Options for redoing this baseboard connection?

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Old 02-07-20, 09:16 AM
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Options for redoing this baseboard connection?

Renovating a room and installed new baseboard and we connected the old 90* elbow with bleeder valve to the new baseboard element's pipe using a short piece of 3/4" pipe and two 45* elbows. We had a tough time getting these 45* joints sealed and we kept having leaks every time we tested. After a few attempts, the joints had too much old solder to have much hope of getting a good seal, so we decided to start over.

We cut and removed the elbows; when pulling the short piece of pipe (that bridged between the old 90* elbow with bleeder valve and the first 45* elbow), the old 90* elbow cracked.





We could try to heat and pull the old 90* elbow off, and assuming it doesn't crack the pipe running into the floor, replace with a new 90* elbow with bleeder and then as before, a short piece of pipe, and 2 x 45* elbows.

If removing the old 90* elbow cracks the vertical pipe at the joint, we could cut the vertical pipe just below the damaged portion, and then I guess the pieces needed would be a connecting piece, short piece of pipe, 90* elbow with bleeder, short piece of pipe, 2 x 45* elbows.

Wondering if you guys have any better ideas on making this connection. As you can see from the pics, the vertical pipe coming out of the ground is at an angle, so the old 90* elbow is a lot closer to the baseboard rear cover than the baseboard element's pipe. It's also very slightly lower than the element's pipe. That's why we used 2 x 45* elbows.

Because the old 90* elbow is so close to the baseboard rear cover, since we have to replace that piece, it would be nice to come up a solution that
1. doesn't result in a joint that is pressed up against the baseboard rear cover - would make soldering a lot easier
2. and also would be nice to avoid having the bleeder pressing up against baseboard cover and make it easier to access and operate. Does a piece like that exist? All the bleeder valves I'm seeing are built into 90* elbows.

Open to suggestions, thanks.
 
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02-08-20, 05:02 AM
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Hi, Sharkbite fittings are fine for Hydronic systems as long as the temp does not exceed 200* and pressure is not greater than 200 PSI.
Geo
 
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Old 02-07-20, 12:00 PM
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Hi, how about Sharkbite fittings
https://www.homedepot.com/p/SharkBit...6LFA/309436393
Geo
 
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Old 02-07-20, 04:50 PM
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First I doubt if that 90 will come off with heat. You can only heat up a joint so much before it becomes welded due to overheating. I think you would be better off cutting it off and see if that pipe can be cleaned up enough to use. Try a little heat to melt the solder and then wipe it quickly while it's hot and the sandcloth the hell out of it and hope for the best. If you cannot get it clean enough it will not take solder.

Next cut back on the element pie and give yourself room to work. Dry fit everything first and make your adjustments before you solder. When you cut the element pipe you can use a slip coupling which has no stop to make it easier getting the pipe into the space provided.

On a side note if this is on a loop system where you bleed the loop from the return line of the zone you do not need the bleeder. If you do put a bleeder in after it's installed try bleeding from it and I doubt if you will ever get any air from it. Unless you have a monoflo system with rads they are useless in my opinion.


Hope this helps a little.
 
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Last edited by spott; 02-07-20 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 02-07-20, 05:15 PM
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The old pipe must be 110% clean or it will never seal correctly. I've taken black copper and cleaned it. Get a roll of crocus cloth (metal emery sandpaper) makes the job much easier.

Just as an aside...... I wouldn't recommend sharkbite fittings as they predominantly seal with a rubber o ring. A heating loop runs very hot and will kill that o ring. I'd call that a limited life connection.
 
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Old 02-08-20, 03:51 AM
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You can only heat up a joint so much before it becomes welded due to overheating.
It will come off, you are not welding the copper your applying a lower melting point filler material.

Your in a hard spot, that pipe coming out of the floor is at a bad angle.

Your going to have to stack a couple of 90's to get away from the back. Go to a plumbing store, they will have long and short radius 90's so you can play with them and it wont be the cheap China crap the big box stores sell.

And as mentioned, clean, clean, and then clean some more!!!
 
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Old 02-08-20, 05:02 AM
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Hi, Sharkbite fittings are fine for Hydronic systems as long as the temp does not exceed 200* and pressure is not greater than 200 PSI.
Geo
 
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Old 02-09-20, 07:30 AM
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Is that floor concrete? Do you have a basement or crawl space beneath that floor. If you cant get underneath, hire someone that knows how to solder. If he can't get the solder to seal I would braze the fittings. As the other guys have said, when you sand the fittings and all the joints and you think it is clean sand again to make sure. Use a good solder and a flux like stay clean acid flux. Remember, it has to be clean, clean, clean.
 
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Old 02-09-20, 08:16 AM
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Yes, the floor is concrete. Nothing underneath (except earth).
 
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Old 02-10-20, 03:39 AM
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@Cartman, looking at the amount of solder on the floor I don't think that the person doing the soldering has ever soldered before. I do not mean to be judgemental but please call in a company or person that knows how to solder. Looking at the pictures, I can see that the solder did not go the entire way into the joint since the joint was not cleaned good enough. You may not have to remove that split elbow if you can solder the joint and cover the outside with a good silver bearing solder. If the existing joints shown in the picture do not leak then fixing what you have is possible. Also go out and buy a heat shield to keep heat away from the enclosure. One last thing, if the solder does not flow into the joint but runs away, more heat will not fix the problem because the joint is not clean enough or you are using the wrong solder, flux or something. By the way, what brand and type of solder and flux are you using and what type torch. Remember, CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN.
 
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Old 02-10-20, 12:56 PM
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@Steamboy, my brother did the soldering. He's done a fair bit of DIY plumbing and has soldered lots of copper pipe joints. He's never had this kind of problem before. There's a lot of excess solder on the floor because after initially soldering the joint, we turned on the water; prior to resoldering, we used compressed air to clear the line downstream (return side) of the joint. Tried resoldering a couple of times and that didn't take. Then we figured there was still too much water in the pipes, so we removed a bleeder valve from a 90* elbow further upstream (on the supply side) and blew out the line in that direction as well. But at this point, the joint was probably worked over too many times and we weren't able to seal it. So we decided to cut out the connection and start over.

We have a piece of metal we used as a heat shield elsewhere. But at the joint where the 90* elbow connects to a short piece of copper pipe (before that connects to 45* elbows), there isn't enough room to get the heat shield in there. That 90* elbow is nearly touching the baseboard rear cover, so squeezing a heat shield back there would have the heat shield pressing on the elbow. That's why I'm wondering if there's a different assortment of pieces we can use when redoing the connection to avoid having any of the joints so close to the baseboard rear cover - that would surely make soldering a little easier.

I'll check on solder, flux and torch and get back.
 
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Old 02-10-20, 01:02 PM
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@spott, it is a loop system and I can bleed by the pump. This zone covers basement and ground floor - the section of pipe in the OP is on ground floor. Bleeding by opening the spigot is done in the basement. So I figure while opening the spigot will get out most of the air, there will always be a little air trapped in the pipe on the ground floor, hence my desire to have a bleeder up there.
 
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Old 02-10-20, 01:51 PM
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I find in most cases vents on a system like yours are a personal choice and if you are more comfortable with them then by all means use them. Personally I have found no use for them on a loop system. If properly bled you can remove all the air by conventional bleeding at the boiler level. You never bleed withe pump on but if you tried it the water is going by so fast you will not get air through the vent anyway. If you bleed through the vent with the pump off you better hope the air is at the vent when you start or as you continue to bleed water trying to get air all you're doing is draining you zone and refilling with fresh water which will bring in more air which is the boilers worst enemy.

Just my thoughts on venting. On another note have you considered putting a piece of pex tubing in there and eliminating the fittings.
 
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Old 02-10-20, 02:47 PM
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@spott, so what constitutes proper bleeding? What I've done is open the zone's supply side valve, then open the zone's spigot above the zone's pump (shutoff valve above the pump is closed), and let the water run into a bucket until there are no more "burps" indicating air, and the water is pouring out smoothly. What I might do next time is get a piece of hose and thread it onto the spigot, and submerge the other end of the hose in the bucket and watch for air bubbles. But other suggestions on how to properly bleed are welcome. If I can get all the air out at the spigot, my desire for a bleeder valve at the baseboard goes away.

Nope, had not considered pex, but am intrigued. I guess you use an adapter that sweats onto the copper pipe at either end of the open connection,and then run pex tubing between the two adapters? That might eliminate the difficulty of sweating a joint right up against the baseboard rear cover, as well as sweating multiple consecutive 45* joints, which seems to be a bit tricky.
 
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Old 02-10-20, 05:26 PM
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The trick to bleeding is that once you are satisfied that all the air is out you do not want to add more fresh water to make up for the lost pressure. To achieve this you bleed under high pressure.

First you shut off your boiler. Never bleed with pump running. You should have a feed valve that is usually preset at 12psi. Hopefully that feed valve has a manual bypass lever to manually adjust the pressure. You want to lift the lever until you get between 25 - 28 psi. You must watch it close because at 30 your relief valve will let go so to be safe for the first time at least 25 is fine. The idea is that when your zone is bled you still have that 25 in there which means your feed valve will not automatically feed in fresh water to bring more air. When you are done bleeding you close the lever on your feed valve and close the spigot. You should have around 25 psi in the boiler. At this point you can slowly drain a little water out of the spigot until you get to your desired pressure with no assistance from the feed valve. I run my system at 20 psi which Taco actually recommends with wet rotor pumps which is what you have. Your system will run better with less chance of cavitation in the pump.

A side note. You want to shut off all other zones except the one you are bleeding. You should have shutoffs on the supply and return lines of the zones but if you do not have a shutoff on the supply side if you have zone valves on the supply then those are 100% shutoffs so they are the same as a valve in this case. Remember to manually open the zone valve on the zone you are bleeding for circulation purposes and then close when done.

When done you open up your return valve and any other valves you shut off and turn on your boiler and test.

Once you have completed this you will be air free as long as your system is not opened up again. You'll be surprised how quiet it will run and you can forget your vents.

Hope this helps a little. As far as the pex goes, yes you will have to still change the 90 unless you take SB suggestion which I've never done so I cannot comment on it but he has many years in the business so it's something he might have done. Either way there would be an adaptor on the 2 ends and then a piece of pex in the middle.

If you go to Supplyhouse.com you can see all kinds of fitting options. Just put whatever you want in the search box. I put in pex fittings and then click on the one you want and it will show all the different fittings and then put in pex tools and they will come. If you scroll down a while there is actually a hand crimper for cheap money if only doing a few. Same if you want to see what's available in copper. There is also a number to call. They are very helpful and sell to the public where some supply houses will not.
 
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Last edited by spott; 02-10-20 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 02-11-20, 07:56 PM
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So I was checking out pex - this stuff is pretty neat. This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E22gIQAPPbI) shows an expansion tool, but I see there are also crimping tools. For different applications? Expansion tool is nice as you aren't space constrained since you can perform the expansion away from a tight spot, as in the corner we're working in as shown in pics in the OP.

Is there a particular grade of pex tubing that is suitable for hydronic heating?
 
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Old 02-11-20, 09:11 PM
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For heating systems you need to use a PEX with an oxygen barrier. Ordinary PEX for plumbing will cause problems. You will still have to adapt from the copper to PEX. When using Shark Bite fittings the pipe has to be smooth or you will have leaks. You're right back to Steamboy's "clean, clean, clean".
 
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Old 02-22-20, 09:04 AM
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Getting back around to this; after reading up on PEX and Sharkbite, I think using these parts might be an easier installation in that tight space.The Sharkbite fittings are rated to 200F and 200 PSI, and the oxygen barrier PEX is rated to 200F at 80 psi. My boiler is set to a cutoff of ~185* and the pressure is well below the PEX pressure rating (even the municipal water pressure is below 80 PSI, it's ~60 PSI). So I think these parts should hold up. And none of it is buried or behind walls, so even if there is a problem, it won't go undetected for a long time and it's easy to get at for replacement.

Here's the plan - please let me know if you see any issues.
1. cut the vertical pipe coming out of the ground just below the existing 90* elbow with a mini-hacksaw
2. clean off the vertical pipe coming out of the ground
3. install Sharkbite 3/4 in. 90* brass elbow - this would skip the need to solder in that tight corner
4. on the baseboard element's pipe, sweat on a short piece of 3/4" pipe
5. install Sharkbite 3/4" brass coupling onto that short piece of 3/4" pipe
6. install piece of oxygen barrier PEX between the 2 Sharkbite fittings

As I understand it, this setup wouldn't need any PEX crimp or expansion tools. Just press the PEX tubing into the Sharkbite fittings.

Any issues with this plan of attack?
 

Last edited by cartman; 02-22-20 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 02-22-20, 09:22 AM
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The Sharkbite fittings are rated to 200F and 200 PSI, and the oxygen barrier PEX is rated to 200F at 80 psi. My boiler is set to a cutoff of ~185*
Everybody has to make decisions for themself, personally that is just way to close for my sense of well being!
 
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Old 02-22-20, 04:06 PM
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So rather than cut the old elbow off, we figured we'd try heating it off. The old solder melted easily so no problem getting the old elbow off, but the top of the pipe was cracked (it is very thin - they really cheaped out using such thin copper for an underground run), so I ended up cutting anyway - used a hacksaw to cut a little bit below the crack. Started sanding and noticed that the back of the pipe is slightly deformed:



Height of pipe above ground is 2-1/8". Height of pipe just below the deformed area is 1-3/8".

If I cut the pipe just below the deformed area (cutting 3/4" off the pipe), I'm left with 1-3/8" of pipe. Sharkbite insertion depth is 1-1/8" for 3/4" pipe. So this would be cutting it super close. And with the Sharkbite so close to the floor, it might be tough to remove the fitting if it was leaking - though maybe the disconnect tong could get under there (the clip would not fit).

If I don't cut the pipe, I think that bend will be in the area of the O-ring, and thus won't get a good seal.

An alternative is to cut ~3/8" off the pipe, leaving me with ~1-3/4" of pipe, of which the top 3/8" is deformed. And then hope it seals. If it doesn't, at least the fitting will be ~5/8" off the floor and I can remove it.

I'm guessing sweating a 90* elbow on as is will never work given how much of a gap the solder would need to fill (also the bend faces the baseboard cover, so practically no working room).

So that leaves another alternative of cutting just below the deformed area and sweating on a sweat-to-Sharkbite 90* elbow fitting (if such a fitting exists). And pray that it's watertight, because if we have to remove that fitting, we'd risk the thin walled pipe cracking, leaving us even less exposed pipe, at which point we might have to break up the concrete and cut and connect new pipe under the floor. Trying to avoid that if possible.

Before I start cutting and reducing options, figured I'd see if anyone has any ideas, thanks.
 

Last edited by cartman; 02-22-20 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 02-22-20, 07:05 PM
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I wouldn't try to put a sharkbite on that pipe for all the tea in China. I don't see nearly enough good pipe for a sharkbite.
 
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Old 02-22-20, 07:54 PM
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I cut 3/4" off the pipe. Looks like there's enough room to fully seat the sharkbite and maybe just enough room to use the disconnect tong if the fitting doesn't seal well. Only issue is even with 3/4" cut off, the top of the pipe isn't perfectly round - much better than before, but just a little out of round.



I could use channellocks to get it round enough to fit a coupling on. I think only the top 1/4" to 1/2" is out of round (probably a result of whatever created the much larger deformation I cut out), so I if use channellocks to get just the top 1/4" or so back to round, I'm guessing I can get a fitting on and fully seated. Seems that's the best option at this point.

Then the plan would be to fit the sharkbite 90 and see if it's watertight. If not, pull that sharkbite off, and sweat on a copper 90 (and at that point, I'd probably just skip the pex pipe and use copper fittings to complete the connection).

If both of those don't work, seems I'd have to resort to the worst case option of breaking up the concrete floor to cut off some of that old pipe and sweat on new pipe. But that's a whole lot of work I'd really like to avoid.

Again, very open to suggestions.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 04:39 AM
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If all else fails, and you screw up the piece sticking out of the floor, go to a store or HVAC company and ask if they can give you a piece of 3/4"OD tubing that would be left from an A/C installation. It is not too hard to find. Then, see if that piece of tubing will fit inside the 3/4"ID tubing sticking out of the floor. If it fits, clean the inside of the tubing coming out of the floor, insert the new piece of 3/4"OD tubing and have someone who knows how to silver braze copper tubing , solder that fitting. You can then purchase an adapter (reducing coupling) that will increase the tubing back up to the 7/8"OD or 3/4"ID normal size tubing. This is only if you screw up that piece and can't get something else to work. It could save you from digging up the concrete. A heat and A/C company could do this work. my 2 cents.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 06:42 AM
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piece of tubing will fit inside the 3/4"ID tubing
An interesting solution, maybe.

3/4" copper has ID dia of 0.745 Type K, 0.785 Type L, 0.811 Type M

5/8" copper has OD of 0.750

Will not work if type K, and the gap for Type L would be 0.35 which is well beyond the recommended gap of .006 for conventional solder connection!

I could not find references for brazed joints but soldering does not appear that it will work!
 
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Old 02-23-20, 06:51 AM
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How about using a crescent wrench to reround the pipe? Loosely fit the crescent wrench around the pipe and spin it (as far around as possible given the limited working room). Then gradually tighten it and repeat until pipe is round. Maybe put some petroleum jelly on the pipe to limit the scratching from the wrench.

Shown at the 5 min mark in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mt_SPghmRJI
 
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Old 02-23-20, 07:51 AM
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You can try whatever you want but, in my opinion, you will be ahead of the game to call a skilled professional.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 09:55 AM
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@Marq 1 your math is a little off. ID for 3/4L is 0.785 and the OD for is .750 and the difference is .035 which is pretty close to your .003. , so it will work. But @Grady is right when he said to hire a professional to do that solder job.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 12:23 PM
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and the OD for is .750
No, the OD is actually 7/8" (.875)!

I think the cement needs to go, get down 3" which should be easy with air chisel, the cement will not be bonded to the copper. Pipe will be straight and more room to solder to virgin tubing,

You will never be able to straighten that kink out!
 
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Old 02-23-20, 03:38 PM
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Marq1 why do think it's not possible to reround that pipe? There are rerounding tools on the market meant to do just that - I have no idea how well they work, but if plumbing supply stores sell them, it must mean that plumbers are buying them.

But I do take the point you guys are making. Before I do anything else and FUBAR that bit of exposed pipe, I'm going to a plumbing supply shop and see what they say - maybe they'll have the perfect tool for this.

Good point on air chisel - I was dreading the amount of labor involved, but an air hammer and chisel should make it easy enough. But to be able to solder, you have to be able to apply heat underneath the pipe, no? Seems like I'd have to dig much lower than the pipe to apply heat to underside.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 04:57 PM
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Just thinking out loud, if using a Sharkbite fitting or sweating a copper fitting on the bit of exposed pipe doesn't work, maybe running 1/2" oxygen barrier pex inside the underground pipe through to where the pipe resurfaces (at another baseboard) would work. Pressure will be higher, so that might be a problem; depends on how much higher. Volume would be reduced, but seems to me that's not a problem for hydronic heating pipes.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 05:31 PM
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Your over complicating things here..

Solder on a coupling , extend pipe a bit, add elbow, then a st 45 to bring it out to match other pipe

I could do it blind folded..

Just call a pro.. your wasting your time and can, will get into more trouble.

Dont use shark bite, dont use pex... sweat it!!!!
 
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Old 02-23-20, 05:34 PM
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Pasco copper resizing tool: https://www.amazon.com/Pasco-4344-co...dp/B0019VQWLK/



Not sure what the piece on the left is - maybe after you tap the pipe opening mostly into round, you slip that piece over the pipe, then tap again with the other piece and that sandwiches the pipe into perfect round? I'll email Pasco and ask.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 06:10 PM
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https://www.supplyhouse.com/Yellow-J...es-3-16-to-5-8

Example of a swedging or swaging tool. It is spelled both ways but same tool. You can get one for 3/4 C. You insert it into end of pipe and widens it to accept a male fitting such as a 90* street el. You solder in the 90 and cut back on the element to give your plenty of room to work and then add you connecting pipe.

It can be researched on google or you might even find a demo on youtube. There are different sizes so make sure you get the right one.
 
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Old 02-23-20, 07:01 PM
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Cartman: With all due respect to Spott, don't use that type of swaging tool. It's way too easy to puncture the pipe below the concrete. I only use the ones for a specific size tubing. They are all sized for refrigeration size (OD) which in your case would be 7/8.
I think all of us trying to help you agree in saying your best bet is to call a pro. Trying to DIY where there's no longer any margin for error, could easily wind up costing you big $.
 
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Old 02-24-20, 12:48 PM
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Grady,
I too used to use the right size for the pipe but could not find any examples of them. They all want to sell the kits now. As I said this was just an example of the way to use it and what they do but you are 100% right that this particular tool would not have been good not knowing what was under the floor and thank you for pointinting that out and sorry for the confusion. I would hate to think a suggestion caused more trouble.

Anyway, I went on a quest and found one more condusive to his problem. My thinking with the swedge was the pipe is solid in concret as a vice or support and already out of round so the swedge would just open it up to accept a pipe. Below is a sight with another pic of the better option.

https://www.ebay.com/p/1803924951?ii...SABEgKRWvD_BwE

Sorry for the confusion but Grady was 100% right and a good catch.
 
  #35  
Old 02-24-20, 05:27 PM
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Spott, Yessir, that's the critter. I'd be real careful with 'M' copper,. Let alone the fact it's old. Might split.
 
  #36  
Old 02-24-20, 08:47 PM
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Grady,
You're right. The only reason I even mentioned it is because he was considering using that as a pipe chase feeding pex through it to the next piece of baseboard and connect into that so it wouldn't matter if the pipe split but for short money it might be worth the chance if he is careful.

It was just a Hail Mary.
 
  #37  
Old 02-25-20, 08:46 AM
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I screwed up on my answer #26. I should have said that the ID for 3/4"L is 0.785 and the OD for 5/8"C is 0.750. So using 5/8" copper as an adapter if all else fails sould work. Other than that, you could tap in a swedging or swaging tool into the 7/8"OD/3/4"ID copper carefully to try and straighten it (remove to oval), then as @Lawrosa said solder on a coupling or if all else fails, do as I said and use the 5/8"OD soft copper and adapters to reconnect to the heating element. And remember to Clean, clean, clean.
 
  #38  
Old 02-25-20, 07:59 PM
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braze not solder on a coupling and you should be ok I would hire a plumber to braze it if you haven't done it before
 
  #39  
Old 02-25-20, 08:43 PM
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but if plumbing supply stores sell them, it must mean that plumbers are buying them.
No it dont. I never bought one or used one.

Before I do anything else and FUBAR that bit of exposed pipe, I'm going to a plumbing supply shop and see what they say - maybe they'll have the perfect tool for this.
Im a plumber 35 years and never used a pipe rounding tool. I used a swedger tool back in the 80's to save on couplings but thats about it.

Ive been doing this a long time

apparently your going to do what you want so im out. good luck.
 
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