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I've never had trouble soldering before. This time it was not working right. I'm trying to install shutoff valves for the bathtub supplies so I can move on to demo. Copper line to a brass shutoff.

Could the problem be that water in the pipe is cooling the copper and thus not allowing the solder to creep up and stick like it should?

I'm cleaning and fluxing like I always did.

Moving to Shark Bites instead.

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Moving to Shark Bites instead.

I wouldn't use shark bites in the wall...

One alternative is to sweat on a copper male adapter and then thread on a valve. It can be easier than sweating on a valve.

Another is to use compressed air to blow water out of the lines. Shut off water to the house. Close the water heater valves. Open all faucets and hose bibbs. Use a compressor and a blow gun to shoot bursts of air down each pipe where you want to sweat. You might push it out, you might get a geyser in your face, but you can get the water further away from your work, and then start over with the sweat.

A third is to use compression fittings on the existing pipe, connecting to a short nipple of new pipe + the new valve.

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I can drain the pipe no problem. All I have to do is open the spigot on the laundry room basin in the basement and the lines will drain down. I was already on my way home with the Shark Bites when the water in the line issue dawned on me.

I have Shark Bite shut off valves on there now. They will never be inaccessible. They are right behind the access panel that is in the closet of the room next to the bathroom. I might just stay with them. They've been under 60psi for a couple of hours now and not a drop has leaked.

I'll let you know how things work out.

Now I know that I must drain lines before soldering.

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BTW, I think I overheated the brass ball valves when I was trying to solder with water in the pipe. I went through alot of solder and caught a stud on fire for a second or two. Anyway, the ball valves are pretty loose now. I don't think I can trust them now.

Lesson learned.

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I had similar problem where sweated joints weren't adhering. I tried silvering the copper pipe before sweating pipe to couplings, BUT nothing worked. Turned out to be bad Flux. Once i got new supply of Flux everything worked fine.

Just a thought.

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Why I hate plumbing reason #46. [:)]

Soldering, wire leads to terminals, I can do that all day, every day.

That's been my experience. I can out-solder anyone on electrical/electronics but I can't solder plumbing pipe. One of the great mysteries.

Marc

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I tend to overheat when I try to solder. I blame it on using Silfoss on refrigerant lines which has a much higher melting point and a wider sweat spot. (At least that is my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Once you overheat a solder joint or valve body you're pretty much screwed. It is easier just to cut it off and start over.

As I alluded to earlier, next time you have a water drip or trickle in a pipe with no other way to drain it, (say at a low point of a system) Get some fresh white bread and make a dough ball and pack it in as far ahead of the joint to be soldered as possible. Quickly solder the joint while the bread absorbs the water. The bread will quickly dissolve. Then flush the line.

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BTW, I think I overheated the brass ball valves when I was trying to solder with water in the pipe. I went through alot of solder and caught a stud on fire for a second or two. Anyway, the ball valves are pretty loose now. I don't think I can trust them now.

Lesson learned.

Unless you're really good at it, you need to disassemble brass-body valves before soldering them. If you overheat them, the body casting will distort.

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I had similar problem where sweated joints weren't adhering. I tried silvering the copper pipe before sweating pipe to couplings, BUT nothing worked. Turned out to be bad Flux. Once i got new supply of Flux everything worked fine.

Just a thought.

Flux will go bad if it's heated. Never set a can of flux on a hot radiator, for instance, or it won't work worth a damn afterwards.

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You can "burn" the copper if you apply too much heat. Once burnt, it won't take solder.

Clean, flux, fit, solder. It's extremely simple. There's no trick. If it doesn't work, somebody is doing something wrong, and you start over.

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I restored my faith in soldering. I ditched my previous flux and solder for some other stuff I've had for a long time. The first pic is the stuff I had trouble with. The second is what worked for me.

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I know it aint pretty and I charred some lumber a bit but I didn't burn down the house and there are no leaks. The valve was in a disassembled state when the soldering was done.

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I restored my faith in soldering. I ditched my previous flux and solder for some other stuff I've had for a long time. The first pic is the stuff I had trouble with. The second is what worked for me.

Hah! Of course it worked. The stuff you used is tin/lead solder with a rosin core meant for electrical work. It'll work for your application, but it's not as strong as silver solder and, of course, it's got lead in it - which probably doesn't matter much. It's much easier to work with because it has a much lower melting point.

If you have more soldering to do, try the old flux with the new solder.

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Will do.

Yeah you're right, lead in the solder probably doesn't matter much. In this case it probably doesn't matter at all since it's a shower fixture anyway.

BTW, with my house built in '62 and plumbed in copper, isn't is likely that every soldered joint in the house contains lead?

I heard somewhere that in occupied homes it's a non issue since water is being used on a regular basis, thereby not allowing water to sit stagnant in pipes where lead contaminants could leach onto it. Is this idea accurate?

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Now that you made your way through that ordeal, Take the rock screws out and put some of those brass torx head screws in their place. The coating might help them last longer. It wouldn't be a bad idea to shim the back of that fixture solid where the screws are.

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... 240676.JPG

Gary, there are already two deck screws at diagonal corners. The rock screws were put in to stabilize the valve and prevent movement. It's pretty solid.

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Now that you made your way through that ordeal, Take the rock screws out and put some of those brass torx head screws in their place. The coating might help them last longer. It wouldn't be a bad idea to shim the back of that fixture solid where the screws are.

https://www.inspectorsjournal.com/forum ... 240676.JPG

Gary, there are already two deck screws at diagonal corners. The rock screws were put in to stabilize the valve and prevent movement. It's pretty solid.

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I saw them, John. That's how I knew you had some. Use them.

The rock screws are for rock. They're going to rot. That valve is going to take a lot of abuse over time. Depending on the ends of the screws to hold it in place isn't a risk I'd take if I had a chance to shim it solid while the wall is wide open.

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Good point Gary.

The deck screws I had were not long enough. Maybe I'll screw in a block as a shim then add the additional deck screws into the block. Having said that, the two rock screws are extra, over and above the manufactures intended design. The design only has two intended mounting screws the way I see it. I had to even drill out those extra two tabs because the diameter of the holes were too small for rock screws. Those tabs were not meant for mounting. Additionally, by the time you mount the face on the finished wall and screw it in as intended, that too solidifies the valve mount situation. Even if I just remove the rock screws, the final installation would be solid.

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Will do.

Yeah you're right, lead in the solder probably doesn't matter much. In this case it probably doesn't matter at all since it's a shower fixture anyway.

BTW, with my house built in '62 and plumbed in copper, isn't is likely that every soldered joint in the house contains lead?

Without a doubt.

I heard somewhere that in occupied homes it's a non issue since water is being used on a regular basis, thereby not allowing water to sit stagnant in pipes where lead contaminants could leach onto it. Is this idea accurate?

No. It doesn't take long for lead to leach into the water. Overnight is plenty of time. If it concerns you, just let the water run for a minute or two before drinking it.

However, it's not really the lead joints that are the concern as much as the old brass fixtures & fittings. The have a vastly greater surface area and contribute much more lead to the water.

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For the true believers in lead hazard, supposedly you can absorb more through your skin in a shower than you will drinking the stuff.

Well I'm 57 and I melted several hundred lbs of babbit to make barbell weights in my late teens. Touched them plates thousands of times and I'm still here.

Is that what happened to my hair?

Marc

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Yeah, lead poisoning is mainly a concern with children under 6 and pregnant women since the developing brain is what suffers.

My family and I probably get more lead in our systems by visiting the shooting range several times a year than we get from our house. I'm not concerned with it.

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