Copper repipe

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by bobbyb, Oct 12, 2013.

  1. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Hey guys. A copper repipe is currently in progress. I've just been in the attic and taken some photos. I am not personally doing this work, and would appreciate opinions from some experts. Cheers!

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2013
  2. craigpump

    craigpump Active Member

    Messages:
    1,028
    Location:
    ct
    First year trade school kid can do better than that.
  3. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    425
    Location:
    California
    This is unacceptable. Wait till you turn on the main and see the leaks. On second thought, don't wait - fire the clown who does this job right now.

    As I see it, you are wasting good money, good copper,expensive solder and precious time.
  4. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    If your in Florida I hope your going to insulate the COLD water lines. If you don't the water will be hot when you first turn it on. I have to agree with the others that the job looks very unprofessional.

    John
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Why are they using both ProPress and solder joints? It is difficult to make "close" connections with ProPress buy they seem to be doing it the hard way, or else they intended to do it one way and then changed their minds, but you cannot "rotate" ProPress once it is made..
  6. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks for the tip. I was thinking the same.

    I'm not sure why it's being done this way. Initially I was advised that only ProPress would be used, as it would avoid soldering in the attic and expedite the job. I was surprised to see a combination of both being used.

    The soldering looks sloppy, and I'm not pleased with the angles. In some instances (not all pictured) it appears measurements were not properly taken, so to compensate for that the pipes were installed at odd angles. The greatest concern is whether these are simply aesthetic issues, or if such workmanship is indicative of something going wrong. Currently this is not tied into the water, and I must decide how to best move forward.
  7. craigpump

    craigpump Active Member

    Messages:
    1,028
    Location:
    ct
    The best way to move forward is to get your local inspector to look at this and then fire the guy who wasted all that material and his time.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Insulation does NOT prevent the lines from heating up, or cooling down for hot water. It merely slows down the process. if the water is "stagnant" in the attic for any period of time it WILL heat up to ambient temperature.
  9. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Messages:
    1,143
    Location:
    South*East
    Is it not better to insulate then not to?
  10. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    I was going to get to the inspection. Exactly what will the inspector be looking at? Can one fail an inspection due to ugly soldering and poor pipe placement? A photo in the original post showed a copper strap screwed into a king post. Is that strapping acceptable?

    A little background on this job: a family member who's been a plumbing contractor for a few decades sent his guys to do this job. While he didn't personally do any of the work, after being shown photos he suggested there is no problem, and that although it is ugly the plumbing is sound. His suggestion is to perform pressure tests proving his position, and if there are problems he will fix them. I'm not sold, and being a layman don't know what testing proves longterm. But considering this is within the family, I must tread lightly.

    Another issue that concerns me is how some pipe will be placed under tremendous physical pressure in order to be strapped. I don't believe it could be a good thing for straps (or possibly joints) to be under physical pressure. Below is a photo of a pipe that appears to be somewhat bent in addition to being soldered on an angle. It is currently attached to the run in the attic. Pushing this pipe towards the wall generates a great deal of pressure on the pipe.

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    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,281
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Inspectors can't turn down ugly.
    They can turn down pipes placed in places that will freeze, but not for being less than perfect.
    It will either hold water or not. And if it doesn't, it will be fixed.
  12. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    A future project is to spray foam insulation on the rafters, as the attic is unfortunately home to HVAC equipment. In a conditioned space, would you say insulating the pipes is also a wasted exercise (considering they won't heat up that much anyway)?
  13. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks. I was advised it'll boil down to the material used and how often it's strapped. Based on what you've seen here, should I have concerns beyond aesthetics?
  14. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    425
    Location:
    California
    bobbyb,

    - Promise you'd never hire family again.
    - The inspector will say: every joint with excess solder is a potential future leak.
    - As far as your family plumber: he should hire skilled plumbers, not day laborers, to do a plumbing job, whether he gets paid for the job or not. His reputation is on the line. By approving the job, he just demonstrated that he is clueless.
    - If you force a pipe to be strapped, it will resist, creating a weak point, with a possible future leak.
    - The system may pass a pressure test, for now. Or may fail. In the future, you will have leaks, for sure.
    - If you want to sleep at night, have the job re-done by a pro. Mitigate your losses.
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; The inspector will say: every joint with excess solder is a potential future leak.

    Not any inspector I know.Excess solder on the surface has absolutely no relationship to the amount INSIDE the joint. INSUFFICIENT solder will create a weak joint which would be a potential leak, BUT there is seldom any outward indication of insufficient solder. Rigidly strapping piping does NOT create leaks, but "loose" strapping which allows movement CAN create a weak spot in the tubing if wear occurs. The final two statements, i.e., "you will have leaks for sure", and "If you want to sleep at night, etc", are hyperbole and based on opinions which have little to support them. Unless it leaks when the water is turned on, I would not worry about it. Any ProPress joints which were "missed" will leak, intentionally, so they can be properly sealed with the tool.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  16. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks for the input hj. So if I understand correctly, the sloppy soldering and pipe positioning is not necessarily an indication of any actual issue with the pluming. Is it safe to say that if the pluming passes a pressure and water test it's in decent shape?

    Another concern I had was with the possible tension placed on the straps of the pipe seen in the bathroom (as it is not positioned on a straight angle coming down from the attic). Is that any cause for concern? Or should strapping such a pipe down pose no problem?

    Thanks again.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  17. Murphy625

    Murphy625 Member

    Messages:
    150
    Location:
    Michigan
    Wow.. I thought this was a joke when I first saw the photos.
  18. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,020
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Is it safe to say that if the pluming passes a pressure and water test it's in decent shape?

    Unfortunately, no. But that applies to ANY installation, not just yours. I once had a customer who dropped a can of peas onto a copper elbow that had been installed 20 years previously, and it "fell apart" causing a flood. The pipe had only been inserted into the fitting about 1/8" but had held all that time, until the can dislodged it.
  19. bobbyb

    bobbyb New Member

    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Florida
    Virtually nothing is ever guaranteed, but what's the risk factor? The fact is that most of the work is already done. Had I done it myself I'd want it to look beautiful, but aesthetics are just that. Based on what you've seen in the post, is there good reason to be alarmed, or only the possibility something might go wrong (just as a possibility exists with many other contractors)?

    I want to approach this in a fair and balanced fashion. Not looking for groundless bashing of the work (and I know many find comfort bashing the work of others), just trying to figure out the likelihood of actual harm being done. Being a layman, at some point it's going to boil down to a level of trust either way.

    Thanks.
  20. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    Maine
    I want to know why the guys that installed it didn't pressure test it?
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