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Old 11-11-2016, 05:12 PM   #1
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Draining the Hot Water System


This seems trivial but:

I'm trying to drain the hot water pipes so I can sweat in a new connection.

I've shut off the water at the main, I've partially drained the water heater (it is lower than the pipe), I've opened all the faucets (even the ones below the pipe).

What gives? This happened to me once before in a different house. Am I missing something fundamental? Does the hot water condense? I'm at a loss.

Help!
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Old 11-11-2016, 05:16 PM   #2
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


The main may be leaking.
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Old 11-11-2016, 05:43 PM   #3
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


But how would the water get up to this pipe? It's above several open spigots that are not dripping. Plus there are several other stops. But, thanks.
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:01 PM   #4
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


Don't forget outside faucets. Sometimes a main valve does not turn off completely.
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:54 PM   #5
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


When you open both the hot and the cold the water can flow between the two sets of pipes.
Sometimes you just need to wait for the water to drain. Make sure all the hot faucets are open, including any below the pipe you want to solder.
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Old 11-11-2016, 07:55 PM   #6
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


Agree with other posters.

Likely a bad gate valve somewhere not closing all the way keeping enough water in the line.

Another option is to use sharkbyte fittings.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:16 PM   #7
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


Last time I used Sharkbite because I was in a hurry to get the job done but the trickle of drops would allow the fitting to get hot enough.

This time I just kept waiting and eventually the dripping became slow enough that the heat from the torch could evaporate the water and still get the joint hot enough for the solder to set.

All is good. Thanks for the input and ideas Good to know that I wasn't missing some plumber magic to get it to stop. Somewhere there much have been a pool of water in a fairly level spot that just kept draining veeeerrrryyyy sloooooly.
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Old 11-11-2016, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


Glad you got it all figured out and everything is working correctly kb. Yea, sometimes just having patience is the key. Thanks for the update.
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:42 PM   #9
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


For future reference, If SB fittings won't work for whatever reason, sometimes stuffed bread can slow the tickle enough to weld. (I've never used that on smaller then 1" pipe, but I'm sure it'll work.)

Cheers!
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:52 PM   #10
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


Another trick that works if the drip is small enough is to take your torch and heat the pipe about foot away from the joint. The water will evaporate before it hits the joint.
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Old 11-11-2016, 09:53 PM   #11
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Re: Draining the Hot Water System


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Originally Posted by joed View Post
Another trick that works if the drip is small enough is to take your torch and heat the pipe about foot away from the joint. The water will evaporate before it hits the joint.
I've done that on small pipe. But it's only effective on small drips, or a buddy torch

Cheers!
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