DIY How to Sweat a Copper Pipe Joint for Leaky Water Heater Repair Job
Below is the video on the whole process but below that are step by step photos with explanations for each step to successfully completing this water heater copper pipe plumbing job.
This job started when we noticed a small leak slowly dripping from the existing joint. It wasn't too bad of a leak but if it had gone left unprepared it surely would have caused some long term costly water damage.
The first step is to shut off the water supply, turn off the power to the water heater and secure the water supply as well.
Next we cut a hole in the drywall to access the joint as well as assess any water damage. Cutting it to a square shape and trying to make it as even as possible helps when restoring the drywall.
We just tried to remove it the best way possible and snapping in half to get it out of the hole seemed to do the trick.
We decided to remove the "decorative" disc with tin snips in order to get a better look at what we were to be working on.
After staging a firebaottle close by, it was time to start heating up the piping connection with the intention of removing the fitting.
With some channel locks we gripped the old fitting while heating up "sweating" the pipe joint and slowly wiggled it off after it came up to heat to melt the old solder.
The old fitting came right off with a little heat and elbow grease using the channel locks. Vice grips would work too if you don't have any channel locks around.
After the old fitting was removed we sanded the existing pipe end in order to make sure it was as clean as possible in preparation for sweating the new fitting on. We used a rougher grade sand paper to begin with in order to make sure all of the epoxy remnant was removed completely as well as removing existing solder.
It was important to clean the new fitting as well. We used a finer grit metal sand paper to do this until it was shiny.
We test fit the new fitting to make sure it would have the proper fit just to be sure.
We remove the new fitting in order flux the existing pipe joint all the way around using a nylon brush.
Same goes for the new fitting, needs flux all the way around. No need to skimp on the flux at all.
This is where we start heating up the freshly fluxed and fit up joint. We heated it up just until the flux started to barely smoke.
This is where we start adding solder. It seeps into the joint as you work your way around it. It flows to the bottom of the joint without having to add it in the overhead position (just like you might do in welding.)
We start adding solder at the top and work out way down to about the 4:00 or so position adding a few dabs of solder along the way.
Now it's time to let the joint cool until it's cool to the touch.
We let dry and cool before connecting water heater hose. Then slowly turn water back on, after hooking everything back up to check for leaks. That's it. Pretty easy huh?