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Old 11-14-2012, 10:44 AM   #1
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Fixing sewer gas smell from 3" copper vent pipe

I have these 3" copper pipes in the attic that is used to vent toilets, sinks, etc.

Based on what I saw, whoever sweated these joints did not use enough solder as I can clearly see a gap between the pipe and fittings.

In addition, some of these pipes are rather long (3" pipe that is over 9 feet long) so I inadvertently moved them slightly as I was jostling insulation around.

All I know is that I can distinctively smell sewer gas odor directly beneath this pipe (my master bedroom).

Normally, I would just heat the joints, take them apart, clean, re-assemble and re-sweat these joints but due to rather limited space, I would like to explore other repair possibilities.

Option 1. Heat the fitting and apply more solder. not sure if this will seal out gas as the surface would not be clean. Maybe apply flux on top?

Option 2. Since this is just a low pressure vent pipe, can I simply use some plumber's putty to seal out the gas? or even some type of "clay-ish" welding products?



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Old 11-14-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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JB weld----I never thought I'd say that publicly ---

If the fitting is completely loose---open--remove the fitting or cut out the fitting and replace the fitting with PVC and rubber Fernco fittings---

Resoldering an old fitting without taking it apart and sanding the surfaces will fail---you might start a fire---skip the soldering----


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Old 11-14-2012, 04:58 PM   #3
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Wrap the connection in aluminum tape, the kind used for HVAC duct. Better yet, cut out all that copper and replace with PVC. Do you have any idea what copper is worth at a recycle place these days??
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:35 PM   #4
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I thought about using the foil tape but I thought it would not hold up, especially when taped to the brass fitting side. Good point about copper recycling but as I work on plumbing projects requiring the removal of copper pipes, I just clean and hold them for any future projects requiring copper pipes. No sense in melting down a working pipe, right?

Mike, thanks. JB weld was what I was thinking and no, the pipes are not completely loose but have hairline gaps between fittings and pipes, allowing sewer gas to escape.

Some pipes cross horizontally on the attic floor so I may just cut and replace them with PVC/Fernco to re-route them near the rafters. I just need to pre-plan how I will support these new fittings as Fernco fittings probably cannot support any weight.

Will report back soon on this "project".
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