What tool is good for gas pipe union connector?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Paul16887, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    I 'll replace a gas water heater and I'm a novice.
    I've read a lot of information from internet and watched many Youtube clips.
    I know I need to practice soldering skill for cold and hot water line.

    I don't know how to proper re-connect the gas pipe with union connector.
    How do I know I will not over tighten the union connector? or my tool is not strong enough to tighten the union connector? I don't have pipe wrench. I only have monkey wrench and other type
    I learned I shouldn't use join compound with union connector.

    Thanks advanced for all the advice.
     

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  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    You can put a dab of pipe dope on the mating surfaces of a union, but don't use any on the threads. It isn't needed, but won't hurt if it's only on the mating surfaces and you don't get excessive.

    You really want a couple of wrenches, one to turn the nut, the second to hold other to hold the body of the fitting. It doesn't need to be superhuman tight to seal if your pipe ends align. If they are offset a bit, it makes it much harder. It also can be a bit harder when reusing the same fitting if the first was over-tightened, but not usually an issue with iron fittings...more common with brass or copper ones since they're softer. The softer material can get a ridge when tightening, and if not aligned when reusing, can leak.

    Test your fitting for leaks...if it doesn't leak, it should be tight enough.
     
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  4. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    Thank you very much for the advice.

    Can I re-use the iron pipe between union and gas controller?
     
  5. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    I cut the 3/4" copper pipe using pipe cutter , the inner of pipe end is smaller than original. (raised edge) Could this indicate the pipe cutter is not sharp enough or I turned too much on the nob while cutting the pipe?
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2018 at 8:03 PM
  6. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Pretty normal, depending on how much smaller. You can ream out the pipe a bit.

    Some pipe cutters have their own reamer.
     
  7. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    I cut the pipe with hacksaw that didn't create "raised edge", if space permitting, is hacksaw a better choice?
    Do I have to replace the vaccum release valve, how to test it?
    Thanks.
     
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    I would not think so, because you get an edge that needs some dressing, and you have the added factor of keeping the angle right on the saw blade. Yet a hacksaw can be fine.

    I like the Ridgid 101 tube cutter. While it is not the smallest, it is pretty small, and cuts well. The tiny little ridge inside does not even have to be reamed, although it would probably be best to do so.

    A cutter made for galvanized pipe is going to have a wider wheel and will make a bigger ridge.

    I don't have such a valve. I don't need a vacuum breaker for the WH, because the WH is in the basement. I probably should a vacuum breaker on the line from the well if I wanted to be extra cautious in case the check valve at the pump fails. I don't know if people commonly test a vacuum release valve, but I would isolated it and suck to test. That might involve pulling the unit.
     
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    IMHO, when using a tubing cutter, it is imperative, not optional to clean up the end so that it is the same diameter as the main length of tubing. Failing to do so creates turbulence. In the long term, worst case, it can literally erode the pipe from the inside. If I remember, this is also discussed in the Copper Institute's handbook which is available free on their website.

    A sharp cutting wheel will deform the tubing less, but it will still happen some.
     
  10. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 10:23 AM
  11. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    I bought this torch kit and did some practices.
    I want to practice as much as possible but am afraid of not having enough propane while doing the actual job.

    The picture shows 14.1 OZ (400g). Initially, the the weight of propane can was 814g after 5 joints soldering is 802g.
    (814-802) divide 5 soldering = 2.4 g per joint soldering.
    400g / 2.4 = 166 joint solder
    Does this calculation sound right?
    Thanks.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 6:52 AM
  12. phog

    phog Member

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    Hi Paul, that sounds about right, for a home DIY person a single torch size bottle of propane will last many years and many projects.

    I would not worry too much about "practicing" unless you are pressure testing the joints. A joint can look 100% fine visually but when you turn on the water, could then have a pinhole leak. Only pressure testing will tell whether you've sweated it correctly.

    But don't get discouraged, soldering is very easy to do. If you make sure to get all surfaces (both inside of the fitting & outside of the tube) gleaming clean with your fitting brush / emery paper, apply plenty of flux, and don't contaminate the prepped surfaces at any point in the process by touching them, the joint will be fine 99.999% of the time.

    Oh, and also make sure to open a faucet to let the hot expanding air out of the line while you're soldering. Otherwise air will bubble out through your solder joint and ruin it.

    Finally, I would like to urge you to enlist the help of someone instead of doing the gas plumbing alone as a novice. Of all the things in your house that people want to DIY, this is among the most dangerous. The consequences of getting it wrong can be catastrophic. A tiny leak through a fitting can slowly fill up the room with gas until, boom -- your entire house blows up. Gas pipe is not complicated to do, but it's absolutely imperative it gets done *right*. Just my $0.02
     
  13. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    "open a faucet to let the hot expanding air out of the line while you're soldering"

    I can open the hot water faucet because there is no hot water. But for the cold water pipe , there is a ball valve in the cold water pipe to water heater.
    Do I have to shut down the main water valve, then open the ball valve at water heater?
    please advise.
    Thanks.
     
  14. phog

    phog Member

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    As long as the hot water tank is empty of water, air can flow through between the hot & cold lines. So you should not have to open the cold side, just keep the hot faucet open.

    (If you have the tank filled with water, it will block any air flow, so in this case either drain the tank or shut off the house service main & open a cold faucet)

    Be careful soldering too near the water heater pipe nipple connections, there is plastic inside that can be damaged by heat. Typically what you do is solder a female pipe fitting onto a piece of copper tube on your work bench, and let it cool down before installing it onto the water heater. Then work off that with a wet rag wrapped near the water heater top connection to keep things cool.

    Finally, this probably gues without saying, but you need to use Teflon tape or potable-rated pipe dope on the pipe thread connection. Don't forget to put it on before soldering everything up, otherwise you'll be taking it apart again later :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018 at 11:14 AM
  15. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    From the picture, I'm planning to cut the middle of CD to move out the old water heater but thinking to soldering back may be a challenge for a novice.
    with CD only 3.25" wide and inserting a straight 1.5 " fitting, I'm afraid to mess up the neighbor fitting.( too close ?)
    How do I solder back without messing the existing neighbor fitting?
    Thanks.
     

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  16. phog

    phog Member

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    You could use a flex line to make things easier, instead of trying to solder hard line, if your local code allows. You need some give somewhere to slip fittings together, I'm not sure whether you'll have enough there to do what you suggest, it's hard to see. But soldering a male pipe fitting onto the end of the copper and making the last connection with a flex line is definitely easier for a novice & will definitely work.
     
  17. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    A repair coupling doesn't have a central stop in it. So, you fully slide it onto one end of the pipe, put it in location, then slide it over the other pipe so it's centered over the gap (that gap should be minimal), then solder. Remember to clean and flux all parts first. A much more expensive option would be to maybe use a Sharkbite slip connector if there's enough length involved. It can fill a gap, too. WIth one of those, you slide it onto one pipe, put it in place, then, using the release tool, slide it down until bottomed out in the other end. can handle up to about a 2" gap if I remember correctly (you should check). Cost about 10x what a repair coupling costs, but you don't have to solder it.

    Make sure when heating things up to solder that you heat both the fitting (mostly) and a bit of the pipe, and, try to get all around it. Personally, I find a tinning flux is easier if you don't do it often. There is ground up solder mixed into the paste. WHen you see that melt, you know things are hot enough to then add your wire solder to finish it up. Overheating a joint can burn the flux. If you do get a leak, you can't just add more solder...you have to tear it apart, clean it up, then try again since the water will contaminate it so it will not make a good joint.
     
  18. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber...and babysitter of morons...

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    You really ought ot be careful with what you are doing.. If you dont know how to screw together
    a simple gas union you are gonna get yourself in trouble on this....
    perhaps you ought to call in a plumber

    dont install the gas line like this clown did

    [​IMG]











     
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  19. Paul16887

    Paul16887 New Member

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    Thank you for all the inputs, I've really learned a lot about pluming since posting this thread.
    The more I practiced the more questions I countered and answered by all of you. I appreciate you very much.

    I've decided to back out this time for three reasons: 1. Scale from 1 to 10, my daughter's fear's index is 11 and my wife's is 100 and mine is 7. 2. My plummer called me back this morning. 3. I'm afraid of making it worse.

    Even I don't do this time, I'll still come back with questions.
    Thank you all.
     
  20. phog

    phog Member

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    I think you made the right choice. If you have the opportunity, hang out with the plumber and watch the work as it's happening. You'll know what to look for now and maybe he/she won't even mind answering questions if you have any.. i admire your can-do DIY spirit, i think you'll get there in the future, you just need a handyman friend who can help you learn how to do that kind of stuff. Online forums are no substitute for hands on.
     
  21. Master Plumber Mark

    Master Plumber Mark Master Plumber...and babysitter of morons...

    Joined:
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    Sensitivity trainer.. plumber of mens souls
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    indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of

    Watch the p;umber and dont take your eyes off him cause its gonna go fast for him to do
    if you turn away for a minute you probably will miss a lot of it.... Odds are he will probably
    use a flex connector and make the job easy... for both the gas and the water lines..

    if you wife and daughter are afraid of you doing this, you are probably wise to back out
    now and save face before disaster befalls you...

    also if the plumber screws up you can always blame him.....:D:D:D
     
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