HELP... DIY solder copper with water in them

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Clarktul, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I consider myself a savvy do it your self guy. My 10 year old house has a leak where the 4 cold water pipes come up from the slab and join together in the hall. It's a the sweat joint of a "T" coupler. I'm having trouble getting the water out of the risers. I tried opening all the water valves in the house and using a powerful shop van on all outlets thinking I'd get enough to form an air pocket. I also tried closing all but two to clear a single end to end trac of pipe. Seems like the kitchen faucet has a check valve and won't let me suck from there?
    Could I be siphoning from the hot water tank in a reverse flow? Just can get it hot enough to solder.

    HELP!!
  2. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
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    Could be coming from any of those.
    Unless you get rid of the water you can't solder.
  3. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Yakima WA
    Almost every rule has an exception, but this is one rule that in unforgiving. No water mean exactly that. You may have to cut somewhere else in the line so as to be able to drain the pipe. If you have compressed air, that might work, sort of the opposite of the shop vac. You just have to figure a way to get the water out.
  4. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Is there a lower point anywhere that you could open to drain.
    Even if it's a connection in the meter box.
  5. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

    Messages:
    6
    One more important question.

    The leak was almost less than a drip. It had been closed up an unable to evaporate and cause the wood floor to warp. It had been leaking for some time because there is calcium running from the joint. I cleaned it with a steel wheel on a dremel. Will I be able to re-solder?
    Again. with it open to air, it evaporates quicker that in can form enough to drip. Would there be too much calciun "IN" the joint to re-solder?

    Thanks again, YOU gus are great!!
    Clark
    From Tulsa, Ok.
  6. SewerRatz

    SewerRatz Illinois Licensed Plumber

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    In my years of doing this stuff, I never resoldered a bad joint. I just cut it out and start from scratch. In some cases I may unsolder the bad joint clean up the pipe and use a new fitting.
  7. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

    Messages:
    6

    I totally respect SewerRatz advise. Does everyone agree I shouldn't resweat?
    I'm afaid that proceedure would open a can of worm and no longer be a DIY.
    See all those pipes coming up are only 9 inches off the floor... 4 cold water pipes are concentrated only inches apart from eachother.

    If I called a plumber would he cut all 4 and have to rework all just to fix one?
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Probably not.
    It does sound like a plumber would be a good idea for you.
  9. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

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    Location:
    Yakima WA
    I was taught that if a joint leaks, once water has gotten into the leak the joint is contaminated plus there is no way to get flux into the the joint so resolder is impossible. Not sure of the actual truth of that, but I sure never try to resolder a bad joint. It's too easy just to start over. I have saved a fitting upon occasion when it was the only one I had on hand and nothing was open to get a new one, but normally I toss the old and use new.
  10. TedL

    TedL New Member

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    NY Capital District
    Post a pic, maybe that will help with an easier approach.

    Once I had to keep the shop vac sucking through a 1/4 copper line that passed through the joint I was soldering. Couldn't access the 2nd floor to drain line right.
  11. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

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    Location:
    Ontario
    I too believe this will be the case.

    You might find a compression tee that you could install even with water in the pipes. If you can pull the pipe hangers off to get some movement you might have the option to cut out the faulty tee with a hacksaw, right at the hubs, clean up the ends of the pipe and install the compression tee.
  12. kingsotall

    kingsotall Plunger/TurdPuncher

    Most wonderful advice. That one's gonna save my behind one of these days.
  13. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Here's a picture... What do you think?

    Okay, Here the pipes in question. There is actually two leaks that leak so slow that the water eveaporates before a drip can form and fall or run.
    However, when the wall was all closed up, there was condensation build up big time. You should be able to spot the joints in question by the burn marks. Also note the joins in question are dark color because I burned the flux trying to re-sweat them. Just couldn't get it hot enough. See earlier comments I made in this thread.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2012
  14. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    I would suggest once again hiring a plumber for this task.
  15. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

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    Does seeing this give you the thoughts that the joint needing re-sweating are going to force a rebuild of the entire junctions (cut off all 4 left cold water and 3 right hot water). I think you're right if that's the case. I may just call in a plumber. What should I expect to pay to fix this issue?
  16. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

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    Location:
    Connecticut
    Those cannot be resoldered.
    They need to be redone.
    The way I see it the job involves some cutting and redoing.

    I could not accurately estimate the price.
    Pricing varies widely across the country and I assure you I am in one of the higher priced market areas so if I quoted a price I would probably be setting you up to be overcharged.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  17. Clarktul

    Clarktul New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Redwood, et al,

    Thank you for all your time and helping me with this!! Some final thoughts. I on the other hand live in Tulsa Ok where the cost of living is among the lowest in the nation. I couldn't imagine this job requiring more than one or perhaps two hours labor?

    And would you figure the best procedure to remove all 4 left and 3 right
    or should we say 5 left and 4 right if you include the up pipes.
    Do all need to be redone or would a plumber just bend an fit so that only the two "T" fittings with reducers and maybe the 90 elbow on the right need to be redone?

    I know.... I ask a lot of questions (ha)... Curious minds need to know...

    Thanks again,
    Clark
  18. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    You do not bend and fit copper pipe in spite of the "work of art" you have pictured. Not knowing what other mess might be lurking, it is hard to say how long it will take a plumber, but that's the only thing for you to do.
  19. TedL

    TedL New Member

    Messages:
    604
    Location:
    NY Capital District
    I'm just another DIY'r, but:
    If two are leaking, I'd definitely want to redo the whole thing. A compressor, rather than a vacuum, may be the most effective way to clear the lines. I'd see if I could avoid patching in pieces of pipe by cutting a fitting with a cordless recip saw, blowing lines empty, and unsweating. Thoroughly clean to shiny copper, and inspect, before installing new fittings.

    Subject to mod if the lines won't empty.
  20. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    cut out all connections and replace them....
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