Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Repairing Copper Supply Line Pipe

By Mark J. Donovan

Copper pipes are commonly used in residential plumbing applications. Occasionally a copper supply line can burst. It is particularly common during winter months when water can potentially freeze in the pipes due to the loss of heat in the home. Repairing copper supply line pipes requires some basic tools and skill in soldering / sweating pipes. Tools required include a copper pipe tube cutter or hacksaw, a propane torch, sandpaper, a stiff brush, a half round file, rag, and some steel wool. For materials you will need the necessary copper pipe and fittings, lead free solder, and flux.

To repair a copper supply line you must first turn off the water to the damaged pipe and drain the pipe. Any water left in the pipe will make sweating the joint impossible.

After draining the copper supply line pipe, use a pipe cutter or hacksaw to cut out the damaged section.

Next, use the half round file to clean any burrs off of the cut ends of the pipe. Then use the sandpaper, steel wool and rag to clean the first couple of inches of each section of pipe.

Next cut a length of replacement copper pipe to fit the gap that was removed in the supply line. Make sure to clean each end of the replacement copper pipe section with sandpaper, steel wool, and a rag. Then apply flux to the inside of the two couplings that will go on either end of the repair. Likewise apply flux to the ends of each pipe section.

Place the couplings into position over the ends of the replacement copper pipe section and then slide the other ends of the couplings over the cut ends of the supply line pipe.

Finally, sweat, or solder, the copper couplings in place using the propane torch and solder. Make sure to use lead free solder when sweating plumbing joints. When sweating copper pipes always heat the surface of the copper joint prior to applying solder to it. The solder should immediately flow around the copper fitting when the fitting is hot enough.

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