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Stop pipe dripping long enough to solder

Ted W.'s picture

Okay, I'm having a tough time soldering a joint of 1" copper. It's the main run in my apartment building (not mine, I just live here) and I can't get the darn thing to stop running a tiny bit of water long enough the get the joint soldered. I was going to use the wad of bread trick, but the owner is hovering over m... er, I mean, he's here, and says no no no I'm not sticking no bread in the pipe it will clog the faucets in the building. Really, he said it just like that, all one sentence.


So, what tricks do you guys have up your sleeves for dealing with this?


I mean the water, not the building owner.


~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #1 of 34)

Ether.


Get a can of starting fluid and spray it in a bag. Ask landlord to smell it to make sure its fresh. Then stuff the bread in before he wakes up.


 


Spheramid Enterprises Architectural Woodworks


Repairs, Remodeling, Restorations


"If Brains was lard, you couldn't grease much of a pan"
Jed Clampitt



www.richmondrenovationsandrestoration.com  

(post #108249, reply #2 of 34)

I really like the ether trick... this trick could be useful for so many problems.

I've always used the white bread trick but I have seen some "Dissolvable Pipe Plugs" like the "sure sweat" type (Google will pull it up). I have never used them so I don't know how well they work but I don't see why they wouldn't.

Steve

(post #108249, reply #15 of 34)

The either worked great, thanks for the idea.


 


While he was out I went to the plumbing supplier and got a compression fit ball valve. Then spread some bread crumbs on the floor just to watch the vane on his forehead burst when he wakes up.


~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #16 of 34)

All these other guys are giving you lousy ideas. You don't get to buy any new tools using their solutions. There is no "cool" factor.


Head to the plumbing supplier and buy yourself a Ridgid ProPress setup. Get the 1/2", 3/4" and 1" jaws and a selection of fittings. Cost: $2000+.


Now, go in the basement and crimp on a ball valve downstream of the leak and shut it off. Then, crimp on the rest of the parts you need. Elapsed time: 30 seconds. Risk of fire: zero. Risk of leaks: zero. The look on the landlord's face: priceless. He'll probably give you a lifetime lease at $1/year after this display of problem-solving prowess.

(post #108249, reply #17 of 34)

Now you tell me! Well.. maybe next time. Uh oh, he's coming too. I better get back to work.

~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #19 of 34)

My son's a plumber, says he doesn't worry too much about a line where there is just a little drip coming through. He uses MAPP gas (methyl acetylene-propylene-propadiene), which burns far hotter than propane. He says it's so hot it just vaporizes any drips, leaves plenty of heat to heat the area and sweat on the fitting. I can't say how big "a little drip" is, though.

(post #108249, reply #21 of 34)

I'm using mapp, but this is a steady stream. Can't shut the main supply completely because it's so old. Anywayz, got it solved with a compression ball valve. But thanks for the input.


On a side note, I had to stop building owner from using 16" channellocks on the valve, lest he was going to snap the stem off the thing! Good think I'm here to do the thinking. =)


~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #22 of 34)

White bread is really unhealthy. Make sure your copper system is getting enough fiber and essential nutrients.

AitchKay

(post #108249, reply #18 of 34)

That propress ain't no fun.......... you wanna buy a new tool????


Get a big bottle of c02 and buy 1 of these http://www.freezekits.com/


Ridgid makes a self contained freeze kit, but it takes an hour and is kinda boring.


But ya open the valve on this baby and ya go to work in 2 minutes.

(post #108249, reply #20 of 34)

Now I really like that one. On a hot day I can use it to make popsickles. Yummm Yummm!

~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #26 of 34)

Or if you forget to put the beer in the fridge.

.
William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #108249, reply #25 of 34)

Well if you are into the cool buying idea, well maybe COLD tool buying, you can get a system that freezes the pipe and an ice plug will form.

.
William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe
. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #108249, reply #3 of 34)

Cut the tube, use a 1" sharkbite stopper, fix the leak, then fix your cut with this:


http://www.pexsupply.com/Sharkbite-Slip-Couplings-1592000


Goes right on copper, Home Depot might even have them in stock.



Tu stultus es
Rebuilding my home in Cypress, CA
Also a CRX fanatic!


Look, just send me to my drawer.  This whole talking-to-you thing is like double punishment.

YAY!  I love WYSISYG editing!  And Spellcheck!

____________________________________________________

(post #108249, reply #4 of 34)

i would try a 1 inch compression union

(post #108249, reply #30 of 34)

I like compression fittings there very solid while im at it I would use a compression fitting shut off valve you can never have enough shutoff valves.


Edited 5/9/2009 7:56 am ET by dogboy

Carpentry and remodeling  Vic Vardamis Bangor Me

(post #108249, reply #5 of 34)

Solder in a copper union, the two piece kind. Like these

http://plumbing.hardwarestore.com/52-332-copper-unions-and-couplings/copper-union-251348.aspx

Otherwise they sell plugs you can insert in the pipe and dissolve with your torch when finished.

The bread is OK if you use white bread without the crust.

(post #108249, reply #6 of 34)

As others say, the temporary plug (tho' white bread won't clog the plumbing), or a sharkbite, or a compression fitting -- your call.


Do the next guy a favor tho' -- cut the pipe near the entrance and use a sharkbite/compression fitting to install a new ball valve shutoff. That'll eliminate the water trickle problem for you and for the next guy (which just could be you, after all).


Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA

Mike Hennessy
Pittsburgh, PA
Everything fits, until you put glue on it.

(post #108249, reply #7 of 34)

Sometimes, when you can't get the pipe to drain completely, use a shop vac to suck out all the water.


Chris

(post #108249, reply #8 of 34)

Which side is the water coming from? Supply side-- then pop the meter and blow or shop vac it out.


If it's the apartment side then use your shop vac or compressed air to suck/blow to a distant outlet. Hose bib or faucet. Try to expose enough pipe to elevate the end also helps.


Hopefully that will dry out enough pipe to create a reservoir for where ever the water is coming from and keepit dry while soldering.


Like someone else suggested, I too would use a union. That way you only have to beat the flow from 1 side.


Save the bread for a nice sammitch

(post #108249, reply #9 of 34)

Yeah, and sometimes you can lever the pipe into a downward slope to drain, then prop it in an upward slope to work on it, working fast before the drips build up enough to flow out the end.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #108249, reply #10 of 34)

Where the pipe is rising up from the floor I've used a piece of plastic tubing to siphon the pipe dry down several feet.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #108249, reply #11 of 34)

My plumber uses a tool called a JetSwet. Tool is like a bilge plug on a 12" long handel. Insert into pipe, ingage plug. Sweat on a full port ball valve. Disengage plug, pull out through ball valve. continue on with your repair with valve closed to stop water flow.

Sizes made for different pipe. Handle length is long enough to keep rubber plug far enough away from heat, though a wet rag at that point might be a good idea.

But for just a trickle, bread would work and be sure to open a valve down stream to flush most of it out befor opening any other outlets.

TFB (Bill)
TFB (Bill)

(post #108249, reply #13 of 34)

Yeah, if the guy's really worried about the bread: Insert bread, sweat on ball valve, turn water back on, open ball valve briefly to purge bread.


The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -John Kenneth Galbraith


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

(post #108249, reply #14 of 34)

I drained all lines as best I can, then I hooked up a garden hose to a faucet and then a small vacuum pump, worked great when I had one of these drippers from He##


good luck

(post #108249, reply #12 of 34)

tell the owner to call a plumber.  That might change his attitude but I think you can actually get disolvable plugs that you can jam in that do the same thing as bread.

(post #108249, reply #23 of 34)

(post #108249, reply #24 of 34)

They work well.

TFB (Bill)

TFB (Bill)

(post #108249, reply #27 of 34)

Only problem I see with that is you can only sweat one end of the coupling, since the handle will be sticking out the other end. However, it would work for adding a ball valve or similar.


But $200??? Maybe for a full time plumber, but the compression ball valve worked just fine. Maybe I'll buy that kit when I have too much money and run out of crative ways to spend it. =)


~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~

(post #108249, reply #28 of 34)

Ted. It's obvious that some of the guys or in the wrong business and should be doing standup.


I go on line each night just before going to bed for a good laugh and to get my blood pressure down.

(post #108249, reply #29 of 34)

Yeah, but they're not giving up their day job either. =D

~ Ted W ~


Cheap Tools! - MyToolbox.net
Meet me at House & Builder!

~ Ted W ~