Supply Line --> Shutoff Valve Leak

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Jack Unhandy, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. Jack Unhandy

    Jack Unhandy New Member

    Messages:
    3
    I am a novice handy man, but like to take on projects that seem manageable rather than paying a premium for professional services. So having said that I will try to be as accurate as possible with terminology given my limited knowledge.

    I recently decided to install a new kitchen sink and faucet. I have gone from a dual basin sink with a dual handle faucet to a single basin sink with a single faucet w/ sprayer (American Standard Elite model). Everything was going according to plan right up until I connected the water supply lines from the faucet to the copper supply lines.

    I used the compression fittings that were already in place to connect the supply lines to the copper lines, which resulted in a slow drip coming from the bottom hex nut on the compression joint on the cold water line and extremely slow leak on the hot water line. Through research I have learned it is best to replace these compression joints when replacing supply lines, but at the time all the hardware stores were closed and I didn’t have extra compression fittings or a compression sleeve removal tool. Since my attempts at tightening the compression joints didn’t work I decided to add Teflon tape to the male threads on both sides of the compression fitting and that appears to have stopped the leaking at the compression joints. However now I have a slow leak coming from the hot water shut off valve (only when the valve is open).

    Unfortunately my shut off valves are soldered into place and I really wanted to avoid messing with the copper lines, as I have no experience soldering and it is a very tight space to solder in.

    Below is a picture of the leaking shut off valve and the segment I fear needs to be replaced. I am not sure really what the best approach is that would result in secure lines but also limit the welding I would need to do.

    I am thinking that I may have to unsolder the valve due to the lack of copper pipe available to seat another if I were to cut if off. Then I would have to either solder another valve or a threaded coupling onto the existing copper hot water line, hopefully enabling me to use a compression joint valve instead of a soldered valve and also allowing me to run flex supply line from the valve stem all the way to the faucet connection. I am just not sure if that is possible or if there is a better solution. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    [​IMG]
  2. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Wow corrosion city its a wonder that valve lasted as long as it did.

    Anyhow by the looks of it that valve isn't worth saving. If it looked better I would advise trying to tighten the packing nut but in that state of disrepair it probably would cause more problems.

    You have two options:

    1. Desolder the valve and solder a new ball valve in its place.

    Or

    2. Desolder the existing valve off and install a compression fitting valve.

    The reason I say desolder on both counts is because you really don't have much pipe from the T to the valve. If you did cut you would need to cut it right at the valve and even then you'd be pushing it to use a compression fitting since a certain amount of pipe must be inside the valve.

    I recommend 1 of course since its the most leakproof (no struggling with compression fittings) and most professional. I personally have never used a compression fitting on anything over 3/8" anything over that I sweat it.

    In any case be sure to sand the pipe until you get down to clean copper where the joints will be whether you choose option 1 or 2.

    As for the tight space you can buy a tiny piece of fabric thats flameproof (I forget what its called) to prevent the torch from scorching the wall.

    As for soldering there really is nothing to it as long as you take your time and go slow the first time around.

    Be sure to remove the handle from the valve so you don't scorch it with the torch also make sure its in its open position.

    Sand the ends of the pipes, using a 1/2" wire brush (from the plumbing section) clean out the inside of the valve fittings, apply flux, insert the parts, heat them up with the torch, remove the torch and touch the solder to the joint if it doesn't melt keep heating, when the pipes are up to temperature apply the solder all around the joint. Wipe excess solder away with a damp rag while the solder is still molten.

    Wait for the pipes to cool or wrap a damp rag around the joints until they stop sizzling. Make sure that the pipes are cool enough to touch before turning the water back on you don't want thermal shock.

    I don't see how flex pipe would help the plain 1/2" copper pipe there is fine. If you really want flexability you could have used braided steel from the faucet to the supply line.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  3. Jack Unhandy

    Jack Unhandy New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks for the response Wrex. I will take both options into account. The corrosion is a result of poorly treated well water over the better part of 20 years.

    Anyhow if I were to go with option 1, do they make straight ball valves that are threaded on one end and smooth on the other? I have read it is harder to solder threaded ends and I would like to run flex supply line from the top of the valve to the faucet HW supply line if possible. I figure if I am going to unsolder the valve I might as well do away with the corroded segment of copper connecting my valve to the faucet HW supply line.

    Edit: Missed your last part on the flex vs existing copper. I may just go with braided steel from the valve to the faucet. The flex lines currently on the faucet came pre-installed and wouldn't have enough slack to reach the valve anyhow.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  4. Plumber Jim

    Plumber Jim Member

    Messages:
    92
    If you can heat up the valve and remove it all you need to do is clean the pipe above the tee and install a 5/8 x 3/8 compression stop and then install a new supply tube to it. just be careful not to over heat the pipe and cause a leak on the tee below. You could get a rag wet and let it lay on the tee to keep the tee cool.









    http://www.broomfieldplumber.com
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,397
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    If you are going to do your own plumbing repair, take a few minutes and learn to sweat copper! It's really quite simple, the tools needed are not excessively expensive, and you will be able to make repairs quickly that were not possible before. Get a torch set and read the instructions that come with it. If you still have questions, this forum is a good place to come. Your first joints will be ugly, better appearing joints will come with practice. No matter, if you follow the directions of cleaning, fluxing, heating, and applying solder, the joints will be sound. You can only do so much with compression fittings.
  6. Jack Unhandy

    Jack Unhandy New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks to everyone for all the info/suggestions.


    I am looking forward to learning how to solder. For a person who does office work this should be an interesting learning experience and something good to know for the future. I am definitely going to weld some practice joints prior to getting under the sink and doing the actual repair.

    I need to get to the store and purchase the materials I will need and hopefully I will have enough time to do this today. If I come across any questions during the process I will post them. If not then I will post a pic of the finished product. Once again, thanks to all for the helpful info.
  7. gardner

    gardner DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    224
    Location:
    Ontario
    I'm no pro, but I think I would replace everything above the tee. Heat up the tee and pull out the short vertical section, including the valve. Clean the tee and sweat in a new, longer pipe section. Now, with more, and clean pipe to work with, I could put in whatever valve, I see fit. I would choose a sweat ball valve.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
  8. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    Messages:
    7,450
    Location:
    Connecticut
    I would look below the floor to see if it looks any better down there...
  9. Wrex

    Wrex New Member

    Messages:
    126
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Yup I replaced all of the valves in my house with sweat ball valves they are way better then those corroded valves from the 50s that were frozen tight and will probably outlast any other valve design.

    Oh yes and one more important tip be sure to drain the pipes before trying to desolder anything the water inside will turn into steam and not allow the pipe to get up to temperature. Be sure to open a faucet above and below the line in question to drain it.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2008
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