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    r2traps's Avatar
    r2traps Posts: 36, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member
     
    #1

    Jul 27, 2008, 09:26 PM
    Best way to cap a copper water line: compression fitting or copper cap?
    Hi all,

    Unsuccessfully tried to cap a copper water line by soldering a pre-soldered cap onto the end. Took all the proper steps, cleaned the ends of the pipe and fitting first, then applied flux around both. Wasn't quite sure what I should be heating, so I just heated everything. After my first attempt, I checked for leaks and there was a tiny waterdrop falling from the cold pipe. Decided (and stupidly so) to try reheating the pipe, and now it leaks even worse. I know that I have to redo everything and drain the pipe, but I'm scared I'll fail again.

    Is it safe to use a compression fitting to close the pipe permanently? I'll be covering up the closed off pipes with drywall, but want to be assured whatever method I use won't leak behind the wall.
    hkstroud's Avatar
    hkstroud Posts: 11,929, Reputation: 899
    Home Improvement & Construction Expert
     
    #2

    Jul 27, 2008, 10:08 PM
    No, you should not try to seal off a line with a compression fitting valve if you are going to cover it. Either cut off a little pipe or heat and remove existing cap. Better and easier to cut if you can. Drain line. Sand pipe until clean, flux both pipe and inside cap. Regular cap. Just a little flux. Put curl in end of solder so you can reach behind pipe. Heat pipe 1/2" away from joint. Heat one side, bottom if horizontial, touch solder to other side. When solder begins to melt move flame to pipe 1"away. Run bead around pipe. Don't over heat. Sounds like you probably over heated and burned flux. And it doesn't take much solder.
    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 7,190, Reputation: 523
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    #3

    Jul 28, 2008, 04:43 AM
    Your problem is that you have water in the pipe. As you reheat it, water becomes steam and stem pushes your solder out of the joint. It is endless job if you don't do it right.

    Close water to your house. Open all faucets below the point of soldering. Blow air into the pipe. Pipe has to have no water in it. There is no compromise. Proceed as HKStroud suggested.

    Or, don't bother with soldering at all. Go to Home Depot, buy "SharkBite" cap, slip it on. You are done in one minute.
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
    Eternal Plumber
     
    #4

    Jul 28, 2008, 05:00 AM
    Milos advice to use Shakbite fittings sounds good to me. But a old plumbers trick to evacuate water out of a pipe to be soldered is to pack dried bread in the pipe. As a rule we simply apply heat to the pipe until the steam stops. Regards, Tom
    r2traps's Avatar
    r2traps Posts: 36, Reputation: 1
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    #5

    Jul 28, 2008, 06:56 AM
    Thanks for the advice everyone, Sharkbite is nowhere to be found here in Toronto, Canada. I managed to find a similar product to the sharkbite and tried it out. Unfortunately after I turned on the water supply there was still water coming out of the end stop. Should I be putting plumbers putty or something similar around the pipe before I put the end stop on?

    The end stop I got was this product: FreshWaterSystems.com - End stop - 1/2" CTS

    I've decided to just solder a copper end stop, however my pipes are vertical. At what point should I apply the solder and will it still go around the entire pipe or do I have to move the solder all the way around because it's vertical?
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
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    #6

    Jul 28, 2008, 11:20 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by r2traps
    I've decided to just solder a copper end stop, however my pipes are vertical. At what point should I apply the solder and will it still go around the entire pipe or do I have to move the solder all the way around because it's vertical?
    First evacuate the pipe, no moisture. Clean and flux both the fitting and the pipe. Slip the 1/2" hard cap on the pipe and apply heat to the larger fitting,(the cap) Place the tip of the solder on the opposite side from the flame. When the solder begins to melt run the solder around the joint a few times.
    Capillary action will draw the solder up in the joint. Pull the flame back and let it cool. Turn the water back on and test your work. Good luck, Tom
    WWPierre's Avatar
    WWPierre Posts: 78, Reputation: 4
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    #7

    Jul 28, 2008, 03:26 PM
    Once I was fixing burst pipes in my crawl space and hollered up to my wife to send down bread. She gave 2 slices to someone who happened to be visiting and asked him to take them to me. He said: "Aren't you even going to butter them for him?"
    r2traps's Avatar
    r2traps Posts: 36, Reputation: 1
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    #8

    Jul 28, 2008, 08:25 PM
    Well I was unsuccessful again. Tried soldering on copper ends stop but butchered it. I took my time prepping, draining all the water in the house by turning off the water supply and turning on every faucet, hose faucet, flushing all the toilets, drained the washing machine hose and garden hose, etc. Even stuck some bread up the pipes.

    I feel my main problem is timing the heat for the melting point of the solder. Whenever the solder would begin to melt I would pull the heat away, only to have the solder harden up fairly quickly, so I'm not able to make my way around the joint in time, especially considering the vertical orientation. Spent an hour trying to make sure the entire joint had solder on it, but ended up having large clumps of solder here and there. Eventually I "clumped" the entire joint, but after turning the water on it was spraying from several parts of the joint.

    Frustrated and needing to get the water up and running in the house, I got desperate and temporarily installed 2 compression fittings for the time being.

    Looked into buying a sharkbite end stop online from the US, but the shipping charges brings the total to over $30!

    Looking to everyone for guidance!
    hkstroud's Avatar
    hkstroud Posts: 11,929, Reputation: 899
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    #9

    Jul 28, 2008, 10:01 PM
    OK, but you are going to learn to do this. Give it a rest then try again.
    Its really quite simple after you learn how. Its quite maddening right now because nothing seems to work. If someone could watch they could very quickly tell you what is wrong. Right now we can only guess.

    After turning off the water and draining, since this is a vertical pipe, make sure all of the water is out of the pipe by sticking a small plastic tube down the pipe (a couple of feet if it will go) and suck out any water that is there. May sound gross but it's the same water that you drink anyway.
    You are probably using a propane torch. Unless you got a small nozzle, you have more flame than you need. Turn flame down as low as possible.

    Heat the cap and pipe as shown in the upper drawing. Watch the joint, you should see the flux liquefy and begin to flow, you are almost ready to solder. Touch the solder to the opposite side of the pipe. When the solder begins to melt and flow, move the flame down the pipe an inch or so as shown in lower drawing. This should keep the pipe hot while you run the solder around the joint. Once you have gone all the way around the pipe, stop, the joint has sucked up all the solder its going to. You can move the flame up the pipe is the solder stops flowing and down it you think it's getting too hot. While the pipe is still hot wipe off excess solder with wet cloth. The hottest point of the flame is the tip of the blue flame within the orange flame. That should be touching the pipe but the pipe should not be buried in it.

    Get some pipe and a bunch of caps. Practice, first with the pipe laying horizontal. Do 4 or 5 horizontal then cut short lengths of pipe and stand vertical. Do 4 or 5 vertical.

    You have two objectives, fix the pipe but more important, learn to sweat solder.

    Keep us posted
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    afaroo's Avatar
    afaroo Posts: 3,998, Reputation: 251
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    #10

    Jul 29, 2008, 11:32 AM
    Hi r2traps,

    Do it as Harlod suggested it will take you a while to learn it, after 3-4 one you be able to do it, also I attached the link below it is the same as Harold with more details, Good Luck,

    John

    Working with Copper Pipe | DoItYourself.com
    WWPierre's Avatar
    WWPierre Posts: 78, Reputation: 4
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    #11

    Jul 29, 2008, 11:59 AM
    You WILL learn how to do this!. or else! :)

    This may help: the melted solder will tend to run towards the hottest.
    speedball1's Avatar
    speedball1 Posts: 29,301, Reputation: 1939
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    #12

    Jul 29, 2008, 12:58 PM
    Whenever the solder would begin to melt I would pull the heat away, only to have the solder harden up fairly quickly,
    when I said "pull the flame back" I meant to not keep overheating it after the solder gets sucked up into the joint, not to pull away after it starts to melt. You keep the flame on while you're running the solder around the fitting. Go back and bthis time leave the flame on w3hile you run the solder around the fitting, THEN pull the flame back and shut the torch off. Good luck, Tom
    r2traps's Avatar
    r2traps Posts: 36, Reputation: 1
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    #13

    Jul 29, 2008, 01:08 PM
    You guys rock, thanks for the encouragement and detailed advice. Keeping the flame on the pipe makes total sense, none of which I had after a day full of frustration. FYI, although my pipes are vertical, I will be placing the cap at the bottom of the pipe as it's located in the basement. Will make sure to keep this updated.
    hkstroud's Avatar
    hkstroud Posts: 11,929, Reputation: 899
    Home Improvement & Construction Expert
     
    #14

    Jul 29, 2008, 01:25 PM
    So you are not having to make the solder flow uphill right? Piece of cake if you get rid of all water.

    Hint.
    After you have put the cap on the end of the pipe, squeeze it with your pliers to make it slightly egg shaped. The twist the cap 90 degrees. That will prevent the cap from falling off while you are soldering it.
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    KISS's Avatar
    KISS Posts: 12,510, Reputation: 839
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    #15

    Jul 29, 2008, 04:08 PM
    When I teach someone to solder, I teach them when the pipes are like yours. Someone did 40 joints after a session with me and no leaks.

    I'd say practice with a coupling with the stop on it or an elbow in the orientaton that you have. It will be easier to see what's going on.

    Solder will flow due to capilary action and solder will flow toward the hottest spot. I will usually heat the largest mass. In this case, I would heat the top of the cap.

    Every once in a while, try to melt the solder around the joint, If it doesn't melt back away and wait.

    I know it's a different technique than Harold's.

    When it does start to melt, you want to trace the joint. Now the tricky part. You can melt the solder at the joint with the heat removedm but not for long. If it solidifies to fast, put the heat back on.

    To get a nice joint, let it cool some and wipe the joint with a damp rag.
    Milo Dolezal's Avatar
    Milo Dolezal Posts: 7,190, Reputation: 523
    Plumbing Expert
     
    #16

    Jul 29, 2008, 04:50 PM
    Btw: SharkBite will leak if : 1. the pipe has residue of old solder on it ( sand it down with abrasive cloth ), if pipe is not perfectly round ( cut of little piece ) and / or if you don't push it in all the way ( easily tap it with hammer ).
    WWPierre's Avatar
    WWPierre Posts: 78, Reputation: 4
    Junior Member
     
    #17

    Jul 29, 2008, 05:00 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by KeepItSimpleStupid

    To get a nice joint, let it cool some and wipe the joint with a damp rag.
    Cotton is best.
    r2traps's Avatar
    r2traps Posts: 36, Reputation: 1
    Junior Member
     
    #18

    Aug 4, 2008, 10:57 AM
    All right guys, after reading over your tips and practising, I finally did it! I simply did not have the pipes hot enough for the solder to do it's work. Thanks so much everyone, you've helped me so much!
    bkbobbi's Avatar
    bkbobbi Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #19

    Dec 20, 2009, 02:25 PM
    What do you do if the sharkbite still leaks
    Trying to put a small piece of pvc on with the sharkbite push-fit connectioners. 3/4 " pvc pipe will not fit onto the 3/4 "copper... help any sugestions?
    joshandren's Avatar
    joshandren Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #20

    Jan 21, 2010, 04:29 PM
    Thanks for the tip on Sharkbite products, has saved me a whole lot of time and effort! Highly recommend them, found them in Australia and available at most trade plumbing centres!
    http://www.sharkbite.com.au

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