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amodoko 10-06-2012 12:19 AM

Help needed with soldering a frost proof sillcock in
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Hey guys, need to help my parents at their house. They have 3 frost proof sillcocks that have needed attention, and I removed one and soldered a new one in... that one is good now. I then repaired the second one with replacement parts (wish I just soldered a new one in though for that since replacement parts cost me as much as buying a new one plus it actually was more work). And the third one needs to be replaced completely because it has cracked through and is leaking when turned on.

Anyways, I got pictures attached below, but basically it is a tight space and I wanted to see what you guys would do in terms of how I would go about soldering it in without buying soft copper (they don't sell it in small amounts I believe and I only need like 3 feet)?

I had thought about using rigid copper and soldering it to the sillcock first, then pushing it and the copper through the house and then attaching a few 90 degree elbows to bring it back to the valve in the picture. This would help so I wouldn't have to solder in the tight space as I would bring the copper out further into the house and wrap it around with the elbows back to the source.

I've also just thought about heating up the soft copper that is already there so the solder melts and I can just remove the old sillcock and solder in a new one. The only issue I have with this is that I don't know if I should be concerned about how kinked the old soft copper is and if you can even resolder to an already soldered piece of soft copper. My parents said that when the sillcock was working the water pressure was fine through the sillcock so the kink shouldn't be a big deal in terms of pressure for them but I still wanted to ask if I could even resolder something to this soft copper.

Also, the valve is bad and will not stop water flow so I need to solder a new one in possibly. It looks like people recommend the ball valves now with the hand lever, right?

And lastly, I have just two concerns that people may want to comment on. One being I will have to cut out that wood block in the picture because the space is so tight I can't even fit in my propane torch to solder (there are pipes that are hard to see in there that along with the wood block, they restrict access). If there is a way to extend a line from my little propane torch that would be fine as long as it is inexpensive. And the other concern is there is a gas line close by, shouldn't be an issue I think but didn't know if I should take extra precautions.

Sorry for the long post and my lack of knowledge, I'm just a basic DIY'er that enjoys learning how to do things. Thanks in advance for any advice, much appreciated. Oh, and by the way, the pictures don't really do a good job of showing how tight the space is due to all the pipes and wires.

sublime2 10-06-2012 12:44 AM

Instead on solder how about sharkbites?
Cut the ridgid cooper,remove damaged piece push on sharkbite ,add new pipe and your done.

amodoko 10-06-2012 01:53 AM

Hey, thanks for the quick reply sublime2. That's a great idea actually, but in the past I've used a gator bite (same idea as a shark bite, but not sure if it is of less or better quality) and it was actually really easy to use. This was used to join copper to the threaded side of a sillcock, but the threaded side of the gator bite leaked even after tightening as much as I could as well as using teflon tape. That's actually when I then decided to learn how to solder off this forum. I then decided to solder that sillcock due to the gator bike leaking.

Ever since then I've kind of felt uneasy about using any of those push-fit type of fittings. I'm not saying they aren't great products, I've just had a bad experience with them the one time I used them. Plus, it seems that there are a lot of plumbers out there that prefer not to use them because they feel the rubber ring in them will wear out over time and cause a leak.

I would consider a shark bite, but kind of as a last resort though since this is my parents' house and they are old and I would feel uneasy about the fitting leaking while I'm not there to help them out. But I definitely will include it as an option, thank you for that suggestion. I actually almost forgot about those fittings, they would be good to keep around for emergencies as well.

Plus I don't know if this matters, but the copper that is attached to the sillcock is soft copper, not rigid. Also, if I cut it to remove the old sillcock, there would be almost no room to attach the fitting there since the copper is kinked literally 1/2 inch from the sillcock. I would have to heat the solder up, remove the sillcock, then sand the soft copper, then attach the fitting to make sure I would have enough non-kinked copper to attach the fitting to.

biggles 10-06-2012 04:22 AM

with the new sillcock i would solder up copper nipples into it on a bench..before going in there then use copper couplings to catch both coppers after sizing up the cuts...maybe even elbow down from the old copper and bring the valve out a bit...definitly a ball valve is easier on the hands

amodoko 10-06-2012 11:48 PM

Thanks for the reply biggles, I think I follow what you are suggesting for the most part, but can you clarify what you mean by "copper nipples?" I'm an idiot with this stuff so excuse my ignorance. I'm assuming you mean just some regular type L copper to extend out, right? Or do you mean some special coupling?

biggles 10-07-2012 01:53 PM

nipples are nipples galv,brass or copper means just short pieces...if you do them into the new valve on a beanch then go in with couplings to connect to the exsisting copper much more friendlier then into a brass valve wondering if your melting stuff... soft soldering be clean and flux keep the torch in one place 1'-2' away and work the solder around..flow like melted butter...don't need to chase it with the flame:wink: tons of YOUTUBES on soldering in tight area...check it out

amodoko 10-07-2012 08:49 PM

Hey thanks biggles, much appreciated:) Now I'll go get to work, hopefully get to it by the weekend. Thanks again!

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