Sweating in a new shower valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by quantum, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    [​IMG]
    Hi, I'm new. Done plenty of home improvement projects, but plumbiing is the Final Frontier for me. I bought one of these:
    pressure balacing valve

    I've never sweated a pipe before, and I plan on doing a lot of practicing. I've watched about 10 Internet videos on it and visited at least 20 sites on the topic. I haven't been able to answer these questions:

    1. I'm going to use 2 female threaded adaptors for the hot and cold inlets that will connect to 1/2 copper a few inches long on each side that will connect to 90 degree elbows, and then another 2 sections of pipe going into couplers which will connect to the existing hot and cold pipes. Is there any order to solder the pieces? It seems that for such short pieces of pipe, heating one connection would cause the nearby ones to melt and fall apart, no?

    2. How do I prevent leaks from any of the 3 threaded adaptors? Won't the teflon tape get FUBAR'd if I'm soldering an inch or 2 away from it? I can't do the soldering first because the pipe may be pointed in the worng direction when I'm done....right?

    3. Why even put threads on a connection like this?? :mad:

    Any insight/help/ranting would be greatly appreciated. :D
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2004
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    I'm not sure what a pro would do, but consider this: if you have room - put a union near the threaded end that goes into the valve. That way, you can solder all of the pieces up prior to screwing in the piece into the valve. Then, you assembly the already soldered union pieces together and you're done - no soldering pieces while they are threaded into the expensive valve. Depending on how much room you have, this would also let you remove the valve without cutting the pipe. See, once you screw in the adapter, and the adapter is on a rigid set of pipe, it is in there forever.
  3. e-plumber

    e-plumber DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    137
    Location:
    New York
    Soldering a Shower Valve In

    1. I'm going to use 2 female threaded adaptors for the hot and cold inlets that will connect to 1/2 copper a few inches long on each side that will connect to 90 degree elbows, and then another 2 sections of pipe going into couplers which will connect to the existing hot and cold pipes. Is there any order to solder the pieces? It seems that for such short pieces of pipe, heating one connection would cause the nearby ones to melt and fall apart, no?
    >You need to use the correct torch and tip and just the right amount of heat while soldering. The next joint might heat up, the solder may run, just hit it again with the solder and don't over do it with the heat.<

    2. How do I prevent leaks from any of the 3 threaded adaptors? Won't the teflon tape get FUBAR'd if I'm soldering an inch or 2 away from it? I can't do the soldering first because the pipe may be pointed in the worng direction when I'm done....right?
    >Apply the teflon tape and joint compound to the threaded fittings. Solder small pieces into/onto the adapters, let them cool, then screw them into/onto the valve body.<

    3. Why even put threads on a connection like this??
    >Some valves are designed to be hard piped in with nipples and unions, while some are designed strictly for sweat joints.<
    >Another good idea is to remove the faucet cartridge wile soldering to help prevent potential heat damage to it.<
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    3. Why even put threads on a connection like this?? :mad:

    Actually the valves that plumbers use do not most of the time. We buy the valves that the copper tubing solders into the valve. DTY stores figure you do not know how to solder, and will damage the valve when you do solder them, and besides they get to sell you added adapters to make the connections.
  5. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Wow -that was fast! Thanks guys! I'm actually intimidated by this: I guess its the threat of geisers in my bathroom that freaks me out, but I'm dtermined to conquer my fear. ;)
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Just a note...a union doesn't use a washer to seal it. WHen you tighten it down, it actually deforms the copper a little making a watertight connection (think ball and socket). They work best if you install them once. You can take it apart and then reseal, but it is harder to get a good seal. I'm not a pro, but I've found that to be the case in the few I've played with. While sizing and roughing things out (hand tighten to check fit), there's no problem, but once you're finished, put it together, test it for leaks, and then leave it alone.
  7. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Wichita, Kansas
    Jim's a Senior Member

    Jim you're now a senior member. I appreciate you posting on john bridges and this site. You are usually pretty accurate and almost always say, I'm not a pro. You're straightforwardly honest.
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    valve

    If you look closely, you will see that the insides of the connections are designed for copper tubing to be sweated directly into them, without adapters.
  9. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Yeah, I noticed that, but the 1/2 copper pipe seemed to be too big; then I thought to look for a fitting for it, but didn't find anything at HD. :confused:

    From what I've read about getting a non-leaking seal with threaded connections, I'd much rather solder it.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    fitting

    Don't look at the opening, try a piece of 1/2" copper in it.
  11. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I did, and no go (I should have been clearer on that). Or as Tina Fey (SNL) so eloquently put it "time to bump the donuts".
    :D
  12. Bob's HandyGuy

    Bob's HandyGuy Senior Member

    Messages:
    131
    Don't get the joints too hot when you sweat it. The solder beads up and won't flow.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    I'd still use a union on each side. that way you don't risk damaging the valve, and you can take it out at some time way in the future without having to cut it out. The big things about sweating joints is to make sure that you clean both the (inside of the) fitting and (outside of) the pipe really well, use flux, heat the joint not the solder until when you put the solder onto the joint, it essentially just sucks itself into the joint, and then don't let it move until it resolidifies. You should wipe the excess solder and flux off, but if you don't, at least clean the flux off. It doesn't have to be pretty. Practice helps, but a really clean joint, flux, and the right amount of heat in the right place makes it all happen. If you work your way up from the bottom (after dry fitting everything together), a piece doesn't slide out and fall afteryou heat it up and the solder acts like a lubircant! Gravity holds things together for you that way.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2004
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,279
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    copper

    Interesting, because I went to the installation siter for that valve and it distinctly says "adapter or solder direct" meaning insert the copper tubing, and every valve with that connection has accepted the tubing. Maybe your tubing is bad. I have 4 to install tomorrow and all of them accept the tubing into the port.
  15. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I just tried again: the label on the pipe says 1/2 type L. I cleaned the end of the pipe till it was very shiny and tried the 2 side inlets and the shower riser outlet. Its like it just misses fitting in; I didn't want to force it. Maybe it fits with the flux on it...? Could this just be a side affect of me being a n00b? :confused:
  16. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,792
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Type L copper pipe will leave a ridge sticking up on the end of the cut.

    Type M copper will bend in somewhat on the end of the cut.
    Try smoothing the ridge down at the end of the cut and see how it works.
    Either emory cloth or a file will work.
  17. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Thanks Terry - I'll try that tonight. :)
  18. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    I want to solder because this valve will be covered up by tile; the back of it will be facing another bathroom with more tile. Once its done, I never want to touch it again.
  19. quantum

    quantum New Member

    Messages:
    18
    Location:
    New Jersey
    followup

    I attempted the installation last Thursday, and got mixed results.

    I bought a Bernzomatic torch from Lowes and gave it a shot early that morning. Testing revealed pinhole leaks on half of the connections. I tried again and same results. I panicked after the wife gave me 3 lectures on having the water off and trying something new, so I called a pro. He was pretty cool about it; even let me try one joint with his torch, flux, and solder. Seems a big part of my problem was using the craptastic solder that came with the torch. I had bought a separate tin of Oatey flux, and thats the one the plumber said I should have used. The other stuff was white and runny and no good and he had me toss it. I figure $200 was not bad for a lesson learned.

    BTW - you were right on the money Terry - once I filed that lip down, it fit like a glove.
  20. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Well, this is all water over the dam now,and I'm glad your job is done. All the advice given was excellent in my opinion.

    re: soldering You have a teflon frying pan? No worries, mate. 95/5 solder melts at about 460 degrees, and if you use good technique the metal will only be slightly hotter than that. Teflon tape or paste will not be damaged.

    That said, although a well done pipe thread connection will be fine, most prefer to solder directly to the valve. Soldering a body like this is somewhat more difficult that soldering a pipe into a fitting, so DIY valves are usually threaded. Despite varying recommendations from manufacturers, I always disassemble all parts of the valve just to be safe.

    Your problem with pinholes: there are 2 key points in soldering: CLEAN & DRY. The necessary technique is then to get the parts up to temperature quickly and apply the solder just when the metal is hot enough to melt it. Overheating is probably the next most common failure ( after clean and dry!)

    If you don't have the proper torch and tip, a prolonged application of heat the part in an attempt to get it hot leads to overheating.

    I encourage you to try other projects in the future. And a little time spent practicing on scrap pieces will greatly improve your technique.

    Good Luck!
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