Old copper pipe fittings (repair or replace)


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Old 06-21-10, 12:33 PM
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Old copper pipe fittings (repair or replace)

I am adding a basement bathroom and kitchen to my 60 year old house. The plumbing is all copper that I am cutting into to make my new runs. As I cut into the pipes at various locations I noticed that there was a lot of tension in the system that I assume was created by the house settling and flexing over the years. I had to relieve the tension in order to get the new joints to align properly. Upon reassembly and pressurizing the system I noticed a number of very minor drips on nearby fittings that I did not work on. I assume that this was due to relieving the tension and it effects on some joints. I still need to fix a few of these minor leaks but wanted to get some feedback before doing so. Here is my question:

Do old copper sweat joints deteriorate with age or are the minor drips just a result of relieving tension in the system?

I can simply re-solder the joints if tension is the cause. But if 60 year old joints deteriorate I should probably replace fittings while I have the ceiling open.

Thanks,
DavidJ
 
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Old 06-21-10, 12:52 PM
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Copper Joints

With a house thats 60 plus years old it's a good chance the the pipe was put in with lead based solder; lead solder will deterioate over time to the point where you can pull the joints apart, you should replace all the joints, sorry.
 
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Old 06-21-10, 01:15 PM
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Shacko is right...and if you're see a drip now, it sure isn't going to get any better.

Have you tried the new "sharkbite" fittings ? PLUG AND PLAY ! Expensive, but I love 'em.
 
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Old 06-21-10, 08:09 PM
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I'll just throw in, it's really hard to resolder an old joint. Usually heating it just makes it worse as the joint needs to be cleaned and re-fluxed.
 
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Old 06-22-10, 08:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys. I am just going to cut out the copper and replace as much as I can with pex. I have a Wirsbo expansion tool I used for my hot water heating system so it shouldn't be a huge effort. I also suspect that with the price of copper these days I am probably in for about the same costs if I go with Pex.

DAvidJ
 
 

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