Need help to fix broken copper tubing

Discussion in 'Irrigation / Sprinkler Forum' started by KineticoUser, Nov 7, 2015.

  1. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    I have a 1/2" copper tubing line running to my swimming pool automatic filler. Unfortunately, my tenants pushed a shovel through the line and cut it. I attempted to solder a piece of rigid 1/2" copper pipe between two ends of the tubing, but for some reason I can't get it to stop leaking. I used the standard flux I have and silver solder and a propane torch, but it didn't work. I cut it out and tried it with new pipe and fittings, with the same results. This line has constant pressure, so I need to find a way to connect the two ends with no leaks. I tried a hose with clamps, but that leaked, also. I see push-on solderless connectors, but I don't want to waste that type of money if they won't work. This is underground, so I don't care if it is connected with PVC or copper or whatever. Please help me find a solution or point out how I may have messed up with the soldering.
     
  2. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    You have 2 soldered couplings now, if I understand correctly. Do you know which one is leaking for sure? If you cannot tell that, you can't be sure the leak is not elsewhere.

    Did you use copper tubing repair couplings? Those have no dimple, so they can slide freely. Were you able to dry the pipe completely before soldering? Did you have plenty of heat? A MAPP gas torch burns hotter.
     
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  4. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

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    Aug 4, 2014
    I sanded all the ends to clean them up, but I couldn't find any undimpled couplings. I just forced one down the tubing and then worked it back with channel locks. I couldn't completely dry the pipes before soldering, but I had turned off the water. Only one was leaking on my first attempt, but both are leaking now. Rather than going out and buying MAPP gas, are there other suggestions you might have that will keep this constant pressure line leak-free? If not, I'll get the MAPP gas.
     
  5. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

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  6. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

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    Aug 4, 2014
    Do the push-fit couplings hold up to pressure over time?
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    http://www.nibco.com/fittings/metal...ittings/601-coupling-without-stop-c-x-c-wrot/

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/NIBCO-1-2-in-Copper-Pressure-Slip-Coupling-C601/100345672

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/NIBCO-MC...ng-without-Stop-100-Pack-MCP601HD12/206477486 is quantity 100.

    Try searching for nibco 601 "1/2"

    Sharkbyte connectors are fairly expensive. I think you would have to use a flexible tubing to make use of them.
    http://www.sharkbite.com/resources/faqs/fittings/ says
    Q: Are SharkBite fittings approved for underground use?
    A: SharkBite push-fit fittings are certified for underground applications. Fittings should be wrapped with an impervious material, chloride-free tape or tightly wrapped and sealed insulation works well to prevent direct contact with the backfill. Backfill should be free of rocks, debris or any sharp objects that may cause damage through impact or abrasion.
     
  8. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    I was at Lowes, and they didn't have the undimpled couplings, but I'm sensing the issue must be with the fact I can't totally eliminate the water from the line. I'm guessing there aren't any non-solder push fittings that wouldn't require me to bend the 1/2" tubing to get it together, as I can only access the center of the run, not the ends.
    What about using epoxy putty over what I've already done? http://www.pcepoxy.com/our-products/putty-epoxies/pc-metal.php
     
  9. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I doubt the epoxy cure, but it is possible. I actually repaired a split copper pipe in a basement, that had frozen, with regular epoxy glue and some kind of fiber material. I am not going to recommend that, because I think I was lucky that it has held.

    You soldered in a new piece of standard copper pipe I suspect, using dimpled couplers. That seems like a not so good way. You either bent the pipe a lot, or your middle piece of copper was shorter than it should have been. Also note that you are not supposed to use type M copper pipe (red ink) in that application. You should use type K (green ink) I think. Type L (blue ink) is in between K and M.

    While the solder you used contains some silver, it is not "silver solder", which is what is used in brazing. Some places require brazing, rather than soft solder, for copper underground.
     
  10. Smooky

    Smooky In the Trades

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Location:
    North Carolina
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    Aug 17, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    To solder a line, you need an open end to let hot air out, otherwise the steam will blow a hole in the joint.
    If you want to solder it, you will need to suck the water out, a shop vac helps for that.
    One end should be open to let air out.
    I use no lead solder and flux. A propane torch would be plenty for 1/2"
    If the two ends are solid in place, you can use a "repair" coupling on one end, or use four 90's and jog the pipe.
    They do make sharkbite style repair couplings for that purpose too. I normally only use those in places that I can access again, but sometimes they can be a life saver.
     
  12. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

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    Aug 4, 2014
    When I go out there on Tuesday, I'll remove the float shutoff for the pool filler, just in case not enough air was going through and solder it again. I can use a shop vac on the open end, but what about the other end? If I can't get it to stick on the 3rd try, I'll use the sharkbite repair coupling. I'm glad they make one that is for repairs and slides completely onto one pipe.
     
  13. KineticoUser

    KineticoUser Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Thank you for opening my mind and making the job much easier. Apparently, the 1/2" tubing has a low spot before exiting at the automatic pool filler. Once I blew the water out from that line, the soldering went very quick and easy. It works fine. Thanks again for all your input.
     
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