Can copper fittings be un-soldered & replaced?

michgeoApril 5, 2007

We are renovating one of our two existing bathrooms. While the walls are open, we are also providing plumbing for a new basement bath.

The existing cold water supply starts with 3/4" copper. A 3/4" x 3/4" x 1/2" tee then provides water to the kitchen and laundry in one direction (3/4") and the two baths in the other direction (1/2"). The hot water supply is similar except that the tee reduces to 1/2" in both directions.

Figuring that the 1/2" lines to the existing bathrooms is not adequate to supply three bathrooms, I have upgraded the main lines to 3/4", with 1/2" branches to individual fixtures. I'm now ready to tie the new lines back into the old.

Question: Is it acceptable to un-solder the existing copper tees and replace them with new tees?

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    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 10:41AM
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One tip: To reuse the soldered end of a pipe that was in a fitting, reheat with a torch to melt the solder and wipe the wet solder off with a dry rag. Once cool you can flux and reassemble with new fittings and solder.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 12:59PM
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Thanks much -- that's what I was hoping to hear. It'll be easier (and will look better I think) than cutting the pipes back and using couplers to extend them again. I succeeded in doing it with some scrap pieces that will never see water, but wasn't sure -- before now -- that it was a good idea for real thing.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2007 at 1:14PM
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In the long run your better off using the couplings. I have tried your method and it took a lot of work to clean the fittings and pipe correctly. I have a few friends that are plumbers and for once they were in concurrence, too many issues to deal with reusing fittings. Cut the old and couple in the new and be done with it, these are not big ticket items.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 11:07AM
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jonnyp, I don't think he's reusing the fittings. He said he wanted to install new fittings. I think he was asking if he could pull the fitting off, clean up the pipe and put new fittings on the existing pipe. At least that's what I understood.
Funny, I had a friend in the plumbing business who had 4 men working for him. They used to bring back the used copper fittings, 1", 1 1/2", 2" and 3" and keep them in a box. When they had nothing to do he would have them clean them up to reuse. They would clean the inside and polish the outside with a wire wheel. I guess it saved a few bucks. Of course with the price of copper today it might be worth cleaning up 1/2" stuff :-))

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 4:06PM
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coolvt, I stand corrected. Still you are better off going back to clean copper and adding couplings. A little more work but we won't be revisiting the issue. As far as cleaning those larger fittings, absolutey from a business angle, especially when you have paid help doing nada. A product that is finally
becoming attractive, because of the cost of copper is PEX. It is not popular because it is so much easier for the DIY to use. Anyway it is Saturday, I'am going to have a few beers.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 5:45PM
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