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Old 05-15-2017, 03:28 PM   #1
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how do I solder ball valves.


What is the technique for soldering in 1/2 inch ball valves on copper lines?
I attempted to install one yesterday and blew the ball valve in half. I believe I had the valve open as I was told to do.

When I do a normal valve I take the stem out. You can't do that on a ball valve.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:04 PM   #2
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


Besides the ball valve being open it's best if one end of the line is open to atmosphere.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:35 PM   #3
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


Do it fast.


What kind of gas are you using?
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:40 PM   #4
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I actually can't think if I've ever sweated ball valves... I must have... but I normally use compression make-up.

I guess I would keep the valve body in a good tight wet rag, and be darned sure to direct all heat away from the valve body, besides obviously keeping it open.

But I'm interested in any other ideas.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:45 PM   #5
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I prefer to convert them to threaded. If I have to sweat them, I wrap the middle with a wet rag.
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:00 PM   #6
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


Ayuh,.... I just fitted the joint cleaned, 'n fluxed, hit it with heat pointed away at the point needed, run in the solder, 'n wet rag, or douch the valve with water to cool it quickly,...

Since I've gone Pex, adapters are 'bout the only sweatin' I do anymore,...
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Old 05-15-2017, 07:29 PM   #7
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I did one ball valve with electronic solder, which has a lower melting point so as not to melt the innards of the valve so quickly.

It was in a run not close up against elbows and other fittings that would cause the ball valve joints to melt before the other fitting joints were hot enough and leaving room to put rags all around the ball valve before doing the other fittings.
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:01 PM   #8
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


The valve was open at both ends to air. I never expected it blow apart. I thought it might melt inside if too hot.
I was using propane.
If using threaded how do you control the angle the valve handle ends pointing?
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Old 05-15-2017, 08:38 PM   #9
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


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If using threaded how do you control the angle the valve handle ends pointing?

only way I know of is to add extra tape and paste
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:42 PM   #10
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I did one ball valve with electronic solder, which has a lower melting point so as not to melt the innards of the valve so quickly.

It was in a run not close up against elbows and other fittings that would cause the ball valve joints to melt before the other fitting joints were hot enough and leaving room to put rags all around the ball valve before doing the other fittings.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:55 PM   #11
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


Try again. I've sweated any number of ball valve and never had a problem. I use an acetylene torch and have more control over flame.
When you say you blew the valve in half I assume you mean literally blew it in half.
Don't see how you could do that unless both ends of the pipe were sealed and you heated so long the air and water in the pipe turned into steam.

Assuming you are putting the valve in a line to something like a faucet, open the faucet to let the air or steam out.

I would have thought the copper pipe would have burst before the valve. Because of its mass a valve would take a little longer to heat up but shouldn't take more that about a minute on one joint and about 30 seconds on the other. Now if you had water coming in, it would take a lot longer and the water would have turned to steam. Make sure no water flowing in.

Perhaps valve was defective.

Of course there are Sharkbite ball valves.

If push comes to shove you can get a new valve and solder a one foot piece of pipe in each end. Then cut out two foot of pipe and reconnect with couplings. That way your soldering is a foot away from the valve.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:07 PM   #12
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


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Try again. I've sweated any number of ball valve and never had a problem. I use an acetylene torch and have more control over flame.
When you say you blew the valve in half I assume you mean literally blew it in half.
Don't see how you could do that unless both ends of the pipe were sealed and you heated so long the air and water in the pipe turned into steam.

Assuming you are putting the valve in a line to something like a faucet, open the faucet to let the air or steam out.

I would have thought the copper pipe would have burst before the valve. Because of its mass a valve would take a little longer to heat up but shouldn't take more that about a minute on one joint and about 30 seconds on the other. Now if you had water coming in, it would take a lot longer and the water would have turned to steam. Make sure no water flowing in.

Perhaps valve was defective.
I don't get it either. How do you blow a ball valve apart? I have brazed standard 1/2" ball valves- got them so hot the rubber coating on the handle softened
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:25 PM   #13
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I was putting the pipes on the valve before the pipes went into the elbows. It was on a work bench. The end of the valve that was threaded together just popped off. I was soldering the threaded end at the time. The other end went OK.

how do I solder ball valves.-ball-valve-001.jpg
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:51 AM   #14
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


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I was putting the pipes on the valve before the pipes went into the elbows. It was on a work bench. The end of the valve that was threaded together just popped off. I was soldering the threaded end at the time. The other end went OK.

Attachment 381834


It might be a cheap valve. A good one should cost $10 or so.

I think your main problem is that you were using propane. I know it sounds counterintuitive but propane takes too long to heat up the joint. That allows the heat to transfer to where you don't want it. Buy a MAPP cylinder and a new tip. Get the joints really clean and fluxes with non water soluble flux. Start to heat the joint and start touching the solder right away. Do one side at a time and cool it down in between. You'll have to clean and flux the second side after you do the first. The intense heat causes oxidation. I've never damaged a ball valve.

Then use your propane torch to start the grill.... Or tease the dog.
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:05 AM   #15
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Re: how do I solder ball valves.


I think it was just a fluke. Or more likely, if you purchase the valve at a big box store like Home Depot, someone screwed with it and then returned it to the store.
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