Need help replacing a sweat coupling with compression ball valve

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DerStig, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. DerStig

    DerStig New Member

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    Northeast
    Hello,

    I am in the process of adding compression ball valves on all relevant lines of my piping. I am done with the exception of one location (2x lines for laundry) where the only way to fit the valve is to replace the existing sweat coupling. The required distance for ball valve is 1.5โ€ (pipe to be removed) and the coupling there right now is exactly that length.

    It is an extremely tight place that is very close to lots of wood and I dont want to use a torch (I do have a MAP torch though).

    My question is, if I cut the existing pipe right where the coupling starts (but not on the coupling and pipe instead), can the existing solder remaining on the pipe cleaned with regular method? I have the emory cloth as well as the circular tool with lots of teeth that you get on the pipe. Would those things be able to remove the solder or would the solder be have to be melted with torch?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. HydroAirJoe

    HydroAirJoe New Member

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    That is a really bad solder on that coupler. I would remove this and replace it with a sweat valve. From the photo, you seem to have room to do this.
     
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  4. DerStig

    DerStig New Member

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    The reason why you think there is enough room is because this picture was taken with the ultra wide angle iphone lens. Its a very small place. In addition, the location of this pipe makes it impossible to be dry. There is no downstream valve of this where I could shut off the water here and not rest of the house. So if takes me 2-3 hours to completely dry this pipe, that means no water to the house that long (including drinking water). I highly doubt this pipe can be dried completely. The way it was installed worked because when it was being installed, it was brand new/empty pipe.
     
  5. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Use a scrap piece of plywood between the pipe and the floor above. Let the scrap piece take the scorching. You need heat to remove the solder and with a rag you can wipe it fairly clean and even sweat on another fitting. Scraping it by hand it be nearly impossible to keep the pipe nice and round to accept a fitting or valve.
     
  6. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    With a shop vac suck out as much water as you can by opening any faucets to allow air into the pipe. Then the old plumbers trick, stuff bread (white) into the pipe to block the water. Stuff it a few inches from the heat. The heat will burn it up and the water will dissolve any bread leftover and it be flushed out at a spigot or faucet. May have to remove the aerator if there is one.
     
  7. DerStig

    DerStig New Member

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    And to add my previous post, how do you heat a pipe to melt the existing solder while there is water/moisture inside?

    An important fact to consider: Based on the 4 previous valves I installed, even after having opened the lower faucet in the house to drain the water out of the system, upon cutting the pipe, more than 1 full quart of water drained from the pipe. I am just not sure if torch can melt the solder properly and worse it might melt half of it causing a leak (which I cannot fix due to the same reason)
     
  8. James Henry

    James Henry In the Trades

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    If your water meter is the lowest point on your water supply line you might be able to disconnect it there.
     
  9. DerStig

    DerStig New Member

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    Its a 75 year old house and looking at the main valve, I dont think I would want to disconnect anything there:) We get 110 psi pressure here (I know from my secondary sprinkler line which has a built in pressure gauge).

    Could I do the following:

    1- Cut around the pipe right at the seams where pipe slides into the coupling (this means pipe cutter cutting on the uneven solder surface - does that even work?)
    2- Once coupling is gone, dry out the water on the tips of the pipe.
    3- use torch to melt and clean the remaining solder
    4- use emory cloth/sand paper to smooth out the edges
    5- install compression valve
     
  10. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    It appears to be a 2x8" floor joist and that is plenty of room to work with. You will have to cut the pipe but I don't understand why you need to cut right at the coupling. There is no problem by adding a length of pipe to make up the length you need. In this situation can you cut back much further and install a drain valve at the lowest end so anywork in the future you can drain the lines?
     
  11. DerStig

    DerStig New Member

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    Because my thinking is cutting right at the coupling enables me to simply substitute the coupling with the compression valve without needing to add any other pipe anywhere.

    Also I have never soldered a pipe in my life. I have watched probably 30 videos by now and learned about all the DOs and DONTs including using flame protective cloth or thin metal to cover the wood. But to me soldering is too much work.

    Can those compact circular HDX/RIGID pipe cutters cut over dripped solder on the pipe? In other words, what happens the pipe you want to cut isnt perfectly smooth/circular and has bits of solder?

    Also I measured how long the straight part of that pipe is, both to the left of the coupling and to the right and it is 3 3/4โ€. The compression fitting is 3 1/2โ€. So putting it to those places would be too tight in my opinion. There isnt enough room to move the nut/sleeve back enough to be able to slide it back on the valve.
     
  12. WorthFlorida

    WorthFlorida The wife is still training me.

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    Replacing anything in the middle of the straight pipe is always a challenge. Since you're dealing with a 45 degree bend, cutting out pipe and using sharkbite fittings is possible. With the a 45 coupling it makes it easier to do since there is some movement with the copper pipe.

    Looking at the picture again, you can cut out a straight section not at the shouldered coupling. This type if cutter works great in for tight areas.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

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    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    There is a way to do it without a torch: press fittings. You will need to get (buy or rent) a press fitting tool.
     
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