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How to fix leaking soldered copper elbow in water supply line? Answered


Assuming you know how to sweat pipe joints: Turn off the water. Drain the pipe (otherwise all the energy goes into heating water rather than metal). Heat with a torch and disassemble; don't set the house on fire. Clean THOROUGHLY -- you may want to get a new elbow and do the full wire-brush-and-emery-paper treatment on it, rather than trying to reuse the existing elbow; clean surfaces are essential. Reassemble and sweat-solder, being sure the pipes are heated sufficiently and that you use enough (leadless plumbing) solder. Let cool, turn the water back on, and check for leaks. Repeat if necessary.

Or you could attack the thing with epoxy putty... but then you'd have to cut it out and splice pipes next time you have to work on it.

If you can, you should cut off the supply as Kiteman says, then you should re make the joint with a small gas torch and silver solder.

If you can't do that, or need a quick fix, you should be able to stop it by drying the area as much as possible and applying a fair ammount of sealant. Then tightly clamp about 4" of either rubber hose or sheet (bit of an old inner tube might work?) around the pipe with several jubilee clips, strong tie-wraps, or tightly tied rope. If you do this, I would reccomend that either you or a plumber tries to fix it properly as soon as is convenient.

Hi Thanks, can you resolder joint without removing it ?

You can apply more solder without disassembling first. . But if the problem was that one of the surfaces wasn't cleaned properly before soldering, that may not be a lasting fix.

Also remember, the pipe has to be hot enough for the solder to wick all the way into the joint, rather than just putting a bit of solder at the outside edge. Insufficient heat is another common cause of trouble.


7 years ago

Sharkbite fittings work great. I was highly skeptical of them at first (and I know how to solder pipe) but for quick, permanent fixes or alterations to existing plumbing, you can't beat them. Simply cut the pipe (or cut the existing fitting out) deburr the ends, and push them into the Sharkbite fitting. No glue, no solder, re-alignable, and with a special ($1) tool, removable.

If you do decide to go the soldering route, here is an old trick that works well. Turn off the water supply, make the cut, drain the pipe as much as possible, and then poke a ball of cheapo crustless white bread into the cut ends of the pipe to stop and further water seepage. When you are done with the repair, turn the water back on and the bread will disintegrate and disappear.

I'd forgotten the bread trick; thanks for the reminder.

You're welcome. What did you end up doing?

Thanks for the help

You have to drain and dry the line.

Can you cut off the water supply, and drain the joint of water?