Laughably bad soldering job (is this going to leak?)

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EthylOH

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Hi all,

I just plumbed in the shower for my bathroom. It looks terrible, but no leaks on 24 joints.

One thing that concerns me is the drop elbow line in the picture below:

shower_ell.jpg


When I was sweating the drop elbow, I had the 90 degree fitting pulled horizontal towards me so that I could keep the torch away from the blocking. Stupid me forgot that tinning flux in the fitting actually caused the 90 degree joint to be soldered at that angle. I tried to push it back as best I could with a scorching hot pipe, but it ended up sticking out a half inch, such that the nipple will be at a 45 degree angle when the trim is installed. After thinking it over for 10 minutes, I recovered the joint in flux, grabbed a pair of vise grips, and reheated the joint 'till I could move it in place. It took a lot of force to turn it (I could hear a "pop" when the existing solder released it), and then I added a bunch more solder.

The fitting doesn't leak, but should I be worried about it being a ticking time bomb in the future? This will be in a dividing wall between the tub and shower with NO access port, so a leak would be catastrophic.


Here are the other pics so you can see how I get more solder all over the place. Also, I know I scorched some of the blocking, but I had a fire extinguisher right next to me.

shower_top.jpg
shower_valve.jpg
shower_valve2.jpg
 

Gary Swart

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If I goof like that, I take the joint apart, clean the pipe and fitting and start over. When I have to solder close to surfaces that will burn, I make a shield out of a #10 can. Pros have specially made shields too, but for a DIY, no need to spend the bucks. A spray bottle of water is a must. Now I realize I have not answered you question, but I really don't know if the joint will leak or hold together over time. I wouldn't waste time worrying about it, I'd just fix it right. DIY sweat joint often are butt ugly, I could show you some that look worse than yours, but it's not a beauty contest. I wasted enough flux and soldier on my first job that I could have plumbed a whole house. But, years later the joints are still just fine...and still butt ugly.
 

EthylOH

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If I heat that joint up to take it apart, is it going to cause any issues with the joint at the valve about six inches away?

I've already done a leak test, so these lines have all had water in them.
 

CountryBumkin

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Wrap the "other" joint with a damp/wet rag to absorb ant heat that transmits up the pipe. Once you close up the wall and tile, there's no going back. If your not comfortable with the solder joint, re-do it now, else you'll never get a good night's sleep.
 

EthylOH

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I've been thinking...

Is it possible that I am being overly paranoid about this? I'm just afraid this might be one of those situations where I should leave well enough alone. With my luck, I'll probably resolder it and end up making things worse.

This joint is past the shower valve and diverter valve, so it will never see water main pressure again after I remove the test plug.
 

Flapper

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Is it possible that I am being overly paranoid about this? I'm just afraid this might be one of those situations where I should leave well enough alone. With my luck, I'll probably resolder it and end up making things worse.
It is definitely possible...
I think, what you should do, is just bang around with it, and if no problems arise, it should be good for a long time.

Just wondering, why didn't you use PEX for this? I would feel much more comfortable with PEX.
 

EthylOH

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It is definitely possible...
I think, what you should do, is just bang around with it, and if no problems arise, it should be good for a long time.

Just wondering, why didn't you use PEX for this? I would feel much more comfortable with PEX.

I definitely torqued it and twisted it as hard as I could to line it up as square as possible to the blocking. It's probably under a little stress now as it's screwed in.

Still no leaks.

And I bought the Moen pex valve, but it still had sweat fittings for the tub spout and diverter valve.
 

EthylOH

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I knew I should have left well enough alone...

I decided to take it apart. Looks like I had a perfectly good solder joint.

shower_front.jpg
shower_back.jpg



Now I can just clean this up and resolder, right?
 

Widgit Maker

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A piece of aluminum foil folded about 4 times and stuck to the stud with a thumb tack (or nail) makes a nice heat shield to prevent scorching of the wood.
 
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