Leaky copper sweat-joint fitting


Old 07-28-02, 05:38 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Leaky copper sweat-joint fitting

I've cut out the drywall ceiling below my upstairs bath and have located the source of a water leak. It is coming from a copper sweat joint elbow in the cold water supply line to the bath tub.

Can I repair this leak by "resweating" the joint and applying new solder - without diassembling the joint? or do I have to take the joint apart and remake it new - which is VERY difficult because I don't think the can get the new elbow onto the the pipe - there's not enough play in the pipe which is connected on both ends to parts I have no way of reaching (nor can I, without cutting it, get the old elbow off).

If I can "resweat" the pipe, I had intended to drain water out of the line by shutting off the water suppply to the house and opening downstairs faucets - but this will surely leave some moisture in the pipe. Is this a problem?
Old 07-28-02, 06:40 AM
Mike Swearingen's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeastern NC On The Albemarle Sound
Posts: 10,948
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts

You really need to sweat the fitting apart, clean it up, sand it, re-flux and re-solder it to repair it right.
Open the faucets above (air) and below (drain) it to allow it to drain.
Trying to re-solder it in place may work, but I doubt it.
Good Luck!
Old 07-28-02, 01:09 PM
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: hawaii
Posts: 299
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
cut the pipe right by the elbow socket, remove the elbow then reassemble using a street elbow and slip coupling. The street elbow has a socket on one side and is the same size as pipe on the other. The slip coupling doesn't have a stop in it so it can slide completely over the pipe then back onto the street elbow.
Old 07-29-02, 03:34 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thumbs up

Thanks for the two great replies. My friendly Home Depot had no copper slip joint connectors - only w/stops. So today I'm off to my plumbing supply house.


C. P. O'Neill
Old 07-29-02, 07:59 AM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 664
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
you can take abrasive cloth or a small file and smooth down the stop inside that coupling.
Old 07-29-02, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Riverdale, MD
Posts: 529
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Belive it or not, you can create slip joints by using the next size OD pipe. For example to get a fitting for a piece of 1/2" pipe, you would use a short length of 5/8" as a coupler.
Old 07-29-02, 05:22 PM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thnaks to all who replied. Took the afternoon off from work and tackled the leak.

The leaky connection is now repaired. I had a devil of a time trying to "unsweat" the existing joint - as it turns out, there was too much water in the horizontal leg of the pipe run which I could not get to drain. So - I could not get the existing solder to melt. So, following the advice here, I cut the pipe as close to the hub end of the elbow as I could. An amazing amount of water was still in the pipe. Used a street elbow and a slip coupling (which Lowes had, but Home Depot did not). Made up all the joints, but still had a dickens of a time trying to get the joint hot enough for the solder to flow - it wouldn't. Took joint apart again and soldered one end of the street elbow, then, having read my do-to-yourself plumbing book, used bread to stop any more water flowing into the joint. This time sucess. I could get the solder to flow into both ends of the slip coupling. Held my breath, turned the water to the house back on - and - lo and behold, the joint was good. First time I had ever seated a joint.

My wife was happy that we had water to get supper. It would not have been happy here if I had to leave the water to the house off all night and call a plumber in the morning.

Thanks to all you folks who gave me advice.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: