1/2" copper pipe swelling

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by prashster, Jan 20, 2009.

  1. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    After cutting out a leaking section of 1/2" copper pipe in my bro-in-law's laundry room, we discovered one of the mating sections is no longer 1/2".

    The stub going into the floor has swollen so it won't fit into any adapters.
    I believe it has swollen because my b-in-law confirms that water has frozen in the pipes before (this section is along an outside wall).

    The bad thing is that the stub goes into cement (they're on a slab), so I can't trace it back to where the distortion originates; so I can't easily cut out the offending section.

    I bought a 'swagging' tool and intend to ream out the center so it'll fit over a 1/2" pipe. Doesn't look like it'll take much to get it there. Is this a reasonable approach?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Furd

    Furd Engineer

    Messages:
    446
    Location:
    Wet side of Washington State
    A swaging (not swagging) tool expands the pipe by stretching, not reaming. I suggest that you first use a torch to heat the pipe red hot and then allow it to cool before swaging, this will anneal the copper. If you don't you stand a good chance of splitting the pipe because it has already been work-hardened.
  3. Buckeyetech

    Buckeyetech New Member

    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hard water will do that to pipes.
  4. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

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    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Wa Wa Wa What?
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I want to hear this my self...
  6. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    1,705
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Break open the floor and make the cut and repair below the concrete. I am willing to bet it is not swelled up under ground.
  7. prashster

    prashster New Member

    Messages:
    941
    Thank you all for yr posts. I heated the pipe and managed to make the repair. We're watching it closely; it's easily monitored. Worse comes to worst (he's prepared) we'll call in a pro.
  8. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE

    Now I get it!

    Hard water = ice.
  9. nhmaster

    nhmaster Master Plumber

    Messages:
    3,189
    Location:
    S. Maine
    Doooooooooh.....
  10. jehiatt

    jehiatt New Member

    Messages:
    1
    put swollen copper pipe back to size.

    A flaring bar clamp can squeeze tubing ends back to a useable size in short order.
    On a busted pipes repair call yesterday I was perplexed trying to figger how one line at a "T" joint was totally out of the the soldered joint. Another section had an inch split in it's side. The Auto repair shop had no heat and left no water dripping. Due to loose fitting garage doors, the pipe was basically exposed to the recent 14 degree low temp and high wind flow.
    I couldn't fit new splices over the old 5/8 tubing. The local Ace Hardware Owner, Randy, loaned me his heavy duty flaring tool and gave me verbal instructions.
    I clamped the pipe end into the 5/8 clamping hole and squeezed it back to 5/8. Then slid it down a bit an squeezed some more so a compression fitting would fit. It worked! It also worked so a splce would fit on another section.
    My flaring tool was not with me and had it been I may have needed a large "C" clamp to get the forced needed to resize the pipe.
    Randy also explained that copper tubing can be expanded by water and a hard freeze. We have all seen bursted pipes but this is the first I ever saw one blown out of a joint.
  11. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The flaring clamp works well in this application.
    It is what I do.
  12. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    217
    Location:
    Ontario
    Interesting. This is the failure mode I'm most familiar with -- sweated joints being pushed apart or sweated-on fixtures being pushed off the end of a pipe.

    The water is expanding proportional to the dimensions of the shape it's taking when it freezes. In a long tube it will expand a % width-wise -- from 0.5 inch to 0.505 inch. In the long dimension it wants to expand from 10 feet to 10' 1.5". Probably the copper tubing can stretch the .005" The sweat joint is going to be where things get problematic.
  13. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    The expansion of water turning to ice can generate a force of about 40,000 PSI.
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