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Are old solder joints permanent?

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  • Are old solder joints permanent?

    This is just out of curiosity.

    Shortly after moving into my house, I set my bathroom on fire trying to separate a solder joint on a toilet valve.

    I put it out with minimal damage and then just cut the damned thing off.

    When all was said and done though, I took the cut off valve out back behind the house and just went to town on it with the torch. The pipe never seperated from the valve.

    Was this a lost cause? Pointless effort? After 20 years, do solder joints just become permanent or something? I have no experience soldering pipes and just figured that with enough heat, the two would come apart. Was I wrong?

    I did learn a few things and when I get around to doing the plumbing in my shower, I'll definitely be using a heat shield of some sort to keep the flame from the flammables. I'll also keep a bucket of water nearby...

  • #2
    too much heat will burn the fitting and it will not come apart. i will add soldering flux to the joint while heating and this will help it come apart. not too much heat. add solder to also help judge the joint. you also have to drain all the water and steam from the joint.

    rick.
    phoebe it is

    Comment


    • #3
      Yeah, I learned that tidbit about letting all the water out after the fact as well. I figured that's why it wouldn't come apart in the first place, so that's why I brought it out back to give it another shot.

      So you're saying it's never permanent then, right? Sounds now like I had too much heat rather than not enough. I would have melted the whole thing into a blob of metal if I could have at that point.

      It makes sense to use some solder. Obviously if I can melt the new solder, I've got enough heat to melt the stuff inside it.

      Thanks PR!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

        Ive always gotten old joints off, but be weary. Old solder can pop back at you if you heat it too fast. Also I once caused another leak in a joint that was nearby, trying to pry the old fitting off. I would rather cut than sweat any day

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

          Originally posted by Born_to_Hula View Post
          Ive always gotten old joints off, but be weary.
          Why would we wanna be weary? are you serious as a human being?
          Last edited by bigPipe09; 01-29-2007, 02:35 AM.
          West Trail Mechanical Ltd
          Service. Commitment. Expertise.

          www.westtrailmechanical.ca

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

            Too much heat will cause the copper fittings and pipe to fuse together. Another thing is to remember not to get any tools too hot or you'll take the tempering out of them and have a junker tool. Hint: Use older junky tools when you have to work with hot stuff.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

              brother your best bet would be to cut the value off. reem the pipe, then clean it with some sand cloth then put some flux on it and burn the joint. oh remember to clean the fitting with a wire brush. dont put to much heat on the fitting or you will burn the flux and it want take. the best way is to heat the pipe a few inchs below the fitting and work the heat up to the fitting and put some solider in the joint. when you see the solider dripping out then the joint is full. and remember to put on a new value.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

                Originally posted by Wild Weasel View Post
                This is just out of curiosity.

                Shortly after moving into my house, I set my bathroom on fire trying to separate a solder joint on a toilet valve.

                I put it out with minimal damage and then just cut the damned thing off.

                When all was said and done though, I took the cut off valve out back behind the house and just went to town on it with the torch. The pipe never seperated from the valve.

                Was this a lost cause? Pointless effort? After 20 years, do solder joints just become permanent or something? I have no experience soldering pipes and just figured that with enough heat, the two would come apart. Was I wrong?

                I did learn a few things and when I get around to doing the plumbing in my shower, I'll definitely be using a heat shield of some sort to keep the flame from the flammables. I'll also keep a bucket of water nearby...
                I'm glad you learned a few things but apparantly you did not learn the thing that you should have. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL! How much did it cost you to repair your burned up bathroom? How close did it come to being the entire house? Was the risk you took worth your life? What would it have cost you to hire a certified plumber? In my state what you did was against the law and all the reason any insurance company would need to refuse to pay you a single dime. You do not know what you are doing and should leave it to those who do, but hey, it's your life and property (at least I hope it's your property).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

                  Yeah, it's my property and the damage was really just a small burned spot on the wall behind the toilet so I have no intention of fixing it.

                  As for how close I came to burning the house down... well probably closer than I would have liked and it was definitely an eye-opener on taking more care before attempting this sort of thing.

                  I enjoy learning new things and trying to do them myself. It's not about saving money. This wasn't something that really needed doing at all. I just wanted to try it.

                  Same goes for the shower. I'm learning as I go and enjoying the process. I'm not in a big hurry to get it done so I'm taking my time to try to do it all correctly.

                  In the end, I may end up spending more money than it would cost to hire someone to do it but at that point I will have learned how to pour and shape concrete, how to solder copper piping, and how to lay tiles. I think there's value in that far beyond some extra cost that's involved.

                  My posting here had to do with my experimenting with the cut off valve after the fact. As I said... I took it in the back yard and burned the hell out of it with the torch trying to separate the two pieces. Thanks to the responses to my post here, I now have a much better understanding of why it didn't come apart.

                  I'm planning to get my hands on some scrap pipe so I can learn to make solder joints before replacing the fixtures in the shower.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Are old solder joints permanent?

                    I agree with weasel on that one...i once tried replacing the fuel pump in my truck sans service manual or direction from a pro...took me probably 3 times as long as the mechanic, but i learned alot and felt a sense of accomplishment when i was done.
                    West Trail Mechanical Ltd
                    Service. Commitment. Expertise.

                    www.westtrailmechanical.ca

                    Comment

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