10 Steps To Replacing Damaged Copper Pipe

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10 Steps To Replacing Damaged Copper Pipe

Replacing copper pipe is a is a perfect job for any decent DIY’er. It isn’t difficult to remove and replace a piece of copper pipe the tricky part is making sure you have the needed supplies that are not standard issue tools that most people have in their garage.  Before you start you will need the following –  a copper-pipe tubing cutter, flux and a flux brush, solder, and a propane torch.

To remove and replace a damaged piece of pipe, follow these 10 steps:

  1. Like we have mentioned in many of our other posts turn off the main water shut-off valve; then open a faucet at the lowest point in the home to drain all water from the pipes.

  2. Use a measuring tape to determine the length of pipe needed and use a pencil to transfer the measurement to the new pipe.  When figuring the overall length of the replacement piece of pipe, make sure to take into account the ends, which will slide into fittings. The total length of the replacement piece of pipe and the two couplings, when fully assembled, must be about 3/4 inch longer than the length of the damaged pipe.

  3. Place the blade of the tube cutter over the mark on the pipe and gently clamp down on the pipe by turning the grip clockwise while rotating the cutter around the entire circumference of the pipe. The cutter should move freely. Be sure not to apply too much pressure as it can bend the end of the pipe and damage the cutting blade. A bent end can result in a leak.

  4. Use the deburring blade (located at the end of the tube cutter) or a small file to remove any burrs at the cut end.

  5. Polish the outside to be soldered with emery paper until it has a bright finish. Do the same with the interior of the fitting to which it will be joined. This polishing cleans the material and provides the necessary texture for a solid connection.

  6. Apply a thin layer of flux to the outside of the pipe and the interior of the joint.  Flux is an acid that further cleans the pipe and makes the solder work more evenly.

  7. Assemble the pieces and rotate the pipe in the fitting to distribute the flux and ensure a secure fit.

  8. Solder the connection:

    When soldering, wear safety glasses and gloves, as well as long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to avoid being burned by hot flying flux or solder.

    Soldering is different from welding, where the flame is placed directly on the connection. When soldering, the tip of the blue flame should be directed at the fitting, not the pipe, which allows the heat to radiate to the joint. When the flux begins to bubble, touch the end of the solder to one point of the joint and let capillary action do the work. The solder will automatically form a tiny bead around the joint. Remove the flame as soon as the solder begins to flow. Be careful not to move or jiggle the pipe or fitting for about a minute after the flame has been removed — you want to allow the solder enough time to cool.

  9. When the soldering is complete, remove the excess flux by wiping off the pipe and fittings with a clean, dry cloth.

  10. Lastly – turn the water back on and your good to go!

A few safety precautions that we recommend –

-when working near wood, use a metal shield between the flame and the combustible surface to avoid causing a fire.

-Never use a torch around natural gas or gasoline, and always have a working fire extinguisher nearby.

-Be sure to check for leaks after the soder connection has been made.


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