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  • Help! Bread in water line?

    Hi,

    I'm learning as I go. I got advice from reading and from the hardware store guy to put bread in a pipe that's dripping water when you're gonna solder.

    I hired someone to fix the hot water pipe at the manifold in the wall. The line that goes to the closest bathroom works fine. The line that tees out to the farther bathroom has no pressure.

    The guy I hired had never used bread in the line before and the pipe sure was dripping. So, he suspects that the bread is causing the lack of pressure.

    There's a mixet valve in the tub/shower and a Glacier Bay low-end two-handled faucet at the lavatory.

    How can I resolve this? Do I need to undo the pipe where the repair was made? Can I turn on the lavatory faucet in the bathroom next to the repair, hook a hose to the one with no pressure and backflush it? Or...????
    Any help would be appreciated.
    If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

  • #2
    Re: Help! Bread in water line?

    The idea with the bread is to use just enough to soak up the drip while you quickly solder. If you stuffed the line you are boned, the bread will act like a plug and never dissolve. You may be able to dislodge it with air pressure if you depressurize the line before the bread so the air can make a hole. Even a trickle of water will dissolve the bread. Make sure you get the bread out of the line before it goes to either faucet or you will be pulling them apart to get the bread out.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help! Bread in water line?

      Thanks for the reply. I asked the guy who did the repair and he said he pushed it in hard. Dang.

      I am getting a very slow flow of water, but the gas is shut off in this vacant apartment. So, I'm hoping that when the water's hot it will help.

      I just installed new faucets and new mixet cartridges. I replaced the shutoff valve for the sink to see if maybe some solder or pipe shavings were causing the problem. No change.

      If the bread makes it to the faucet no prob. But I hope it doesn't jam up the mixet valve.
      I wonder if it would help to leave the farthest faucet running a little for several hours. Do you think it might help?

      My next project: learn to solder. LOL
      I'm a 60 year old grandma learning all this stuff by myself - on the job.

      Thanks again.
      Last edited by OnTheJob; 01-28-2007, 07:18 PM.
      If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help! Bread in water line?

        First of all, they should use white bread only, no crust. This will disolve.

        You might check the areators at the end of the faucets to see if they are plugged with the bread. If not, you may have to turn off the water supply to the house and take off the stops under the sink and/or remove the cartridges from the faucets and flush the line. This will allow full pressure through the system. Areators are the first choice and easiest.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Help! Bread in water line?

          P.S....

          Remember, the supply to the faucet and most likely the toilet and shower valves are 3/8". Your supply that he fixed was probably 1/2" or larger. It may take a day or two to disolve the bread with a small flow of water.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help! Bread in water line?

            Thanks for the replies.

            I removed the supply line to the faucet and saw that the blockage was deeper. So, I removed the shutoff valve, and still, the blockage was deeper.

            I removed the mixet cartridge and replaced it with a new one.

            Not much change.

            Now, I'm letting the water run in both the tub and lavatory to see if the steady flow of water will help. The water's coming out, but slowly. I keep checking to see if the flow speeds up.

            Earlier, I had run a garden hose from an outside bib attached to a different water main to the lavatory faucet on the bad line. I then disconnected the outlet flex pipe from the water heater and connected another garden hose to that, and set it to drain into the backyard. Then, I backflushed the line.
            No luck.

            BTW: he used only the white part of the bread. I asked. Also, very first thing I had checked were aerators.

            And, thanks for the heads-up on how long it might take to clear up.

            Next time, I'm gonna know how to do the soldering myself, and I'm gonna use those expensive gelatin balls they sell just for that purpose. LOL
            If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help! Bread in water line?

              I really hate to ask this, but I'm stuck.

              Seems that even after letting the water run for over 24 hours, there's no change in the flow.

              Is there a way to clean out copper pipe that runs below the slab without damaging the pipe?

              I'm practicing my soldering technique and won't rely on anyone else anymore.

              Geez this is frustrating.

              All this trouble because of one simple solder job. That's all I asked the guy to do - solder one spot on one pipe. But he cut another pipe to get it out of his way and... Kaboom!!

              Sorry to be asking for so much help.

              Thanks in advance.
              If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                How about using a shop vac to try and suck it out?
                You'll need to open the line somewhere behind the blockage (the far side of the blockage point from the shop vac) to allow air in, might just require opening a faucet if one is strategically located.

                BTW, a shop vac can sometimes be used to help remove standing water from a line before soldering, depends on the layout of the piping.
                ---------------
                Light is faster than sound. That's why some people seem really bright until you hear them speak.
                ---------------
                “If I had my life to live over again, I'd be a plumber.” - Albert Einstein
                ---------
                "Its a table saw.... Do you know where your fingers are?"
                ---------
                sigpic http://www.helmetstohardhats.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                  I think there is something else going on besides bread in the line. If you have a trickle of water it would dissolve the bread. What was the original repair to fix?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                    Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                    How about using a shop vac to try and suck it out?
                    You'll need to open the line somewhere behind the blockage (the far side of the blockage point from the shop vac) to allow air in, might just require opening a faucet if one is strategically located.

                    BTW, a shop vac can sometimes be used to help remove standing water from a line before soldering, depends on the layout of the piping.
                    We used the shop vac. However, it was when we were backflushing from the far faucet to the water heater outlet pipe. The guy used the vac to try to get the water to flow thru. It didn't. He had also used compressed air before that. No luck.

                    Originally posted by wbrooks View Post
                    I think there is something else going on besides bread in the line. If you have a trickle of water it would dissolve the bread. What was the original repair to fix?
                    The original repair was this: I pulled out a tub and surround. All went well, but there was a flood in the depression where the drain assembly is. I called a plumber who identified the problem as a leak from the hot water line below the slab. She recommended rerouting the pipe behind the wall to the adjoining room and abandoning the old pipe beneath the slab. I did that repair. All went well except for one stinkin' fitting wouldn't stop leaking. I didn't solder. I had used a product called 'Just for Copper'. Worked fine for me on other repairs. But, not this pipe.

                    The pipe I was repairing was manifolded behind the lavatory. The pipe I'm having problems with now was next to the repaired one. It runs to the far bathroom. It didn't need to be touched.

                    Since I didn't know how to solder, I got someone who does and he cut the pipe that was fine and redid the manifold.

                    He didn't know about using bread in the line to help solder a leaky pipe. I was told this from the guy at the friendly h/w store.

                    Since my repair guy also cut the drywall more to get at the repair, I have a sneaking feeling that he rolled the bread up real tight with hands that had drywall dust on them.

                    All I know is that I'm in deep trouble. Can't let new tenants move in and it's costing a bundle.

                    I shoulda got soldering lessons before calling on someone else. Geez. I'm too old to learn all this stuff.

                    Thanks a lot for your help. I sure do appreciate the dialogue and suggestions.
                    If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                      Hi OnTheJob!! I can't really add anything to help you...I was reading through this (lurking in the plumbing area) and couldn't help but feel for you. I had gone through this kind of thing in my younger years, fortunately. I was too poor to afford a plumber, and had an older house, so I had to learn to solder. It's not really all that hard, but it is kind of intimidating with fire near wood and all!!

                      I found that the best thing was to shut off the water as near as I could to the piece I needed to remove, then run that faucet until it quit running water. At that point, I could cut the line and remove the offending section. A rag was all that I usually needed to dry it up enough to solder the new connection. The tricky thing is using the right amount of flux. It's hard to say exactly how much is enough, but you just need to get a slick coating on one piece. Make sure you run clean the mating pieces with a little bit of synthetic steel wool (the green things you'd use on your teflon pans, for instance) before you put the flux on. This helps to clean the connections and makes for a stronger solder joint. Then heat the connection on the bottom or one side. As it heats up, put the solder on and see if it starts to flow. If it does, then just let it zip around the piece. It should wick around the connection due to the flux. If not, just hit it a couple times in other areas. Keep the heat on just enough to not let the pipe cool down. A nice blue flame from the torch is all you need. Keep it as steady as you can. Then when you're done, let it cool. If you have to do another solder joint near the first, use a wet rag wrapped around the piece inbetween the new joint and the one previously soldered. This will act as a heat sync and help keep the first joint from undoing itself. It's also a real good idea to have a wet rag around no matter what. If you happen to light a stud on fire, it'll come in handy (experience is a good teacher...)!!

                      I hope I haven't offended the truly plumber-knowlegable here. I feel your pain, OnTheJob. I certainly hope that goofy pipe can be fixed quick!! Don't let soldering get ya in a bind. I'm sure you can take care of the problem!
                      I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                        Good soldering takes practice. Now for my important 2 cents worth.

                        1. Wear a face shield. Hot solder can spatter and all you need it to have some fly into your face or worse yet your eyes.

                        2. Keep a small ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher within easy reach and also a pail of water and some rags.

                        3. Clean all parts to be joined together. Inside and out Clean joints have a much better chance of soldering well than any that aren't nice and shiny cleaned up.

                        4. If tired, have had too many beers, are angry or in any other manor not clear minded, please don't try soldering. Go rest

                        5. Try soldering some odd pieces of copper pipe and fittings. Practice on them out in the open where it's easy to work and you're less likely to set fires. I hope the serious plumbers can give ideas on what paste flux is good and what's bad.

                        In my old house most of the soldering was done with a 50/50 lead-tin solder and older acid flux. Today that's not allowed.
                        Last edited by Woussko; 01-30-2007, 03:00 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                          Originally posted by VASandy View Post
                          Hi OnTheJob!! I can't really add anything to help you...I was reading through this (lurking in the plumbing area) and couldn't help but feel for you. I had gone through this kind of thing in my younger years, fortunately. I was too poor to afford a plumber, and had an older house, so I had to learn to solder. It's not really all that hard, but it is kind of intimidating with fire near wood and all!!

                          I found that the best thing was to shut off the water as near as I could to the piece I needed to remove, then run that faucet until it quit running water. At that point, I could cut the line and remove the offending section. A rag was all that I usually needed to dry it up enough to solder the new connection. The tricky thing is using the right amount of flux. It's hard to say exactly how much is enough, but you just need to get a slick coating on one piece. Make sure you run clean the mating pieces with a little bit of synthetic steel wool (the green things you'd use on your teflon pans, for instance) before you put the flux on. This helps to clean the connections and makes for a stronger solder joint. Then heat the connection on the bottom or one side. As it heats up, put the solder on and see if it starts to flow. If it does, then just let it zip around the piece. It should wick around the connection due to the flux. If not, just hit it a couple times in other areas. Keep the heat on just enough to not let the pipe cool down. A nice blue flame from the torch is all you need. Keep it as steady as you can. Then when you're done, let it cool. If you have to do another solder joint near the first, use a wet rag wrapped around the piece inbetween the new joint and the one previously soldered. This will act as a heat sync and help keep the first joint from undoing itself. It's also a real good idea to have a wet rag around no matter what. If you happen to light a stud on fire, it'll come in handy (experience is a good teacher...)!!

                          I hope I haven't offended the truly plumber-knowlegable here. I feel your pain, OnTheJob. I certainly hope that goofy pipe can be fixed quick!! Don't let soldering get ya in a bind. I'm sure you can take care of the problem!
                          va, you didn't offend me but your advise is close, but no cigar. you need to properly clean and flux both the fitting and tubing. also with the new water soulable flux we have to use now it's alot more critical for the proper heat and to totally eliminate all water and moisture from and near the joint. sure 1/2'' and 3/4'' is pretty simple and solder will flow easy without proper torch placement. try that on larger tubing and you'll be hurting

                          otherwise you gave pretty accurate info

                          rick.

                          be careful, i can hear paws coming to take a bite
                          phoebe it is

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                            LOL!!! OK...guess I dated myself there. I've never used the water-soluable fluxes or newer types of solder. I'm assuming they take higher heat, too. In that case a good fire extinguisher is definately a good thing to have!!

                            Thanks for the corrections, Rick. Here's to hoping OnTheJob get the JobDone!! *clink* << soda in a glass.
                            I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Help! Bread in water line?

                              Hey, thanks a whole bunch for all the good advice!!

                              I feel better about trying to acquire this new skill.

                              Just to be fair to everyone, thought I'd tell you that I caved in and called a plumber.

                              I'll let you know what they find.

                              Thanks again.
                              If it ain't broke, I haven't seen it.

                              Comment

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