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Old 02-11-2009, 10:24 PM   #1
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Shower controls


OK so I have to replace the old shower controls I have in my condo. The shower is a fiberglass insert and it has the old 3 knob deal for the controls. All the pipes are soldered in but one. So my question is when I go to take out the old to put in the new should I unsolder the pipes or should I just cut them? And if I cut will I be able to make up the difference in the lenght with another fitting? Also what can I use to sheild the tub insert from the heat from the torch?
Thanks for your help Electrician playing Plumber

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Old 02-12-2009, 07:48 AM   #2
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ctsmiths, If it was me I would just cut the pipe, I don't feel comfortable
"unsoldering" pipes to reuse. Just a personal opinion. They make a couple that will slip over the old pipe and allow you to put a new peice of copper pipe in and then solder the couple to both pipes. I would solder the new pipes to the mixing valve and then put in place and solder using the slip couplers.

As for sheilding while soldering they make a little sheil that has some thick foil on one side and some kind offlame resistant material on the other side.

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Old 02-12-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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You need to cut the pipes out. Don't attempt to unsolder them. How good are you at soldering? If you are not good at it, you should call in a professional. I see too many homeowner's try things like that and they end up with leaks that results in damage to their home.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:26 PM   #4
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You need to cut the pipes out. Don't attempt to unsolder them. How good are you at soldering? If you are not good at it, you should call in a professional. I see too many homeowner's try things like that and they end up with leaks that results in damage to their home.
Pretty good, I have done soldering and brazing before. Im not too worried about the skill part. I just havent had any job like this yet. So I should cut and solder in new stubs to couple to the existing pipes correct?
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:56 PM   #5
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It depends on what brand of shower valve it is. I can give you general intructions on a general three handle valve. I remove the inside cartridges first, and set them aside exactly as they came out. Do not solder anything to the shower valve unless the insides are removed, but your probably already know that.

I solder up four male adaptors with enough half inch copper on them to make my inside the wall connections. One with a cap on the end of the copper. The hot and cold side should have a separate female thread with a large nut. Screw in the male adaptors and tighten down good. Make sure you use a sealant on the outside threads of the male adaptors. I use a teflon based sealant like rector seal. Tighten the female nut with your two male adaptors into the hot and cold side of the shower valve.

Thread in the two other adaptors you soldered earlier to the top and bottom (the bottom has the cap on it) with sealant also.

Cut your pipe whether it is in the wall or on the valve to match up. It can be tricky to get the valve level and match up correctly.

Use two half inch couplings with a stop to the hot and cold match ups and one without a stop to connect to the line going to the showerhead.

Before I solder the last three connections, I make a dry run with the cartridges and escution plates to make sure the new valve fits. Sometimes a new valve has to be moved closer to shower wall because it has different dimensions.

Take back out the cartridges and solder the couplings.

If I have left anything out. Plumbers feel free to respond. I am kind of tired so forgive me.
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Old 02-15-2009, 08:20 AM   #6
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Also what can I use to sheild the tub insert from the heat from the torch?
A piece of nomex would work if you know anyone that has some.It is like a fiberglass type weave but is cloth.
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:23 PM   #7
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If you can I would replace the three handle valve with a pressure balancing or thermostatic valve. If you have a problem with having three holes they make covers that fit the new valve that you install. On unsoldering the pipes it is a bad idea..even the seasoned professionals will not do that as it is an invitation to a leak later on as you now have a terrible surface for soldering. They do make some really good materials to put behind your soldering job to protect it from burning. I think you can find them at your local home improvement store. Just remember in putting in shower valves that it is in your wall and not easy to replace so buy a reputable brand that will last (ie moen, delta, kohler). This is one instance that any extra money you spend on the valve will be a good investment!
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Old 02-16-2009, 04:12 PM   #8
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Thanks to all for the help Ill let you know how it turns out this weekend!

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