Copper fitting - unsure of connection

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by nixontop, Sep 16, 2013.

  1. nixontop

    nixontop New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Dallas
    After sweating and re-sweating a coupling to connect 2 pieces of 1/2" copper pipe (shower valve), I noticed there is a slight angle or bend at the joint, suggesting I may not have pressed the coupling 100% down onto the bottom pipe. Picture attached. No leaks in 3 days.

    Before I start walling it in, should I be concerned about future failure? Thanks.

    photo.jpg
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,832
    Location:
    New England
    If you did not take the joint apart, reclean and flux after you noticed the leak, it is probably sealed with a glob of the solder, but it is not a proper joint. Once water contaminates a joint, the only way to make it 'whole' is to take it apart and start over. So, yes, you should worry until it is redone. MIght last a day, a year, but it is likely to eventually fail.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,818
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    There can be a bit of slop in a joint. So really, there's no way of telling except by your memory.

    It's a little worrisome that you have a broad band of solder below the joint. That normally would happen if the joint had been soldered, and then pulled back. It does look a little funny.
  4. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,310
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You're unsure of the joint, enclose it in a wall and you'll lay awake nights worrying about it. If it was mine, I redo it just to have peace of mind. As Jim noted, if water get into a bad joint, you can not just reheat and melt more solder. It's take apart and completely redo it. You don't have to get all of the old solder off, but it has to be cleaned just like a virgin pipe. Fittings can be cleaned and reused, but most of us just use a new one because cleaning inside a fitting is time consuming.
  5. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    399
    Location:
    California
    Your coupling connection is weak and a disaster waiting to happen.
    I would cut it out, and replace it with 2 new couplings, top and bottom with a new short pipe in between. They all must be plumbed, not bent. The pipes and couplings must be clean and 100% dry before you apply flax. Don't use a ton of solder.
  6. nixontop

    nixontop New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Dallas
    Thanks for all the fast replies. I did clean, dry, and re-flux all the connections so I think the solder is solid. But, the "peace of mind" issue is a good point...I don't want to think about that pipe behind nice new tile for the next 12 months.

    For the short pipe resolution, I suppose I should use the couplings that don't have stops, correct?

    Thanks again.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,832
    Location:
    New England
    Yes, you can use repair couplings, but should only need one. Just make sure you get good overlap on both ends.

    Again, if a soldered joint leaks, you must take it entirely apart, reclean, reflux, then resolder...you cannot just add solder as it will not flow into the hole the water went through. You may plug the end, but it still has a channel through most of the fitting.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,315
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It looks suspiciously like the copper tubing has slid out of the coupling, or was not fully inserted when you redid the joint. if that is the case, unless you can pull the two pieces back together, there will be a gap inside the "slip coupling" which will make the new joint just as bad as this one.
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