How to Take Apart Soldered Copper Joints

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If newly soldered copper joints leak when full water pressure is re-applied to the copper line, they will have to be removed. This is a fairly simple process, but one should always replace an old joint with a new one. Special care must be followed when using a naked flame.

Things You'll Need

  • Propane torch
  • Heat-resistant cloth
  • Water spray bottle
  • Dry rag
  • Emery cloth
  • Water-pump pliers
  • Turn off water at main shut-off valve, and drain pipes by turning on the highest and lowest faucets in the property.

  • Place heat-resistant cloth behind the soldered joint to prevent possible fire. Light the propane torch, holding the flame tip against the copper fitting until the solder starts to melt.

  • Grip the copper fitting with the water-pump pliers, moving the fitting before it releases from the copper piping.

  • Re-heat the ends of the copper pipe to remove the old solder, and carefully wipe away any solder with a dry rag.

  • Sand the ends of the copper pipe(about an inch) with an emery cloth, making sure no dust or grease is left. The copper pipe is now ready to re-solder a new joint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always have a water spray bottle on hand, in case a fire starts.
  • Never re-use the old copper fitting such as a coupling or elbow joint. Do not squeeze copper fitting too tightly as it may damage the copper piping. Be careful not to burn yourself using a dry rag when wiping away solder from copper pipes.

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