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Old 02-01-2010, 07:49 AM   #1
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Sweating With Water In Line


I've read that sweating pipes with water in them is an impossible task and in my experience I've found this to be pretty much true, at least if there is much more than a trickle of water in them. I've also found it near impossible to sweat a leaking joint if the water wasn't drained first. However, I saw a guy the other day fixing a leaking joint that without turning the water off or draining the pipe. Could he have gotten lucky? He certainly acted as though it was no big deal.

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:25 AM   #2
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Sweating With Water In Line


There is no way he soldered a joint without turning the water off. Water that is just laying in the pipe turns to steam when heated, and the steam blows the solder out of the joint. I have seen a device that freezes the line and a section can be isolated. Not cheap though.

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Old 02-01-2010, 10:23 AM   #3
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Sweating With Water In Line


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There is no way he soldered a joint without turning the water off. Water that is just laying in the pipe turns to steam when heated, and the steam blows the solder out of the joint. I have seen a device that freezes the line and a section can be isolated. Not cheap though.
I'm here to tell ya he did it. I was there. Couldn't believe it myself.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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Sweating With Water In Line


I have had success with holding back the standing water in the line by stuffing ordinary bread into the pipe, push it far enough back from the heat from the area being soldered, and I also wrapped a wet rag around the ouside to keep the bread from burning, which would harden & allow water to pass by. After the joint is finished, open the nearest spigot or faucet without a strainer in its tip, to allow the soggy bread to blow out when water pressure is turned back on.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #5
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Sweating With Water In Line


I agree that bread works with the water supply off, but not with it on.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:58 PM   #6
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Sweating With Water In Line


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I have had success with holding back the standing water in the line by stuffing ordinary bread into the pipe, push it far enough back from the heat from the area being soldered, and I also wrapped a wet rag around the ouside to keep the bread from burning, which would harden & allow water to pass by. After the joint is finished, open the nearest spigot or faucet without a strainer in its tip, to allow the soggy bread to blow out when water pressure is turned back on.
I use that trick regularly. Works great... unless you have an overly leaky valve upstream, which seems to almost always be my luck.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:24 PM   #7
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Sweating With Water In Line


One of the times I used the old bread trick was years ago, my brother and I weren installing new kitchen cabinets in a group facility for misbehaving kids in Cleveland. We had to get the job finished in one day and get out before it got dark. The last thing I had to do was solder a couple of supply lines for the sink hookup. The water main was old and wouldn't shut all the way off. I asked a little boy for a piece of bread. He looked at me with that 'little rascals' look and said," What's the matter mister, you hungry?" My brother and I still laugh about it. When I showed him what I wanted the bread for, he was pretty amazed.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #8
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Sweating With Water In Line


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Originally Posted by BOUTYM View Post
I've read that sweating pipes with water in them is an impossible task and in my experience I've found this to be pretty much true, at least if there is much more than a trickle of water in them. I've also found it near impossible to sweat a leaking joint if the water wasn't drained first. However, I saw a guy the other day fixing a leaking joint that without turning the water off or draining the pipe. Could he have gotten lucky? He certainly acted as though it was no big deal.
I tried it myself (had no choice. The local shutoff valve was defective and shutting off the main would have been too much of a hassle for all other tenants.) I was ALMOST successful (which doesn't count.) Try as I might. Bringing the water to a trickle. It didn't work.!
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:40 PM   #9
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Sweating With Water In Line


Should've asked him how he was doing it....In my experience what you're describing is absolutely impossible. Can't be done.
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Old 02-02-2010, 06:03 AM   #10
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Should've asked him how he was doing it....In my experience what you're describing is absolutely impossible. Can't be done.
If I run into him again I will, but as impossible as I've known it to be he certainly did it. Now, this is not to say he could do this with a badly leaking or new joint, but this leak had a seep and there was full water pressure on it.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:59 PM   #11
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Bouty,
Another way I have had good luck with is to shut off the main. Open up faucets above and below to drain the lines. If the water is not fully shutting off, you will see it continue to slowly rise in your pipe. I get everything ready, sanded, fluxed, etc., then take my shop vac and stick the hose over the pipe and seal it with my hand. It will suck the water right out of the pipes pretty quick. I solder my joints before the water has a chance to get back up to where I am. I have also tried the jellybeans they sell at the supply houses and box stores. I haven't had too much luck with them.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:16 AM   #12
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Sweating With Water In Line


When all else fails, cut in a compression valve.
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:04 AM   #13
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Bouty,
Another way I have had good luck with is to shut off the main. Open up faucets above and below to drain the lines. If the water is not fully shutting off, you will see it continue to slowly rise in your pipe. I get everything ready, sanded, fluxed, etc., then take my shop vac and stick the hose over the pipe and seal it with my hand. It will suck the water right out of the pipes pretty quick. I solder my joints before the water has a chance to get back up to where I am. I have also tried the jellybeans they sell at the supply houses and box stores. I haven't had too much luck with them.
Mike Hawkins
The shop vac idea never occurred to me. That's one to remember! Thanks.
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Old 02-03-2010, 08:33 PM   #14
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Sweating With Water In Line


This tool works in certain circumstances.

http://www.plumbingsupply.com/waters...soldering.html

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