entire adult
life. It appears all those hours spent watching This Old House weren't wasted
Anyway, after doing the penance, I was damned if I was going to be so stupid
again. At the first threat of frost, I cut off the water under the house that
fed that pipe, then blew it out with some compressed air.
About two weeks ago I cut the water back on... no leaks! Life is good.
Look at it this way: if plan B is painful, then you'll be a little more careful
about plan A. And to answer your question specifically, I'd be very inclined to
cut out the bad section and solder in some new pipe and fittings.
You need to replace that section of pipe and you need to shut the water
off inside next fall and open the exterior tap so that water doesn't
remain trapped in the pipe.
If sweating(soldering) a fitting is beyond your abilities you can use
Although learning to solder is not difficult especially if you practice
a bit at the workbench instead of standing on your head in some crawl
Then, there are the effortless and free ways of remembering things. Go to
www.yahoo.com. Create a "group". Once you've done that, there's a calendar
function. Create an "event", like SHUT OFF THE OUTSIDE FAUCETS!!!, and tell
it to send you an email. Repeat the event 2 or 3 or 100 times in the month
before first frost date. Ba da bing. All set.
The pipe replacement is fairly straight forward and you don't
have to solder (or weld, as you put it). Nowdays they make
compression fittings for just the purpose you mention. Cut out
the piece of pipe, put in the new piece, fasten it with
compression fittings made for the pipe and turn the water back
on. Little muss & fuss.
A trip to a local hardware store/lumber yard may yield lots of
advice on the how-to part of it, and if that's not forthcoming,
come on back and ask.
I brazed a cracked copper pipe and Brazed a 3/8" whole in one once. But
for an armature replace the section of pipe. buy two slip coupling make sure
you mark the pipe so they are centered on the joint. When you turn the water
off to the outside hose bib, dose water remain in the line or can you drain
it? With the water still in the line it could still freeze.
It's not too difficult to solder in a new piece, just don't be afraid of the
fire. I was having problems successfully soldering (everything leaked) and
asked my cousin The Plumber for advice. He watched me and told me I had the
torch set too low. Just be careful not to burn your house down!
I have an outside water line which runs under an unheated porch. During
really cold spells I had the pipe freeze inside BEYOND where I had the water
cut off and drained. It only happened when I was away for a few days, so I
assume that it was because there was no water running inside the house and
the cold traveled through the outside pipe into the inside pipe (the inside
pipe runs right along the wall). After attempting several unsuccessful
fixes including heat tape and insulation, I cut the pipe where it enters the
house and soldered a threaded hose fitting to each end. I attach a washing
machine hose in the summer when I want to use the outside faucet. There's
no physical contact between the outside and inside copper, and no more
frantic calls from my winter house-sitter!
in the words of the immortal Sgt Schultz:
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