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Checking Soldered Joints

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  • #16
    "The water soluble flux is required here as well. Unfortunately many inspectors turn a blind eye towards the use of the "old good stuff"."

    UN-fortunately?? I would say that's quite fortunate actually. Some inspectors are turning a "blind eye" to it here too, and for, in my opinion, good reason.

    As Bob D. astutely observed, to date I do not believe there is ANY hard evidence linking fluxes such s No-Korode to medical ailments. I can see it happening if a plumber just gobbed the stuff on his joints with a putty knife and then did'nt flush the system out at all before putting in service, but that's bad technique/work anyway. I know that most of the flux I apply burns off while sweating, and I always flush systems out well before giving actual service. I regard the new water-solubale rules as a knee jerk reaction by government to what could THEORETICALLY be viewed as a "problem". Until someone can actually show me verifiable and undeniable proof that very small amounts of No-Korode residues can cause such alarmist consequences I don't buy it.

    On most residential repair jobs and boiler (hydronic) jobs with larger diameter lines (over 1") here guys still use No-Korode religiously. It's embarrassing to have spent years sweating pipe without leaks to suddenly looking like a schmuck who can't solder a joint using this new water soluable garbage. Just my opinion.

    And thanks also for that link Bob D., very handy.

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    • #17
      AZPlumber,

      The use of standard flux is acceptable on hydronic lines here. The potable water supply is protected from the boiler lines by either an RPZ or a double check device(depending on several circumstances on which is used) both are required to be tested and certified once a year for proper working tolerances.

      I can see where water standing in seldom used lines could be contaminated with excess flux, though simply letting ones water run for a minute or so would flush out any "bad" water. Look at how much flux is on your wiping rag at the end of an hours worth of work. The same amount of flux can also run along the inside of the pipe as well and that does not get wiped off, which was the reason for the water soluble flux.

      While everyone agrees the standard NoKorode was the gold standard for soldering pastes, the water soluble can work for new construction if we alter our methods just a little.

      We are going to be running about a thousand feet of three inch K this week. (L if the change is approved) We will not be able to fit more than a few joints at a time with the new flux or there will be leaks. In years past I could put three guys cutting and fitting and let one guy follow up with the torch. With the new flux it is two guys cutting and fitting and one with a torch. A bit more down time and slower production.

      I am mixed about the new flux, I would certainly not just rinse out a flux jar and then use it for a water cup. By the same token I have no qualms about running the water through my copper pipes for a few moments and then drinking it.
      Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

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      • #18
        Hi Plumber, and thanks for your response.

        What I meant by hydronic systems, was here we are installing many new boiler/water heater replacement jobs with new Burnhams with Amtrol type hot water makers side by side (if the customer wants a new boiler but also has an old cruddy looking water heater we try and sell them the combo, nice system and no worries afterwards)...anyway all the copper on these systems including the lines going into and out of the "Amtrol" and servicing the structure otherwise until they reduce down to various fixtures are sweat with No-Korode if they are larger than 3/4", as the water soluable has shown to be difficult to work with on lines larger than that. Anyway, it's fine, as long as it's not new construction, in which case they insist on using water soluable though many inspectors locally don't seem to care or check that anymore.

        Your point about it being difficult to prepare your joints first and then torching later is an excellent one and yet another problem with the water soluable garbage. I have found that if the joint is'nt soldered within about 5 to 10 minutes after applying it, it will start to actually turn green on the pipe and it won't allow an easily soldered joint with good solder flow. If it's necessary to wait longer, it seems it's good policy to re-flux the joint which as you said is time consuming and labor-intensive. The stuff is just bad news all around IMO. The chemical companies need to devise a better product if we are to be forced to use the junk. And in cold weather, I just refuse to use anything other than No-Korode's Cold Weather flux, it's the only thing that really works and applies easily in my experience when working in extreme cold.

        Surely, if the regular flux is so harmful, all us who have been sweating copper with it and smelling the fumes and getting it on our hands etc etc etc for YEARS should all be dead or close to it right about now. I don't know about you, but I still feel pretty healthy, and so do some 80 year old retaired plumbers I know who have used the stuff since before I even knew what solder was. But I digress I suppose.

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        • #19
          One of the big problems with the old flux was guys would not flush the lines properly. I've taken pipe samples out of ten year old buildings which still had globs of flux inside of them.

          Mark
          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

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          • #20
            I'm with Mark on this. We are our own worse enemy with regard to flux. I think that if everyone was more careful about how much flux they used and to clean up (flush lines until clean) we might not be having to use water-soluble flux now.

            Excess heat and flux is not a substitute for skill and proper use of tools or materials.

            A monkey can be taught to gob on the flux and heat the joint until the solder melts, and he would have as much of a chance at a leak-proof joint as some of todays so-called 'mechanics'.

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            • #21
              I don't even understand how some guys CAN gob flux on joints and still decently sweat it. Extreme excess flux on lines tends to burn and contaminate the joint with related burn-off by-products. But too little flux, especially in cold weather conditions, poses it's own problems.

              Far as flux remaining within in-service lines after 10 years, that's incredible. I can't even imagine how that's possible without literally gobbing the stuff by the pound on joints. Not saying it's impossible, but one would think after 10 years worth of usage it would have flushed out by now.

              I've found that when using easy-melt solders such as Sterling's "Taramet" or ones like Dutch Boy's 95-5 tends to work better with water soluable flux. The harder solders to flow, like Bridg-It, are more difficult to make work with that flux since it seems to tend to burn off easier. Rather much like substituting propane gas for MAPP when sweating hydronic baseboard lines since those lines tend to be much thinner than regular Type L and the MAPP burns too hot for such work.

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              • #22
                You guys hit it on the head regarding the guys who pile on the flux. I've watched plumbers with 25 and 30 years experience globbing on the stuff like they were buttering bread. The thing about some of the old timers is their heads are harder than bricks when comes to listening to suggestions. Bob D. is absolutely correct when he said some plumbers are their own worst enemy.

                However there really does not need to be alot of flux inside a fitting for the flux to stay for a long time. If the piping system is over sized then there is simply not enough volume to properly flush the line no matter how long you let it run or it stays in service.

                Also the Contractors and Generals often push for production and partial completions in such a manner that prevent crews from performing full flow flushing for any period of time. More than once I've heard the statement "I don't care" from a contractor when told about the need to flush or decontaminate a line. Of course when something happens the first thing out of their mouths is "I don't know why they didn't flush the lines."

                I've also seen contractors send out filthy pipe for use on a potable water system that I wouldnt let a dog drink out of. I refuse to install it, unfortunatly in todays world there are a lot of hungry plumbers who will wipe off the outside of the pipe and hang it just to get a paycheck.
                Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.

                Comment


                • #23
                  "Also the Contractors and Generals often push for production and partial completions in such a manner that prevent crews from performing full flow flushing for any period of time. More than once I've heard the statement "I don't care" from a contractor when told about the need to flush or decontaminate a line. Of course when something happens the first thing out of their mouths is "I don't know why they didn't flush the lines."

                  I've also seen contractors send out filthy pipe for use on a potable water system that I wouldnt let a dog drink out of. I refuse to install it, unfortunatly in todays world there are a lot of hungry plumbers who will wipe off the outside of the pipe and hang it just to get a paycheck."


                  Excellent post and you, sir, also hit the nail right on it's head.

                  The problem really lies with contractors and plumbing firms who, as you astutely pointed out, push push and push their guys to produce, they'll even be proud to call themselves a "fast paced shop" and will keep pushing their guys to get done so that the inspector can do his worthless little thing and pass it all and they can get their loot and move on to the next sucker. I lay most of the blame where it belongs...with greedy, hurry hurry contractors who don't train their guys, push them to the point of doing unsafe and unacceptable work standards, and don't give them enough time to properly finish jobs, such as flushing lines thoroughly. It's good to see that someone else actually recognizes that such practices go on in the less than savory contracting businesses.

                  They'll typically come in, give a low-ball bid on a job just so they can get it and push out competition, then pass on all the stress of getting it done under the bid's deadline onto the employee plumber, who, trying to please his boss and make another paycheck to support his family, will just start slapping things together without care to get out of there. While I applaud any plumber who might stand up against such practices, I can't blame anybody either, in this time of year, for doing what it takes to hold onto a job when they have a family to support, so I lay most blame on contractors, especially the non-union shops, though unions are going the way of the owners these days as well.

                  I've seen not only dirty potable water lines get hung as you describe, but just about everything else including gas lines too.

                  In today's business environment and construction fields, quality is not of paramount importance anymore when they are throwing up entire homes and office buildings in less than a week. Production is, and that's why we are getting burdened down with so many ridiculous codes such as the water soluable garbage....it's impossible to monitor every fly by nite plumbing outfit out there, and everybody from customers to the contractor himself are only worried about the bottom line, so we need Big Gummint to step in and treat us all like children and force us to do things the safe way.

                  [ 11-09-2005, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: AZPlumber ]

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                  • #24
                    Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                    How do you test these hydronic lines when attached to the boiler? I can't seem to find a "test gauge" locally anywhere, but told instead to build my own.

                    Any tips to check for leaks?

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                    • #25
                      Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                      Don't you guys do a 200 PSI leak test? Pump up your water system to 200 PSI to see if it holds? (if it holds 200 PSI - there is no reason it should leak later). This is required up where I live by inspectors to pass a water line rough in.

                      Also - what is so bad about the new, lesser acidic, water based fluxes? If you clean the ends of your pipe with sand/emory cloth, clean the fittings, and add a reasonable bit of flux to the inside of the fitting and the male end of the pipe and you have a basic understanding of how to solder, you shouldn't see leaks period. The flux I use is made by Kesters usually.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                        Man, you guys brought this one back from the dead huh?

                        200 PSI Leak test on a residential boiler? Please let me know before you start OK. I want to be sure I am not inside when this occurs. I am not sure about the newer boilers but I never tested a cast iron boiler to 200 PSI.

                        Of course we didn't have all the choices available 105 years ago (I started 5 years before the Dog) when I was an apprentice , it was CI or nothing. Coal was cheap and the boilers were about 25% efficient too.
                        Last edited by Bob D.; 02-21-2007, 09:31 PM.
                        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006

                        https://www.youtube.com/user/PowerToolInstitute

                        ----

                        1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error

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                        • #27
                          Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                          Originally posted by Scott K View Post
                          (if it holds 200 PSI - there is no reason it should leak later). This is required up where I live by inspectors to pass a water line rough in.
                          NPC 3.7.2 1b

                          withstand for at least 2hr without a drop in pressure an air pressure that is not less than 700kPa (100psi)

                          This clause applies to potable water piping, but it is the same for non potable water piping aswell. I wouldn't put 200psi on a boiler either. I've never had an inspector ask me to air test a boiler,thats ridiculous, and I doubt its required. The only piping we air test is inslab radiant panel, everything else is hydro tested.
                          Last edited by Hondahead; 02-21-2007, 09:56 PM.
                          You will never expand your mind, if you do not challenge your beliefs.

                          By the reading of this post, you acknowledge and agree that the poster shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any content contained herein.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                            [quote=Scott K;69444]Don't you guys do a 200 PSI leak test? Pump up your water system to 200 PSI to see if it holds? (if it holds 200 PSI - there is no reason it should leak later). This is required up where I live by inspectors to pass a water line rough in.

                            Also - what is so bad about the new, lesser acidic, water based fluxes? If you clean the ends of your pipe with sand/emory cloth, clean the fittings, and add a reasonable bit of flux to the inside of the fitting and the male end of the pipe and you have a basic understanding of how to solder, you shouldn't see leaks period. The flux I use is made by Kesters usually.[/quote]


                            well compared to "nokorode" it's night and day.

                            the water soluable fluxes suck try using them doing any repair work that still has moisture

                            they will not allow you to solder the next day either.

                            lead free solder, ok

                            acid free/ water soluable flux

                            my understanding is that when the fire sprinkler fitters started to use copper for their systems, the lack of flushing and lack of proper soldering skills, caused the flux remaining in the system to eat away at the sprinkler head orfices. this caused leakage and hence the code changes

                            the only half way decent flux that i use is "everflux" but it still sucks on any wet piping.

                            now i use propress for the tricky stuff.

                            rick.
                            phoebe it is

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                            • #29
                              Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                              Originally posted by Hondahead View Post
                              NPC 3.7.2 1b

                              withstand for at least 2hr without a drop in pressure an air pressure that is not less than 700kPa (100psi)

                              This clause applies to potable water piping, but it is the same for non potable water piping aswell. I wouldn't put 200psi on a boiler either. I've never had an inspector ask me to air test a boiler,thats ridiculous, and I doubt its required. The only piping we air test is inslab radiant panel, everything else is hydro tested.
                              I understand the code clause very well, I just wrote my Plumbing Inter Provincial Red Seal exam last Friday. I have the new 2005 Canadian National Code on me right now. But in BC, despite the code clause (also remember the Canadian code is different in a few aspects when compared to each provinces amended codes however our code does not have different potable water pipe testing methods with respect to the code clause you cited), it is an unwritten rule in the Lower Mainland (read: Vancouver and suburbs) that you either a water pipe test where you pump up the water pipe to 200 PSI for the inspector to pass (with water), or an air test in freezing conditions to 100 PSI. Either is acceptable. The bottom line is if it holds 200 PSI of water, it shouldn't have any leaks at operating pressure which is typically 50-55 PSI after the PRV in most homes.

                              As for a boilers -we wouldn't pump up a boiler system to 200 PSI, just like we wouldn't pump up the pipe between the shower head/spout and the diverter -that just gets line/operating pressure and then we close the integrals and pump up the rest of the system.

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                              • #30
                                Re: Checking Soldered Joints

                                Originally posted by Bob D. View Post
                                Man, you guys brought this one back from the dead huh?

                                200 PSI Leak test on a residential boiler? Please let me know before you start OK. I want to be sure I am not inside when this occurs. I am not sure about the newer boilers but I never tested a cast iron boiler to 200 PSI.

                                Of course we didn't have all the choices available 105 years ago (I started 5 years before the Dog) when I was an apprentice , it was CI or nothing. Coal was cheap and the boilers were about 25% efficient too.
                                I'm with Bob here. Even domestic plumbing systems are not tested to 200psi, because equipment involved is not rated for that type of pressure. In a heating or cooling system (Hydronic) there are numerous pieces of equipment (control valves, coils, balancing valves, etc.) that are not rated for that kind of pressure.
                                the dog

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