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Old 08-07-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
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joint solder problem

I am not a plumber, but I soldered a T-tting into a " copper pipe, using a propane torch. I used flux (which was 10 years old, does it expire?) but unfortunately, it has a slight leak because apparently not enough solder got into one of the joints. Then I tried to touch up by adding more solder, but it ended up just getting a glob of solder on top without fixing the leak. Is there a way for me to get the solder in there to stop the leak, without replacing the T-fitting?


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Old 08-07-2009, 11:45 AM   #2
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The proper way would be to take the joint apart, clean it up and start over. You don't know why the leak is occuring. It may not be just that you need more solder in that spot. There may be a tiny grain of dirt in there, or maybe you didn't scuff up the surface enough, or applied too much heat such that the flux melted away in the spot. So without knowing exactly why the leak is happening, trying to reheat the joint and put in more solder will likely just end up making it worse or not doing anything. I'd say you should save yourself additional frustration, and just start over. If you don't have any flex in the pipes that lead up to the tee, you'll have to cut the pipe to take out the joint, and then get some repair couplings to put the pipe back together afterward.


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Old 08-07-2009, 02:22 PM   #3
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Reheating the joint, removing the fitting, cleaning it with a wire brush and re-doing it is the only good permanent fix.

Adding more solder does not work because the solder is not drawn up into the fitting where the leak is. Sometimes you'll get lucky and a glob will sort of tack "weld" the leak shut but it is not going to hold for all that long.

Remember, flux causes the solder to be drawn in towards the heat source. Use plenty of flux and don't overheat the joint and melt that flux completely out.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:39 PM   #4
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Be sure to drain all water out of the line or you will never gain enough heat to flow the solder! that's why you're getting solder globs

-sand it all up til it shines with emory paper (inside and out)
-flux the hell out of it
-heat it in the thickest part,
-when the solder melts upon contact it's ready (flame should be off/away when solder is applied)

if you do it right should flow all around the pipe on its own. a little extra never hurts though. wipe excell solder with an old wet rag to make it pretty....

Last edited by johnnyboy; 08-07-2009 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:04 PM   #5
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all the guys have gave you good advice. i presume you have water standing in the pipe from where you turned it back on. you will never solder this fitting as long as water is close enough to be drawn to the fitting being soldered. an old trick i use is to take a piece of white bread, remove the crust and ball up the white middle good and tight. stick this into the pipe where you have water and push it in an inch or two. a pencil will help get it in. this will block the water from running up to your fitting while you are soldering and ruining your solder attempt. don't heat the copper up too much and keep that heat moving around the fittings. if you have some scrap copper and a few extra fittings, use them for practice and when you block off the water problem you should be able to get it done. turn the water back on and if your solder is ok the pressure will disapate the bread. go outside to your nearest faucet and turn it on and you will probably see what is left of the bread come out. thanks, buddy builder
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Old 08-07-2009, 09:31 PM   #6
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The only part i disagree with is using lots of flux. You only need a super thin coat on the fitting and on the pipe. too much can create pockets without soldier and make a mess.
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Old 08-09-2009, 04:52 AM   #7
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remove the TEE and with a piece of steel wool wipe the lines with the remaining solder on each line clean the TEE up and reset it all in place take the torch and hit the bottom of the TEE with the flame tip 1-2" away from the bottom there then wipe all the joints with the solder(clean that with a piece of sandpaper before starting)...with the torch flame in that stable location move the solder around to the 3 joints there should be plenty of heat to melt the solder...360 degree wipe around.never have water in the line all the heat from the torch will go towards making steam and pushing out the leaking don'tneed to chase the solder around with the torch keep it stationary...pull it back to drop the heat bring it closer to increase that heat


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