Should I have re-heated the valve?

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yannick

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Hi,

Recently bought a house and replacing all the plumbing from PolyButylene to copper. I'm now to this but I enjoy this kind of work.

My underground water line is soft copper 3/4 inch. Since the main water shutoff was letting water in the system even when shut, I decided to cut it and replace it with a lead free 3/4 inch ball valve.

I had to practice a few times. So I soldered 5-6 times two ball valves and started getting good. Cut them open to see if I melted the inside PTFE seats as well, but I didn't.

Now I soldered a brand new valve. However I wonder if I made a mistake in the process. I initially got nice coverage all around, altough there was excess solder at the back of the valve (the valve is 1 inch from the wall so I'm blind from that angle, have to use a fire blanket as well).
Anyhow, my initial result was quite good.
But then me being me, I wanted to wipe the excess solder so I reheated the valve 1 min. after applying the solder and stopping heating it, but couldn't get it hot enough because when I re-ignited my torch, the fire was too low.
So I somewhat decided to call it a day, let it cool completely to room temp, but then thought it wasn't good enough. So I reheated the joint again to wipe excess solder and this time I could do it successfully.

However, I wonder if it was a mistake. Could re-heating a valve/joint 15 mins after letting cool off completely weaken the joint more than anything else?

I see that, at a place around the joint, the solder is less "shiny" than it initially was. Otherwise though, I still have nice coverage all around.
I assumed because the copper and brass were already sweated with solder, I couldn't really weaken anything... Is it wrong?
 

Breplum

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You might get a range of answers more erudite than mine.
I've reheated hundreds of joints over my career. As far as I'm concerned, if not oxidized and overheated, the solder should reheat and set just fine. Avoiding shocking the joint with water spray is imperative.
 

Jeff H Young

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I think you are good, re heating dosent hurt I suppose eventualy the flux might get burned or something But nothing sounds bad too me the darker less shiny spot means you had a damp rag and touched molten solder to be avoided but I wouldnt worry.
agreeing with breplum .
Hope the repipe comes out good !
 

yannick

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Thanks for your answers!

Regarding the damp rag, I didn't have any. Indeed I heard it is always huge mistake to cool a joint forcibly, so I never did it and I'm not in a hurry either like a pro. The reheated solder just cooled off and was less shiny on its own.
Otherwise, the joint looks good and filled 360°, so I guess I'll leave it at that!
 

JohnCT

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Hard to say without seeing it. The problem isn't from reheating, but heating to that pretty small window where the solder is no longer solid but isn't fully liquid either. You could end up with a "cold" solder joint.

The good news is that you wouldn't have a catastrophic failure where the valve would blow off the pipe. Worst case is some seepage years later and even that's a long shot if it's not leaking now. Since it's not a buried connection, I wouldn't worry about it.

But my stock answer is that if it keeps you up at night - re-do it - but use a new valve and start over. Also, don't sweat about a solder blob/drip.

John
 

John Gayewski

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As long as the valve internals weren't melted you should be good. You can sometimes tell if you ruined a valve by the way it opens and closes. If it's way way too easy to open and close all of the way, it could be ruined, same if it's way too hard to open and close.
 
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