Step 4: Sweat

Shove the pipe into the coupler and sweat it with your solder.  Other instructions will let you know, but I will repeat, you don't melt solder with the flame, you melt solder by heating up the joint until it is hot enough to melt the solder by touching it with it.  If you try and heat the solder with the flame and just sort of paint it on you will become extremely frustrated with how badly this is going for you and very likely light yourself on fire to bring an end to madness.

Yes my soldering is ugly, cut me some slack.  It was raining and dark, I was drunk and had a huge knot swelling  up on my head and I'm no plumber.  The solder held so I'm happy.  Tomorrow I guess I'm cleaning up this hole in the wall.

Let the pipe fully cool off, to the touch, before kicking the water back on.  Don't try and splash any water or anything on it to speed up the process, this might shock your whole mess and result in another leak.  Once it's cooled off put pressure back in the pipe by turning on the water main, and open your hose valve and bread bits may or may not shoot out.  If you have a little filter in there you can take that out and speed up the process, but the bottom line is the junk trapped in the pipe is bread and will pretty quickly disintegrate and get out of your system.
<p>inmon</p><p>I've used bread for years but today I feel like a total amateur. I repaired the copper pipe outlet from the water heater to the entire system but I've lost pressure throughout. The first repair was at a 90 deg elbow off the main hot water line with bread as a moisture bearer. I soldered the elbow and a coupling joint; let it cool; cut in water supply; no joint leaks. I thought I had check the old piece of pipe I used from the elbow to the coupling for possible leaks but didn't do so well. There was a pin-hole leak but instead of removing the previous installation, (I've had SO many problems with draining water from my water system and sweating joints because of moisture.), I decided to cut the pipe and install a slip coupling. After using bread again about 3 inches up the down pipe, I soldered the slip coupling in place; let cool; turned on water supply; no leaks AND, NO pressure at exit points. Pressure gauge indicates 60psi on system. All aerators are clean, double sure. Since I repair the hot water side I could understand if there's a blockage but on the cold water side too? Flushing a toilet drops the pressure at the wash basin to barely running both hot and cold. I used a &quot;shopvac&quot; with the water open trying to suck out any debris. That didn't work. My thoughts are; I crystallized the bread and it's stuck to the pipe thus blocking the flow at the joints or got fed into the system; I used too much solder and it's blocking the flow at a joint or got fed into the system; I could remove the installation and repair using mostly screw-together piping except at the elbow; drain the system and try to suck out any debris. I'm still puzzled as to why a blockage on the hot water side is affecting the cold water. I could understand if the blockage is at a faucet but not a single valve such as a washing machine connection. I sure would appreciate any help from anyone in the know. Thanks you!</p>
<p>That's a great and cheap solution! Why bother with more expensive or products that serve only that function when you can just run to the cupboard and grab a slice o' bread. I'll keep that in mind the next time I've got a leak to take care of. Thanks for the tip! </p><p><br> <a href="http://www.rkknightplumbing.com/services/plumbing/" rel="nofollow"> http://www.rkknightplumbing.com/services/plumbing...</a></p>
<p>I've been using bread forever - you can use a grain bread but it disintegrates more slowly and clogs up the aerators (the little screens) on the ends of your kitchen/bathroom spigots. I guess the grains swell, or something. In a pinch, you can use a whole grain bread, though. Just don't panic when your spigots don't work - just unscrew the aerators and clean out the plug of bread..... </p>
<p>Part of bread has a greenish tint.</p>
<p>Just used a bagel, worked well! First 2 attempts without bread failed as the pipe continued to drip and the solder would not suck in.</p><p>Thanks!</p>
<p>It shouldn't matter what the angle is when soldering copper. There is something called &quot;capillary action&quot; going on. It means that when you heat the copper and apply the solder, it will be sucked into the joint, no matter the angle or direction.</p>
This is so creative! I never would've thought that bread would ever help me with my plumbing, and I have a brother who is a <a href="http://www.bradshawplumbing.com/pages/plumbing.htm" rel="nofollow">plumber in Toronto</a>.
Whoa! That's an unexpected, but great, tip. I could've used this when I was working at my <a href="http://www.thegentlemenplumbersreddeer.com/" rel="nofollow">plumbing company in Red Deer</a>. Perhaps I could use this trick the next time I need to do a job and forget the proper tools. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the post, and I'm a huge fan of bread especially sliced bread. But I never knew that a simple piece of bread could help easy and simplify <a href="http://www.masterrootercanada.ca/en/" rel="nofollow">plumbing</a> problems in your home. But then again I hardly know anything about plumbing in general.
Thank you for sharing this article, I never in a million years would have guessed that people fixed <a href="http://www.smedleyservice.com" rel="nofollow">plumbing Utah</a> problems like this. I'm very impressed. I have made a goal this year to better understand plumbing and how it works. I've been doing a great job keeping with it. Its turning out to be a really fun thing for me.
This is the first time I've actually heard of this trick. We were just looking for a good <a href="http://www.americasserviceplumber.com" rel="nofollow">plumbing company in mesquite, tx</a> to come help us. I bet this would help solve the problem, thanks for sharing.
Great tip... I could have used this a while back. :)
Great trick. <br> I'm a lousy solderer too. I had a friend come over to do some vertical pipe caps recently because I didn't trust my own skills to get the solder to run uphill into the joint. He brought over presoldered fittings. (Maybe they were only pretinned. At any rate, they worked much better. I've never seen them in the home amateur hardware stores, so I suspect they came from a plumbing supplies store.)
This was seriously one of the most interesting Instructables I've ever stumbled on to. I would have never thought about how bread, of all things, might be used in a <a href="http://www.academymechanical.com" rel="nofollow">plumbing</a> situation. I am curious to know how you first learned this trick? I am going to tell my plumber about it next time he comes over (since my plumbing skills and tricks are pretty limited!).
Thanks for the comment, glad to know people are still reading this trick. When I was 17 I worked for an old school Mormon carpenter who built custom homes, and I'm not talking &quot;custom&quot; like it's thrown around today where you get to pick your paint colors and flooring, I'm talking Southern Living magazine deep south plantation style custom, with stables and guest quarters and such, and he only built or restored one house at a time. He showed me that trick when restoring a historic cabin for a professor at UGA. I went into the Marines after that job and he wrote me at boot camp and again after I shipped overseas, a real great guy who showed me a lot of tricks of the trade that have stayed with me for 20 years and come in useful innumerable times.
My hubby, a welder, asked for a piece of bread to sweat a barely dripping copper connection. We don't eat white bread so I handed him a piece that had various cracked grains in it. It worked, he did a beautiful job but upon turning the tap on, no water. He was stumped. I don't know why I removed the tap aerator but there was the bread, a solid mass, the grains having swelled solid. We were laughing so hard he could barely see to dig the mass out of the spout. So don't use whole grain bread.
My favorite plumbing trick! I've used this for a few years, and it's great when you don't want to wait 3 hours for all the water to drain. <br> <br>Just watch your fingers when shoving the bread down the pipe; I've cut my fingers twice - now I like to use a blunt-nosed object like the fat end of a punch, or a wood dowel. <br> <br>Wonderbread or white bread is the best; if bread is dry or has nuts/berries/twigs, it will be harder to ball up and shove down the pipes. And it will take longer to break down; you'll be digging junk out of aerators for days!
Best Plumbing trick I have found so far. I have tried this <a href="http://www.dlplumbingservices.com/" rel="nofollow">plumbing</a> trick on my own and would love to say that it really works.
I've used the bread trick before and it really does work. I ate the crusts off first because i was afraid they would plug up stuff too well. ( besides I was hungry) <br>Only problem was I plugged up the shower head with bread when I turned the water back on. Should have taken it off before I flushed the pipes.
Great tip.
Interesting, thanks for sharing.<br><br>Years ago I used ground paprika to fix a leak in the car's radiator. It is an old road trick. It works!
Thanks... good tip with the paprika, did you just pour some into the radiator and it sealed the leak or what? I haven't heard that one.
Yes, you must put a soup spoon of paprika (Spanish:<a href="http://www.google.com.ar/search?q=piment%C3%B3n+molido&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:es-ES:unofficial&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=es&tab=wi&biw=1280&bih=677"> piment&oacute;n molido</a>) in the hot water when the motor is running. After a few seconds the little flakes of paprika clog the leak. The fix is valid for some hours or days, you must fix &quot;really&quot; the leak soon.
Obviously, that works only for little leaks, that are more frequent.
so it is kind of like cracking an egg into the radiator to stop a leak .. it is by no means a long term solution to the leak, but it should get you to where you need to go to get the leak truly fixed .
That of egg I didn't know. It is easier to get an egg than paprika, I suppose.
sounds like the paprika will work if it is added to the radiator regardless of the temperature of the radiator. The egg only works if the radiator is hot.<br><br>sorry about getting the commets off track badpanda. Great instructable.
It's all good... spread the knowledge.
Thanks guys.
Use silver solder instead and you will get a better joint. Also it would not be a good idea to do this on the main feed to the hot water cylinder. Another option also would be to sleeve the joint so as to make it stronger.<br><br>As for radiators. I have used Egg, Pepper and once when I got really desperate curry powder. The egg one is simple, separate the white and drop it in to the radiator. fire up the engine and it will clog the hole. Same deal with the powders as they mix with the water and are ejected out the hole eventually clogging it.<br>Something people forget to do that makes this fail however is to put a match stick under the pressure part of the radiator cap so your radiator will not build up pressure to blow the seal out. It is a temporary fix.
Thanks... in this application I did use the sleeve, referred to as a coupler in the instructions... were you referring to something else I don't know about? What I used is a collar about 2&quot; long made for the 1&quot; diameter pipe I had crack here. I used silver solder here too... the lead free variety, just because I assumed it's bad to have lead anything in your plumbing/water.<br><br>The match stick knowledge on the radiator fix is something I definitely would not have known but makes total sense. Thanks!

About This Instructable


24 favorites


More by badpanda: How to Make a Planted Aquarium CO2 Generator/Infuser Manliest Lazy Susan Ever Drink coasters from leftover flooring materials
Add instructable to: