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Stupid Modern Plumbing

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Or, more likely, stupid modern homeowner.

Since I don't value my time, at all, I do all my own stuff. I'm an electrician by trade, but also weld, mechanic, pretend to be a carpenter, and unfortunately plumb.

So, ever since I discovered Propex it's all I use, and it's been fantastic except for sweating together the goddamned brass fittings to other stuff. Sweating onto copper pipe is easy, but sweating a brass adapter onto a cast chinesium valve is fucking hell. I've melted the body of bathroom vanity valves before the solder would melt.

I'm using fancy bullshit "lead-free" solder and "plumbing friendly" flux. I'm pretty sure if I used real lead solder and old fashioned radioactive flux this shit would sweat together perfectly.

So, what am I doing wrong? I disassembled my valve so I don't melt the rubber stuff, I cleaned inside and outside my fittings, I fluxed both pieces, I heated everything up with a big propane torch like shown fed from a 20 lbs bottle with a hose.

I heated the connection and kept trying the solder. The flux liquefied and boiled away before the solder would melt. Since the flux gassed off leaving the joint not wet, the solder would not flow nicely into the joint.

Should I "tin" both fittings first, then assemble them hot?
Would MAPP gas help?

What do real plumbers use? I'm betting it's real lead solder.

And yes, that is a Canada-sized frost free valve.:smokin:

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Cant help with your solder issue as I'm unfamiliar with your propex. Just going to suggest pulling the stem out of the valve so you dont melt the washer

edit, I cant read :homer:
 
Not that big of a problem.



I don't want todrill a hole that large in my poured concrete foundation and don't have a SDS bit big enough even if I wanted to. This is going above a drywalled ceiling. I'm connecting the pex pipe then fishing everything through the wall from outside.
 
Stub of garden hose and two hose clamps. Get the two pipe ends close, install hose, and BLAMMO problem solved.



Honestly, with the direction things are headed with things like solder, I have gone to using sharkbites for difficult applications.

Can you put the brass adapter on after it goes through the wall? Then you can keep the hole small.
 
Stub of garden hose and two hose clamps. Get the two pipe ends close, install hose, and BLAMMO problem solved.



Honestly, with the direction things are headed with things like solder, I have gone to using sharkbites for difficult applications.

Can you put the brass adapter on after it goes through the wall? Then you can keep the hole small.

Yes, but I want future me to be able to yank the thing out when the valve fails instead of busting out drywall to access that nut.
 
Hate to tell ya this, but if the valve fails, it is either cause the valve need repacking that should be able to be done from the outside or the pipe split and that drywall needs replacing anyway.
 
Looks like chrome plating on that stem? Good luck getting normal solder to wet out on that - ever.
I believe you'd need silver solder + correct flux to stick to the chrome. but I'm no expert.

I'd use the fitting Pukemaggots pictured, and either adapt hole size to the OD or (total hackfuckstyle) file / sand it down to fit the hole you don't want to enlarge.


But also, this:

Just drill a proper sized hole instead of trying to monkey fuck it.

Take the hit now, enlarge the hole, and have zero regrets when it needs service in the future :beer:
 
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Shark Bite it if you're such a noob.

Honestly though, I use shark bite for transitioning between materials, it's just way less headache.
 
Usually the valves are at ground level, which puts them in the ceiling of the basement. If the basement isn't finished, what the fuck are you saving? If it is finished, and you are super against cutting and patching drywall (future maybe, not for certain), put in a maintenance portal (access door or panel) to make it easy to fix. Get creative, search pintrest and look for ways to either camoflage the access door or combine it with other storage to become a feature rather than a failure.
 
What kind of glasses are these?
Just sand the chrome off the brass valve and try again?
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What kind of glasses are these?
Just sand the chrome off the brass valve and try again?

The inside of the valve is not chromed where you sweat a pipe in, and I sanded the shit out of that part with emery cloth anyway. It was a nice yellowy color in there after the sanding.


Those glasses are anti-carsick glasses, and as far as I can tell they work great. Might be a placebo thing, but my daughter does not get carsick with them on. They're just loops of tubing filled with liquid that gives you an artificial horizon, or gives some movement for your eyes to see while travelling.
 
I guess the threaded fitting is probably the same size as the "nut" on the valve anyway, so it would probably fit. I'll see if I can find one.



So, basically what everyone is saying is that you cannot sweat these two things together? Really? I'm willing to buy what I need and learn what I need to learn because I seem to need to do this every now and then.

Some fucking tech forum this is.:homer: :flipoff2:
 
I guess the threaded fitting is probably the same size as the "nut" on the valve anyway, so it would probably fit. I'll see if I can find one.



So, basically what everyone is saying is that you cannot sweat these two things together? Really? I'm willing to buy what I need and learn what I need to learn because I seem to need to do this every now and then.

Some fucking tech forum this is.:homer: :flipoff2:

Ummmm . . . :homer: - silver solder, mothfukle?

I even broke it out into a separate post for you - the 1 directly above your whiny post I quoted :flipoff2:


EDIT: but silver solder is a bitch also - seriously, I'd just thread on the adapter.
 
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I know fuckall about plumbing but I've melted probably 50 lbs of solder in the last few months and the only things that'll keep solder from flowing is not enough heat or not enough clean. If you know it's not the heat I'd say clean more.

It could very well be the flux you're using. If you know any plumbers try to get the good stuff. A jar of flux and a pound of good-old-days solder will last you your lifetime
 
Ummmm . . . :homer: - silver solder, mothfukle?

I even broke it out into a separate post for you - the 1 directly above your whiny post I quoted :flipoff2:


EDIT: but silver solder is a bitch also - seriously, I'd just thread on the adapter.

HA! It takes me more than 2 minutes to type out a post, autocorrect it, then reread and try to make sure it doesn't make me sound like a retard.

I guess I should reload the thread after I type a response, but before I post.:laughing:



I think I have some of that stuff, even came with special flux.

I live in BFE and can't buy these fittings at the hardware store so I think my next plan of attack will be (in order):

1. See if I have threaded adapter (I might, but it will be a 90* shower fitting which sucks)
2. Try and sweat a piece of copper pipe into the valve, then a pex adapter onto that. Copper seems to co-operate.
3. Try the above with silver solder.


(notice calling a plumber or using shark-bites is not on the list)


There has to be a way to do this and if IBB can't tell me, then I'll damn well just go see my plumbing buddies, get the scoop and bring it back here.
 
I use air and acetylene. Wrap the valve with a wet rag and have it. I also cut the handle off the pipe brush and spin it in a drill. They also make compression connections valve that are nice.
 
Try tinning the inside of the faucet first without the fitting - if you get it hot enough that the solder melts but balls up then whatever material they used isn't going to solder. If you can tin it, then keep the heat on and stick the brass fitting in and apply more solder.
 
I know fuckall about plumbing but I've melted probably 50 lbs of solder in the last few months and the only things that'll keep solder from flowing is not enough heat or not enough clean. If you know it's not the heat I'd say clean more.

It could very well be the flux you're using. If you know any plumbers try to get the good stuff. A jar of flux and a pound of good-old-days solder will last you your lifetime

This is the correct answer. Ditch the shit water-based flux. Your experience is what it does. Get some nice greasy wheel-bearing-looking flux, and it'll go right together.

Sand it shiny, like you did, no greasy hands on it, flux, heat. Heat the base metal, not the solder, with a smooth, even motion of the torch. You don't want to blast a certain area, you want to bring the entire fitting up to temp (unless it's a valve, then you put most of the heat into the other part and let it transfer into the valve). When it's hot enough and properly fluxed, the solder will wick right around. Solder flows toward heat, so if you need it to go somewhere, put a little more heat there. Set the solder roll down and wipe the still-molten joint with a wet rag, to get rid of excess solder and smooth the joint.

Skip the MAPP gas, too. It's not real MAPP anymore (since 10 years ago), it's an eco-friendly substitute that is some worthless percentage (I forget if it's 5 or 10%) hotter than propane. No real advantage for 2x the price.

Make sure any valve you solder is open.
 
+1 for no sharkbites. They're the equivalent of an inch of Bondo- so easy a caveman can do it, you may ragrat it someday. I've used a few on my 70yo plumbing, but only as a temporary fix. Those orings aren't gonna last forever.
 
Had to sweat on another adapter onto a 3/4 shutoff. I'm adding a second main shutoff so I can shut off the entire house, or shut off the entire house except for this outside tap (so neighbor can water flowers while we're on vacation).

Cleaned super bright (again). Used petroleum based flux (again) and used a different brand plumbing solder (fourney this time instead of oatey).

Wetted good and the solder flowed, but I got a bit of contamination? Looks crappy but should hold.

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Welcome to the world of Lead Free brass fittings, they fully fuking SUCK. It's not you, it's the material, I expect there to be countless Class Action suits in the coming years because of all the failures. I'd be willing to bet that if you pulled the adapter out of the valve you soldered you will find there is a large portion of the adapter and valve that doesn't have any solder on it. I found that using Oatey #95 paste on lead free brass along with Silvabrite solder will do a tad better than other combinations, but it's still no guarantee that it's going to take every time. All other copper to copper joint use Oatey #5 and the solder of your choice. Pex adapters are some of the worse joints out there when it comes to accepting solder, whenever possible use MIP or FIP adapters, save yourself a lot of grief.
 
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