Tip & How-To about Plumbing

Stop water to sweat (solder) water line.

If you have any water, just a trickle, a occasional drip in your waterline near were you need to sweat(solder) the pipe together, your in big trouble if you have no experience in dealing with this problem. As you heat the copper pipe or brass with your torch the water turns to steam actually keeping the temperature of the pipe below the melting point of the solder.

Safety First
Always have a fire extinguisher near by. Remove any materials from behind or around your work area that are easily ignitable, like insulation. In tight areas, use a spray bottle of water to soak any surrounding wood, and if possible use a heat guard, like sheet metal.

What you'll need, Ball valve, pen, (Torch-Mapp Gas), flux, sand-cloth, solder, channel locks and a piece or two of white bread, yes bread, your pipes are hungry.

First thing is to prep everything. Clean your ball valve and pipe end with sand-cloth, make it nice and shiny. Flux ball valve. Remove crust from bread, do not crush or roll bread up into a ball. We want the bread to remain porase to soak up and slow down the flow of water to your joint, water is pulled towards the heat source.

The pipe will have some flex to it depending on if it is secured tightly near by the joint or not, if you can, pull down slightly, not to hard or you may break a good joint down the line, try and get as much of that water out as possible. Make sure all faucets, spickets and shower valves are completely open, if not that will create a finger over the straw effect.

Now heat further back the line to draw the water away from end. Put pieces of bread in pipe, creating a 6" to 10" long sponge, "Bread must not be rolled up or crushed" push it lightly back with finger or pen. Wipe off any bread crumbs from your already cleaned pipe end and flux, put ball valve on, leave valve open. heat ball valve were the copper end has entered. Heat rises, so work from the bottom as you heat the fitting. The faster your able to heat the joint, the more likely you'll be successful. Do not have two people with two torches, you may burn each others face off, not advised. !!!Always be aware of were your lit torch is pointing!!!

Having an extra set of hands in this frustrating time will make things much easier. The trick is to get the water away long enough to sweat the pipe, since you didn't roll the bread up, it will flush out easily when you turn the water back on, Always turn the main valve back on slowly.This is the cheap version of the JET-SWET. Good Luck.

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What is the best method for retro-fitting a residential water line with a protective shroud, so that a concrete driveway can be poured over it?

Depending how deep it is underground there might not be a solution.
First of all waterline should be below the frost line, about 36" to 42". Anything shallower that that it might be asking for trouble from freezing if you live in a cold climate. If you can open one end of the water line you might try putting a steel pipe (schedule 80) around it then back filling with gravel prior to the concrete install. If you can't open one end of the water pipe cut a piece of culvert pipe in half, place both sides around the pipe, then use tie wire or clamps to keep the halves together then back fill with gravel.

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Water dispenser in door keeps dripping. What do I do?

Well lets make sure it is waterline leaking. Look up to see if door on chute is closed. And is not sweating. If it is dry then you will need to change the watervalve. I hope this helps.

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water coming from the back of the shower

most likelt your home has copper water pipes. If the shower head's pipe has any movement the sweated solder joint is most likely cracked causing the leak inside the wall. If it is mounted securelt one of the sweated connections has a faulty solder joint that needs to be resoldered

Aug 19, 2011 | Home

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