How to ? Copper water main & shut off valve replacement


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Old 02-26-07, 10:11 PM
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How to ? Copper water main & shut off valve replacement

Hi,

Glad to find you all. First post but long time DIY'er.

I have a well. There is a water tank next to the house. The main to the house has a Tee off for irrigation. There is a shut off valve that has failed just past the Tee. There is not enough room to cut the copper pipe and have enough material to attach a new valve.

How do I approach this. Attempt to disassemble the fittings? Re-do a large section of the main itself?

I can insert a photo if this forum allows it.

THANKS!
 
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Old 02-27-07, 04:49 AM
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You can insert a link to the photo if you host it somewhere like Photobucket. Then we can copy and paste the link into a browser and view it.
 
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Old 02-27-07, 04:54 AM
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Hard to say without a photo... but - I know that if I'm taking apart a fitting in close proximity to others - it's often easier, faster, and less prone to leaks to replace both the T fitting and the valve with new rather than try to disassemble/reassemble the old.
 
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Old 02-27-07, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by babato
Hi,

Glad to find you all. First post but long time DIY'er.

I have a well. There is a water tank next to the house. The main to the house has a Tee off for irrigation. There is a shut off valve that has failed just past the Tee. There is not enough room to cut the copper pipe and have enough material to attach a new valve.

How do I approach this. Attempt to disassemble the fittings? Re-do a large section of the main itself?

I can insert a photo if this forum allows it.

THANKS!
When you say the valve has failed, do you mean that it no longer closes off the water flow any more? If so can you buy an identical valve and just replace the guts with the new guts keeping just the old housing? Ive done this with many outdoor spigot valves when the washer screw breaks off or the handle screw breaks. Ive rarely run into a worn out housing.
 
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Old 02-27-07, 11:10 PM
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More Info

Hi Again,

The photo is not too good. It is 10:45 pm and it is raining, and the wife is asking what the heck I am doing! I will get one where the camera can actually focus tomorrow. But if you look to the left of the valve you can see the short distance from the fitting for the valve to the Tee from the main (the main has the black insulation stuff on it).

http://www.trans-sierra.org/Images/ebay/valve1.jpg

I am thinking that I would go for the easy way out of replacing the internal parts but I am concerned that I may damage the copper trying to do the repair. I tried to take the valve apart but could not get it to cooperate. I would like to get this to a point where I have threaded fittings that are easy to work with (sorry for the bad grammer). I think that means replacing even more than just this valve.

Right now it is about 96% closed. Just a small trickle going to the irrigation system. Not too much a problem except the horse watering troughs are on this line too!

Thanks again, you all are the best!
 
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Old 02-28-07, 04:36 AM
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With what you have, I would seriously consider trying to fix the innards rather than replacing the valve. The valve and connections seem to be solid, and you can replace the seat and stem packing much easier than resoldering fittings and a union just so you can remove it at a later date. Threaded connections aren't all they are cut out to be, so if you have no leaks at your present connections, turn off the water at the source, open the valve and try loosening the large nut, while firmly supporting the entire valve with a pipe wrench.
 
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Old 02-28-07, 04:39 AM
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With the right wrenches that thing should come apart and repair is simple. Otherwise replacement should not be a problem either. Just get that insulation out of the way and sweat the old one out and the new one in. The trick is to clean, clean, clean the parts and then flux and solder. If it's clean and dry it will go right together.
 
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Old 03-03-07, 07:23 AM
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Thanks for the info.

The fittings are tight. I will try the replacement of the internal valve parts.
 
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Old 03-11-07, 11:27 AM
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Struggling now, darn it

Hi,

I have not been successful in finding a similar size threaded replacement. I am unable to unthread the existing valve. I do not to break anything and am at the point of applying enough pressure to do just that!

So, then I tried to remove the old fittings by sweating them apart. I cannot get the old solder to melt. I am using propane and have heated it up for about 8 minutes. New solder melts like butter on the fitting but the old stuff is hard as rock.

How long should I have to heat up the old fitting to melt the old solder?

Thanks
 
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Old 03-11-07, 11:53 AM
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With water in the pipes, about two months. The water will have to be drained from the pipes in order to melt the solder. Open up some drains and let it get dry, then try again.
 
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Old 03-11-07, 12:12 PM
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Not sure I have a 2 month propane supply!

Pipes are drained except there is a very slow trickle. Main shut-off valve leaks too.

I figured I could get the valve pulled off and would drain the entire system while going to get the replacment parts.

So, it must be basically 100% dry?
 
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Old 03-11-07, 12:31 PM
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Yeah, if you don't you will have steam, and that will create a heat sink and cool down the joint too much. Let us know the results!
 
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Old 03-11-07, 07:11 PM
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Done and holding tight so far.

Thanks Larry. Amazing how fast it goes when totally dry.

I sanded the existing fittings. I did not get down to what I would call all copper. It was very smooth. I did not want to remove more material as I was already getting a little thin on the fit.

Think that will lead to a leaky spot?

Thanks to all. You are the best for helping. Really appreciate it!

Todd
 
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Old 03-12-07, 04:25 AM
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You did fine. Usually when reusing an old soldered pipe end, you can just heat up the end and wipe it clean with a rag, as you won't be able to remove all the solder down to copper.
The joints should be fine. Glad we could help.
 
 

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