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Old 07-27-2008, 09:09 PM   #1
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nicked copper pipe

I was cutting some wallboard out with my recip. saw and hit a 1/2 in. copper pipe. (no,it doesn't leak) my question is, just how deep does a nick in copper tube have to be before you should do something like cut out the nicked part and put in a coupling? I ask because copper tube doesn't seem to be all that thick. (like galv. pipe which is heftier'n a female Russian weightlifter)



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Old 07-27-2008, 10:29 PM   #2
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In all liklihood, you have nothing to worry about. If the pipe isn't leaking now, it prolly won't leak for a gazillion years. Where I live, it was common practice for plumbers to use a round file to file out the ID of dimpled couplings so that they could be used as slip couplings. So, there are thousands of couplings in Winnipeg, Manitoba that have a very thin wall thickness in one small spot, but yet none of those couplings leak. So, chances are your nick will never leak either.

However, if you'd feel better fixing it now, here are two ways to do that:

If you can drain that pipe, I'd apply some strong hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid, maybe) to the outside of the pipe where the nick is, clean that acid off with water, then apply any alcohol (cuz water is soluble in alcohols) and wipe the alcohol up with a paper towel (thereby removing any residual water).

Immediately apply a soldering flux to the bare copper metal, heat the pipe and apply a dab of solder over that nick.

That'll last till the cows come home.

Alternatively, you could drain the line, sand the pipe OD at the nick and the ID of a copper slip coupling, cut the pipe at the nick and solder the slip coupling in place over that nick.

In some areas you can't buy true slip couplings. A true slip coupling will not have any dimple on it. If you can only buy couplings with dimples DO NOT use a file to remove copper from the ID of the coupling where the dimple is. This severely weakens the coupling at that spot. Instead, slip the coupling over a pipe of a smaller ID and hammer on the coupling to remove the dimple from it. That way, you still have the full wall thickness of copper where the dimple was. THEN, and only then, use the coupling as a slip coupling.


Last edited by Nestor_Kelebay; 07-27-2008 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:38 PM   #3
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Or if for some reason they don't sell slip couplings just order them... You would have to have a real hardass of an inspector to check your couplings for a dimple.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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I would fix it right, with a coupling. You are right, most copper isn't very thick. The Home Depot or Lowe's stores in my area sell slip couplings. If you can solder, this will be a simple repair.

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