Copper, should I replace these joints or what? Signs of a rookie plumber

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Mad_Roj, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Mad_Roj

    Mad_Roj New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Location:
    everett wA
    lots of corrosion on my pipes. dripping solder etc. here is a link to photos

    in addition to the typical green I see whiteish deposits. noteably where the pipes run up from the horizontal trunk.

    the property is in everett wa. its a crawl space. the pipes were wrapped. there was an ongoing leak for quite some time probably making for humidity in the air. the crawl is well vented.

    what would the white stuff be? years of condensation.

    After fixing a hot water line yesterday I also got quite a bit of iron coming from an upstairs sink when I charged the line.. The water tank appears to be pretty new... Not sure if iron deposits would cause problems?

    I just fixed 2 joints. Should I wait for number 3 and 4 or redo the joints. The ugly work appears mainly in the crawl.. Perhaps I answered my own question

    Any rough ballpark on time to replace a joint by a skilled plumber.. assuming the line is drained, tools and materials in hand and body in position..
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Rust can be from the water heater, the main water line if that is galvanized, or from the galvanized nipples to the shutoffs if the home was built in the 60's.
    Normally copper is good until it's not. We have pretty good water in the Northwest. Galvanized doesn't last long, but copper does here.
    Replacing all of your pipe in the crawl, or just those joints?
     
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Flux from that age usually contained acid. IF the joints were not cleaned after soldering, you can get some of those deposits over time. Today, you're supposed to use a water based flux. It takes a bit more skill, as you can burn it out if you overheat the joint which can lead to a leak. For someone that doesn't do that often, I've found that a tinning flux makes things easier...it has powdered solder in the paste which gives you an idea when you've heated the joint enough to add the solder to finish up.
     
  5. Mad_Roj

    Mad_Roj New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Location:
    everett wA
    Thanks for the responses. Indeed the flux I had (white in color and water soluble) seemed to burn out quicker that I could get the solder to melt. May have to practice with some different products.

    Most of the pipes look good, just the joints are a concern. The ones that look really bad are where access is tight or where 2 or three connections were made close to one another. My thought is to replace segments that stub out to the main floor fixtures where needed.

    Would be nice to be able put a stubout elbow in from the bottom s0 the sweating w0uld not be in such tight quarters. with 2x10 joists I may be able to do that.. or prefab my pieces .

    Was going to go with uphonor pex but signs of rodents scarded me away from that idea.
     
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Oatey #95 tinning flux https://www.oatey.com/2371622/Product/Oatey-No-95-Tinning-Flux along with silver-bearing solder https://www.oatey.com/2373391/Product/Oatey-Silver-Lead-Free-Plumbing-Wire-Solder worked really nicely for me.

    Regarding your original question, I would not "fix" a joint that is not leaking. You could wash the areas you are concerned with, perhaps with a dish soap solution and a mild scrubbing pad.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2018
  7. Dave Millman

    Dave Millman New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2019
    Location:
    Silicon Valley, CA
    All that corrosion at the joints is caused by leftover flux, as Jim DeBruycker said. Next you can expect pinhole leaks in those corroded areas. My pro plumber cleans the copper bright before soldering, then cleans it just as bright afterwards. He can do several joints per hour, including cutting each length of pipe, although he usually cuts and dry fits everything before soldering. Lying on his back in the crawl space takes much longer.
     
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