Idiots and fire. Soldering in a wall

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Mad Plumber

Mad Skills
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That's a pretty good story. I read it a bunch of times to my wife and she was just rolling on the floor laughing. I was going to write a story, but I couldn't come up with any thing that sounded like an idiot woulda donit. I know I've done a lot of idiot things before too. I know you're thinking,
"No way! Mad Plumber, you don't look like the type that makes mistakes!"
Sorry to burst your bubble, but yes, I'm afraid that even the Mad Plumber has made a few of his own in addition to fixing other peoples mistakes.
All these mistakes help me to plumb better. I've started a few fires while soldering pipes in homes. Mainly small ones I can put out with a spray bottle. Well, one day my apprentice is soldering in a garage wall with insulation, and I say.
"Hey! pull that dang insulation away when you're soldering!"
I say that because I know about these things. And he yells back,
"Do you think I'm stupid?"
Well, I don't think he's stupid, but I am afraid he will solder without pulling the insulation away. I go back to what I'm doing, Now keep in mind, the water is off for the entire building. No way to put a fire out. Even stupid ol me doesn't have a way to put a fire out. Next thing I hear is,
"Dang! the wall's on FIRE! What do I do? The flames are going up inside the wall where I can't see them! Mad Plumber, what do I do?"
I yell back,
"Pull the dang insulation out of the wall you stupid moron!"
Next thing I hear is,
"Ow! Ow! this tar on the paper is sticking to my hands and burning me!"
"Aren't you wearing gloves?"
"No! I don't need them!"
I'm telling you, at this point I am MAD! I go around to the other side of the garage wall and see this stupid moron pulling drywall off the wall and piling up burning insulation on the floor with little flames on his hands while he's doing it.
After I calm down my apprentice says,
"Aren't you glad I didn't burn the house down?"
And I say back,
"Oh yeah! I think you're making this the happiest day of my life!"
Mad Plumber

I work at a hardware store, and I think that the story about the insulation burning is a bit farfetched. How can fiberglass insulation burn?
Hardware Man

Dang! I'm glad you asked such a good question. I hope your're in the hardware section and not doing the plumbing questions. You are right! Fiberglass insulation does not burn! Pretty good there! I would be feeling pretty good right about now. Why your head must be getting bigger and bigger just a thinking about it.

But wait! In the story, it wasn't the fiberglass that was burning. What! you may be saying.

"Now what the heck do you mean by saying that Mad Plumber!"

The clue here, Mr hardware man, would be the little flames on the hands of the "idiot" pulling the insulation out of da wall. Tar baby, that's right, I said tar! Fiberglass insulation is attached to the vapor barrier with TAR! And guess what, TAR burns! It' burns pretty dang good and fast too. Hey, but while we're at it, so does the paper that is stickin to the tar which is sticking to the fiberglass. Of course, then you got the paper on the drywall, and those extra dry wood studs that have been drying out all Summer. Man, that's why the stuff is all burning. Don't feel bad Mr Hardwareman though. The best way to learn, is by doing it sometimes. That's why I knew to say,

"Hey! pull that insulation out of that wall first!"

You know what I mean?
Mad Plumber




Master Plumber
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Cave Creek, Arizona
I DID have fiberglass insulation catch fire while repairing a Delta faucet another plumber had twisted the head off. I used water from the toilet bowl to put it out, and then had to scour most of the charred stain from the tub surround's surface.


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Des Moines, WA
Had the torch out yesterday with all the water off. It's a pain, but a big extinguisher was within reach at all times ;)


In the Trades
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When I solder around insulation or tar paper, I place a heat shield (sheet metal) behind the fittings. I also have a brain to know not to be careless.
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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