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Old 03-21-2013, 11:34 PM   #1
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Soldered Copper - Bad Joint?

I soldered in a coupling to 3/4 copper pipe in order to connect an outdoor hose bib. I cut off a cap on a stub out coming off the main supply to the house then used the coupling to connect to another section of pipe, then to an elbow, another pipe, and finally to the hose bib. The first joint I tried to solder was at the main line stub out to coupling - I cleaned and fluxed the joint and heated for about 30-40 seconds but couldn't get the solder to flow. I tried this a couple more times but still no dice. I saw some steam and/or smoke which made me realize there was still a bit of water dripping out from the lines above since this was the lowest point, so I used the old bread trick to get that to stop. At this point I didn't take the coupling off and just re-heated it a 4th time with my torch. This time the solder flowed nicely and formed a bead around the joint. I then soldered the other 3 joints without any problems.

The joint is holding fine with 50 PSI of city water pressure, but my question is how likely is it that the first joint I had to re-heat 4 times is faulty? If its holding the pressure and looks like the other joints is it likely this joint may fail?


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Old 03-22-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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I would have rechecked the fitting and probably fluxed it again but if the solder was drawn into the fitting then you're probably ok. since you can't see inside it you have to rely on your gut feeling about it.


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Old 03-22-2013, 08:03 AM   #3
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I have noticed that flux has a shelf life. If you used old flux that has been sitting in your toolbox for a few years, the stuff won't work as good. Take a trip to the hardware store and blow #3 on a new cup of the stuff and you should be good!
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Old 03-22-2013, 05:52 PM   #4
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Soldering 101

Sand and flux both fittings and pipe

Make sure what your soldering has no water

Assemble the entire thing

Apply heat to the bottom of the joint on the hub of the fitting
Apply solder to the top at the point where the hub goes to pipe
Once joint is hot enough solder will fill entire joint and drip to floor

Move to next joint
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Old 03-22-2013, 07:14 PM   #5
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I always use the tinning flux when I solder copper, I then follow with wire solder bending the end in a hook so I can run all around the pipe. Only apply flame to the body of the fitting, and do not overheat. The tinning flux will tin off, then the wire solder will be drawn into the bell of the fitting, and you will see a small drop appear at the bottom of the bell. Remove heat then and let the joint cool naturally. Clean with soapy water once cooled.

The pipe and the fitting must be absolutely clean and fluxed right away, and you cannot have any water in the pipe. Steam will leave pinholes.
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Old 03-23-2013, 10:02 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by av-geek View Post
I have noticed that flux has a shelf life. If you used old flux that has been sitting in your toolbox for a few years, the stuff won't work as good. Take a trip to the hardware store and blow #3 on a new cup of the stuff and you should be good!
i just used flux that is well over 10 years old. worked as new.

and i open a faucet to prevent pressure buildup.


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