Fixing Copper Pipes
Posted Jan 23rd 2014 | By:
When it comes to fixing copper pipes, it is a fairly easy process that requires simple tools, and you have several options at your disposal. One method is the soldering route. Once you find the source of the leak, you're going to cut out the damaged section and use a new piece with joint fittings. You can a copper pipe cutting tool like this one.
Photo from Sourcing Map
Once the leak is found, turn off the main water that is closest to the shutoff valve. Cut out the damaged section, leaving a few inches of space on each side. Use an emery cloth or sand paper to sand both ends, and be sure to wipe away the ends. Next, you're going to apply the new fitting to the missing section.
Applying the Solder
Cut the new pipe based on the measurements from a new pipe, and sand both edges. This will make the process easier to fit on. Some would say you can use the self-cleaning flux without sanding the edges, but it never hurts to manually sand before applying the flux. Use flux on the new pipe and cover at about one inch. You can use too much flux, but not enough will hurt your chances of success. Fit the flux end onto one of the coupler fittings. Use a torch to merge until the flux begins to drip.
For the actual solder, lead-free is ideal if dealing with drinking water lines. How much solder you use will depend on the pipe. If you have a inch pipe, use inches solder, use one inch of solder one inch pipes, etc. This will help in avoiding using too much or too little solder. Use solder to the other side, and allow the solder to seal inside the connection. The same process applies for the other end of the pipe. Soldering is something you can do if you have experience, but if you've never soldered before, there is an easier way of fixing copper pipes.
No Soldering... No Torches
If you don't want to use soldering or torches, you can use compression couplings like the one shown below. Slide couplings are also available.
There are multiple sizes where simply cut out the damaged section, slide in the compression coupling and refit to the adjacent pipe. All you do is tighten the bolts on them, but be sure not to over tighten. For sharkbite fittings, you'll notice plastic tubing inside, so you're going to pull those out, since they are not necessary. Take a plastic measuring tool and place on one end of the cut pipe to get a sense of deeply you're going to fit in the pipe.
Use on both ends and make a mark. Insert the fitting on the pipe and slide back. Use your plastic tool to push out the fitting so it can connect to the other end.
And that is the simplest way of fixing a leaking pipe. There is no right or wrong method of doing so, but it depends on what you have available, and how short you want to get the job done.
Photos from Kully Supply
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