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Here's the 'how 'to' on repairing copper pipe
Everything you will need to repair a punctured copper pipe. VVV/Sean Morris
8/16/2012 2:10:00 PM
By Sean Morris
The word plumbing comes from plumbum, the Latin word for lead (Pb on the Periodic table). Pipes in Rome and many other parts of the world were originally made of lead, basically poison.
Thankfully modern plumbing created safer options ... options you can easily fit together for various purposes. This How to article will focus on copper -- one of Arizona's five Cs.
What you'll need: copper pipe, copper couplings (preferably with a stop), a copper tubing cutter, a torch, steal wool or fine sand paper, flux, and solder (pronounced sawder).
Lets say you punctured a pipe while hanging a picture in the wrong place. You need to fix it.
First, turn off the water to your house from the water box -- you'll likely need a pair of pliers. You'll need to do this whether you want to fix it yourself or not.
Once you turn off the water, open the lowest hose spigot outside your house to drain the lines; you don't want water in there while you fit pipe.
Expose the punctured line, likely by tearing through drywall. This will get messy, so move out of the room anything you want to keep clean.
In this hypothetical instance, you'll probably only have to cut the copper line right at the puncture and patch it with a coupling, so you won't need to buy copper line.
Use a tubing cutter to cut the pipe. Be gentle! You don't want to warp the pipe, because then you won't be able to fit a coupling.
Now you have a clean cut on your line. Shine up the copper about an inch back on both ends with steel wool or fine sandpaper -- you don't need to brush hard, just until it looks consistent and shiny.
Smear a layer of flux all the way around the pipe on both ends where you just brushed (only enough to coat it, don't gob it on there), and put the coupling in place.
Here comes the fun part. Roll out a few inches of solder and have it ready to pick up. Turn on the torch and heat one side of the pipe (you may need to use a metal shield to protect anything flammable in the path of the flame. Be careful).
The copper will get really hot and flux will drip out of the coupling -- keep heating the same side of the pipe. Press the solder against where the pipe meats the coupling on the opposite side of the flame.
When the pipe is hot enough, the solder sucks inside the coupling and makes a seal. It's like magic! Do the same thing on the other side.
Rule of thumb: a half inch pipe should require a half inch of solder for each seal, a three-quarter inch pipe should require about three-quarter inches of solder.
Let the fitting cool down for a few minutes and turn the water back on to test your work. Good job! It looks like it worked.
Fitting and soldering copper pipe is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. With the skill you can do more than just fix leaky lines -- you can even make art.
By the way, you're going to need a big picture to cover up the missing drywall.
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