Our house has city water for everything but the outside faucets, which
are fed by a well. The well has died, so I plan on cutting the copper
pipe coming from the well, and connecting it into the copper city water
line just after the shutoff valve where it comes into the house.
Luckily, the two lines are only about 3 feet apart from each other. I
have never worked with copper pipes before, only plastic. I thought
about practicing sweating joints first on small scrap pieces of pipe,
sealing one end, and pressurizing the pipe with my air compressor to
check for leaks before I attempt this for real on my house plumbing.
What kind of pressure is in a typical house with city water plumbing? I
am nervous about this project, cause once I cut into the house line, I
will have to finish it, and do it right or I will not have any water in
the house at all till it IS right. Any thoughts/tips/suggestions are
appreciated! Thanks, Earl
Sounds like a workable plan.
Get someone knowledgeable to help you. Also good joints are made with
clean connections; use new fittings (not expensive) and clean old pipe
carefully. Should not need testing in fact the water pressure itself
will prove each joint. Been doing our own (plumbing etc.) for over 40
years and had very little trouble. Not even when converting from a
well pump (20 to 40 lbs. sq.inch) to municipal water probably at
around 60+ lbs. sq.inch. no problems with older joints.
Before cutting and soldering; have everything planned and ready. Water
off make sure pipes are drained and dried out; other wise the joints
will not heat and solder will not flow into each joint correctly. Even
a small drip of water will prevent proper soldering!
Not too hard to do. Someone helping you may have most of the gear
needed; so you may only need to buy some solder, flux, sandpaper and a
small propane bottle of gas. i.e. The consumables.
Good luck with your project.
A few notes -
1. Be sure you are using the current lead free solder and flux.
2. Cut and dry fit (assemble) the entire new section before soldering
any of it.
3. After dry fitting the assembly, assemble and solder it progressively,
a couple joints at a time, cleaning and fluxing each connection well.
4. Trying to pre assemble too much before soldering will melt away flux
from the furthest joints without heating them enough for the flux to
work properly and trying to work all the way through in one shot will
tend to overheat sections.
5. Be sure to apply plenty of solder all around the joint, wiping off
the excess with a slightly damp rag when done.
6. Do not apply the torch to the solder, rather heat the fittings with
the torch until the solder melts readily when applied to the fitting on
the opposite side from the torch. At that point remove the torch and run
the solder all the way around the joint allowing the capillary action to
draw the solder into the joint.
7. Figure about 1"-2" of the solder should be consumed for each joint on
1/2" - 3/4" dia. copper plumbing. More than that may build up inside the
pipe and restrict flow, less risks an incompletely soldered joint which
may leak after a few days from a small flaw the was plugged with flux
8. When plumbing solo it is helpful to have two push pins with 16" of
string tied between them. This assembly is a great help in supporting a
section of pipe between floor joists wile soldering joints.
9. In some cases it is helpful to pre assemble and solder a section of
an assembly out of place i.e. on the floor on a couple firebricks rather
than try to solder a bunch of joints in a location that is difficult to
access. The assembly can be dry fit in place and a Sharpie used to mark
joint alignment to be sure you have it correct when set on the
10. A wet rag or one of the fiberglass heat blocking mats is a big help
in avoiding scorch marks on nearby joists and studs.
11. Use MAPP gas, not propane, it will make life a lot easier, as will a
trigger start torch such as the Bernzomatic TS series.
12. Be sure not to overheat the seats and stem packing of any valves.
Some valves can be partly disassembled before soldering to remove and
protect the seats, others cannot. If you are getting much discoloration
of the copper fittings from your soldering, you are overheating the
fittings and should practice more before soldering valves. Remember to
heat until the solder melts when it contacts the joint and then remove
Depending on your water prices, you might want to revive the well. Watering can
be very expensive.
If the outside faucets are not all standard above ground faucets, for instance,
if you have a buried sprinkler system, you will need to install anti-backflow
devices to avoid contaminated water from being sucked back into the pipes in
event of a water system failure.
You will have to get ALL the water out of the pipes where you solder or you will
not get them hot enough.
Yes, I forgot about sewer. I'm on a septic tank, so we don't get
charged a sewer fee, but If we did it would be based on the water used
through the meter just as you describe.
Does the $4.66/K include the sewer fee?
I'm curious now. Does anyone else know what their city or county water
Quote: e01e wrote on Sat, 25 August 2007 13:49
I know any self-respecting professional plumber would probably not use these but
the last copper plumbing job I did (replacing hot water heater) I found some
"pre soldered" fittings at Home Depot.
These fittings have the solder built into the little "bump" and you just clean
the pipe (I put flux on too) and hit them with the torch and when they get to
temp the solder flows and you've got a good joint.
I could only find them at Home Depot (not Lowes).
President - Top Service Pros, Inc.
Connecting Homeowners and Local Service Professionals
You could always use compression fittings. They take no skill.
They are more expensive than soldering, but if you are only
doing one or two, would still cost less than the tools you need
When you plan to cut into the main house line, add a good quality ball valve
in series so that you can cut the house water off easily when needed and
also add a "union" fitting. If your soldering is less than perfect it will
allow you to uncouple the union fitting so that you can drain the water out
of the pipe and re-solder it. Remember to add a ball valve in your branch
line so that it can be turned off as needed. You can't have too many valves.
One hint with soldering, especially with the lead free solder, clean both
the pipe and inside of the fitting very well. As for the fitting clean the
edge and about an 1/8th of an inch all around the outside of the fitting.
Flux the pipe, flux the inside of the fitting, flux the edge of the fitting
and flux the 1/8" outside edge. When the pipe and fitting are hot enough to
melt the solder by just touching it to the joint, be sure to run the solder
ALL the way around the joint while building a fillet against the edge of the
fitting and even slightly over the outside where you cleaned it. The new
lead free solders do not melt and run into and around the whole joint as
easily as the lead solders used to, by building a fillet around the edge of
the joint, you ensure that you have the solder filling the joint, and will
be less likely to be a leaky joint.
I just did a whole lot of joints and when I was tired, I didn't follow my
own advice on two joints, and they both were leakers. It takes less time and
effort to do it correctly the first time than to waste time trying to drain
a pipe and fix a leaker.
On Aug 25, 1:49 pm, email@example.com (big e lewis) wrote:
You're lucky to have both a well hole and municipal, many towns with
municipal supply wont permit you to drill a new well, but do
grandfather in the old wells. I'd consider that once you put it out
of service. In Chicago water used to be free, up into the 1980's for
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