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JB3 02-19-2011 09:23 AM

sweat vs compression supply valves
I need to replace the valve in our 2nd floor shower. Problem is there are no shut off valves for the hot and cold water supply. I would like to cut the copper pipe and install a ball shut off valves for each line. This will need to be done in the basement, since the pipes run along an outside wall. When I attempted to do this for our 1st floor toilet a year ago, I shut the water main off, opened all the faucets and let the water drain, but no matter how long I waited there was always water dripping. I tried sucking the water out with a shop vac but there was still a small amount of water coming out. I read somewhere you could stick some bread in there and that would stop the small drip long enough to allow you to sweat the valve to the pipe. This didn't work. I finally went to a plumbing supply place and they said to use a compression valve. I read somewhere the compression valves can fail. I wondering is it ok to use a compression valve in this circumstance and if not, does anyone have a way to get all the water out of a line so you can sweat a valve to the pipe?

Thank you for your help

oh'mike 02-19-2011 10:03 AM

There are ways to get the water out of those pipes--unless you have new water coming in through a bad main shut off.

The easiest is to open all faucets /hose bibs and flush the toilets.

Next would be to blow the pipes clean with compressed air--

After that use a bread ball or jelly egg (available in the plumbing isle)

Last and most effective (and very expensive) is a tool called a JET SWET--Jet Swet Offficial Site

This is a tool that is actually a compressable rubber stopper on a shaft---this is inserted into the pipe

A knob is tightened ---the stopper expands and the water stops---slip a full port ball valve over the shaft--sweat on the valve--remove the tool.

Mighty handy to have on the truck when the waterproofing guys hit the water main and the Buffalo box couldn't be found under two feet of snow.---Mike---

Daniel Holzman 02-19-2011 10:07 AM

I have similar issues in my house, in that water tends to drip for a very long time after I shut the water off. Turned out that the source of the water was very slow leakage backwards from one of the toilet tanks back through the inlet valve to the tank. when I drained all the toilet tanks, no more drip, easy solder.

As for the bread, I have used that trick, use plain white bread (Wonder bread) balled up and pushed up into the pipe, it will hold for five minutes or so. Another option is a magnetic freezing coil, costs about $30 or $40, you put it over the pipe upstream of the drip, plug it in, in five minutes the pipe is frozen where you put the coil, you do your solder, unplug, done.

I don't particularly like compression pipe fittings, they do seem to leak more frequently than sweat fittings or threaded fittings, but perhaps there is some special technique for installation that I am missing.

yuri 02-19-2011 10:32 AM

Go to HDepot and buy "SharkBite" shutoff valves. A bit pricey but they are INCREDIBLY easy to work with. Google: SharkBite fittings and read the install info VERY carefully. After you have used them you will never want to go back to solder.:no:

ChrisDIY 02-19-2011 10:53 AM

Another route but more more money but is a 5 minute job is to go to and see if someone rents Propress tools if they sell the fittings. You can use this with water running! Propress ball valves are three times the cost but how much is your time worth?

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ron tredo 08-09-2013 07:34 PM

Hi Dan I found article very interesting about the freezing coil. I wonder if you can tell me were to buy the coil from.I want to freeze my water pipe to change a valve on my water main. Also did you ever use the coil before because I don't want to brake the pipe and flood my basement. I would apperciate any help you can give me.Thanks Ron

Ghostmaker 08-10-2013 02:57 PM


Dry ice will do the same thing.

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