Well, I wasn’t sure I’d ever see this day, but the basement plumbing project is finally finished. It went smoothly and pretty much according to plan. No more leaky fitting in the basement, and I now have a working frost free sillcock outside by the pool equipment. I started at 8:30am on Friday, and finished up at around 1:30pm, with lunch and a couple of breaks in between. Lessons learned along the way:
- I had originally suspected that our house shutoff didn’t fully shut the water off, but it looks like it does after all. It just takes a long time to drain the house plumbing. When I first cut the pipes apart, I had a persistent drizzle coming out of the cut pipe. At the time, I had opened every faucet in the house except for the bar sink. When I opened the bar sink faucet, the drizzle stopped and I was able to sweat the pipe without using any bread.
- I tried to solder one of the joints while there was still some standing water in the pipe near the joint. It took a loooong time before the pipe got hot enough to melt the solder. In the process, the heat from the torch boiled the water off. Despite my worries, I still ended up with a leak-free joint. Next time though, I’ll make sure the joint is a dry as possible before soldering. Barring that, make sure there’s an opening somewhere for the steam to escape.
- Don’t hold the torch directly below the joint, or solder will drip into it and foul up the torch tip. Fortunately, they’re cheap..
This was the biggest project I’ve ever done involving copper sweating. I’ve found that as long as the joints are fully cleaned and fluxed, it’s pretty hard not to end up with a leak-free joint.
Really glad to finish that one up!