Re-solder leaking solder joint


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Old 05-12-10, 12:42 PM
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Re-solder leaking solder joint

After 20 years I discovered a copper pipe that began to drip at a tee inside the wall which is a bit difficult to get too. Can I drain the pipe and re-heat the joint until the solder melts. What are the chances that that will be as good as a new solder joint? Do you have any suggestions?
 
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Old 05-12-10, 01:01 PM
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20 years old...I wouldn't try. The new solders may not even be compatible. Theres a reason it started to drip. I'd disassemble that area, inspect and repair/replace as necessary. Its going to be wet inside and it will be very difficult to get a good joint.

If it was a brand new joint then maybe I'd try reheating.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by johnam View Post
After 20 years I discovered a copper pipe that began to drip at a tee inside the wall which is a bit difficult to get too. Can I drain the pipe and re-heat the joint until the solder melts. What are the chances that that will be as good as a new solder joint? Do you have any suggestions?
I would reheat the joint to get the tee completly off. IMO its harder to clean the inside of a used fitting. I would replace the tee, clean the ends of all the pipes with emery paper. clean the inside of the new tee, flux all the connections and re solder the entire fitting.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 01:18 PM
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When I said it was a bit difficult to get too, I should have said it's VERY difficult to get to. It's in the 2 X 6 wall that the stack goes through and I can see it through a 4 X 4 opening from the basement. I can't get to it from either side in the living area since the bathtub is on one side of the wall and a very narrow kitchen cabinet is on the other side. My only access is from the hole in the basement and the pipe is about a foot up from the sub-floor. I know that taking it apart and starting over is the way to go but I don't think it's possible. I will be looking at it again and maybe I'll get a brainstorm!!!
 
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Old 05-12-10, 01:25 PM
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Well..theres always Sharkbites...if you can at least cut the old stuff out.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 02:06 PM
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Gunguy and ElectricJoe, that's not the problem at all. I was able to get my hand in the hole and feel the pipe and I find that the leak is actually a tiny hole that looks like the plumber that put it in soldered it to seal it. What are my options? Remember, I can't remove the pipe. Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 04:38 PM
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Short of major surgery I think that your best bet is going to be some miracle plumbing epoxy, something that sets up in five minutes or so.

You will have to turn off any water and relieve the pressure. Then clean the area of all loose materials. It shouldn't need to be scrupulously clean but any loose material will lead to failure. Smear the epoxy all around the joint and be sure to overlap all surfaces with a good coating of the epoxy. Let it harden for at least an hour before re-pressurizing the line.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 05:58 PM
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Honestly there is no easy fix.

If you try to solder up into the space you could burn the house down and no glue will make a permanent repair.
Unfortunately a ten minute solder job will take you a whole weekend.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 06:02 PM
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Furd, that was my first though since I've used in similar situations. I also thought that there must be a clamp device for something like this and sure enough there is. I did a google search and found that it's available. It's a metal sleeve with rubber pads that clamps onto the pipe with screws.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 06:20 PM
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Sure there is...I can't remember what we called them in the Navy, but thick rubber and a bandit tool...used 'em all the time in training. Not much diff than a good hose clamp and gasket material. They weren't designed for permanent repair...and neither are those small kits.

The problem is...if it ate through in one area..its gonna eat through other places. Something to do with water acidity and possibly grounding and induced voltages?

I'd be checking your grounds and water chemistry as well.....
 
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Old 05-12-10, 06:45 PM
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It looks like the hole was made when I was having an alteration done and was repaired by soldering the hole. If the clamp is not a good idea, why do the saddle valves last forever? They use a clamp and rubber to make the seal after piercing the pipe.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 06:48 PM
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Saddle valves last forever? Thats a new one on me! Most plumbers I know will never use them.

I'm not critisizing...just stating facts about those kind of patches not being designed for permanent use. Sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do...I understand that.
 
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Old 05-12-10, 07:51 PM
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I have two saddle valves connected for almost 30 years without a problem. For me, that's forever!!!! If I do this repair with the clamp, it should last my lifetime.
 
 

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