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Thread: Soldering / Sweating copper pipe with some water in the line

  1. #1
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    Question Soldering / Sweating copper pipe with some water in the line

    I was watching a show a while back which made mention of ways to solder copper pipes with some water in them. They mention the age old trick of a piece of bread and another method involving a wax like capsule. This capsule is inserted into the pipe about 8-12 inches and plugs the entire inside of the pipe. When the joint is sweated and a new valve or fittings all have been installed one simple applies the heat of the torch to the area of the capsule and it melts it.

    I have been searching the web high and low for these capsules and wanted to inquire if you knew what their proper name is and also if you know where to get them.

    I've used the bread trick and its good and bad depending on how much work you need to do. I've seen a Jet-flex but thats a bit $$$ for me.

    TIA

  2. #2
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    Every time I have to do it, I just open a valve somewhere opposite where I am and use the shop vac with the hose connected to the exhaust to blow all the water out. After a minute or so of blowing and then a little heat, the pipe will be bone dry.
    Doyle

  3. #3
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    Smile

    I haven't used the capsule method as I have never heard of it. However, my BIL plumber told me about the bread in the pipe years ago. I have used it successfully since. You can't pack it too tight because the water will soften it and it will flush right through. It's a quick fix if you do not have the time to vaccuum the lines or can't stop the drip...drip...drip.
    If mama ain't happy............you know the rest!

  4. #4
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    the BORG has them.
    I could cry for the time I've wasted, but thats a waste of time and tears.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Shuk
    the BORG has them.
    What John said.
    Bought them at the Borg but I prefer thr bread.
    Make sure you pull the screens on your faucets and blow them out after.
    TJH
    Live Like You Mean It.



    http://www.northhouse.org/

  6. #6
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    There is a long handled, expanding plug available at plumbing supply houses that you insert into the pipe and expand. You clean and flux the end of the pipe, clean and flux a ball valve and slide it over the plug. Slide the plug into the pipe, expand it (thus stopping the water drip) and slide the valve onto the pipe and sweat away. Then, with the valve closed you can complete the fix and open the valve when done. Obviously more expensive than bread unless you like cool pipe plugs and have a pail of old ball valves like I do.

  7. #7
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    Hmmmm.........

    I have always just stuck something in the pipe to displace the water far enough away from the intended solder joint.

    Little fingers work great for 3/4" pipe.

    Am I miss reading this thread?

    Joe

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Mioux
    Hmmmm.........


    Am I miss reading this thread?

    Joe
    Joe,

    Yup I've been soldering pipes since I was 10 or 11 and have done quite alot of it. Ususally its not a problem to drain the line and get teh little bit of water out of the line. On occasion non-gate valves will leak some even when turned off, which is when I use the old bread trick. If that don't hold a bagel works a little better But the reason that I asked for the wax capsules is that my dad kinked a hot water heating pipe this weekend enough to break it and I had to redo it. So all of the water in the line above wanted to come down on me as it did. I wanted to buy some of these to have around as a just in case deal so I don't have to get soaked again and then have to fill the system with more water.

    I'll check the BORG (HD) out after work today and check but I went to the Lowes when this happened and they didn't know what it was and I didnt see it there.

  9. #9
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    I've seen them at Menards for a few bucks a package. I think there are 2 or 3 in a pack. You can buy a lot of bread for the price of those goodies and still have a boatload left for some sammiches when the job is done!

    They remind me of the "Golden Nugget" of chicken grease that used to come in the Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup years ago.

    Kyle in K'zoo

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Kraft
    They remind me of the "Golden Nugget" of chicken grease that used to come in the Mrs. Grass chicken noodle soup years ago.
    Well Since They are designed/marketed to go in to a potable water line they probably are food grade. If you got real hungry...

  11. #11
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    My last sweating job was in my too-small crawl space and there was simply too much water in the line and not enough bread! I ended up just heating up a length of pipe for a while to steam/work out all the water I could and occasionally bending the pipe to work more water out. Sure took a while but these pipes were located the furthest crawl I could do under my house so I just hung there until I could sweat a decent joint.
    Crown Molding: cut, cope, cuss, caulk, chill....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  12. #12
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    My post was not clear about the construction of the plug. It is about 8" long with a hinged handle that expands a rubber disk on the end when bent 90 degrees (just like a bilge plug on a small boat but with a longer handle). This handle fits through a ball valve (not a gate valve) and allows the plug to be removed through the valve after the soldering is done. Then the valve is closed and the rest of the pipe can be repaired with a short length and a coupling-drip free. THe part that is somewhat odd is that you end up with ball valve in the middle of a pipe for no apparent reason but the method is guaranteed to work every time instead of hoping for the bread to work with whatever the flow happens to be (been there, done that-the hot water drips feel great on your skin in a crawl space). Hope that explains it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Parker
    Joe,

    Yup I've been soldering pipes since I was 10 or 11 and have done quite alot of it. Ususally its not a problem to drain the line and get teh little bit of water out of the line. On occasion non-gate valves will leak some even when turned off, which is when I use the old bread trick. If that don't hold a bagel works a little better But the reason that I asked for the wax capsules is that my dad kinked a hot water heating pipe this weekend enough to break it and I had to redo it. So all of the water in the line above wanted to come down on me as it did. I wanted to buy some of these to have around as a just in case deal so I don't have to get soaked again and then have to fill the system with more water.

    I'll check the BORG (HD) out after work today and check but I went to the Lowes when this happened and they didn't know what it was and I didnt see it there.
    One thing I really appreciate is that I have a dad who grew up in the depression and thus we fixed alot of our own plumbing problems at home, shops, and greenhouses.

    Like you Brian, I learned to sweat pipe at a very young age. I have been in similar situations where water continued to flow, all be it just enought to keep the pipe cool enough to cause soldering problems.

    I was just a bit confused from your original post, thank you for clarifying.

    Joe

  14. #14
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    Ben I belive what you are talking about is a Jet-Flex. Those are $$$ but nice.

  15. #15
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    John,

    Which borg were you talking about? I tried the local Lowes and HD and neither had them. I got some funny looks when I asked for them. The one guy actually tried to tell me that you put bread in the pipe to prevent them from banging, after that I was in disbelief.

    Any other ideas of places that have them, even an online source would be great.

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