Plumbing 0, Me 1

I’ve been working balls-out all week, so I took today off to do some stuff around the house. Last weekend my mother showed up and suggested some new plants for outside my house. We worked out a three stage plan for redoing my plants, but to implement that I need to water the new flora, lest it die. Last winter my outside faucet’s pipe burst when it was -20 degrees out, and I still hadn’t fixed it. I’ve wanted to learn some plumbing techniques (while not paying big $$$ to a plumber) and had been putting it off, but I couldn’t do so anymore since I’ve got stuff I need to get into the ground. So, off I went to the hardware store, and the rest of my afternoon went something like this:

2:00 PM: Acquire section of 1/2″ copper pipe, four 90 degree “Easy Sweat” joints (cool because they have solder built into them), soldering kit for 3/4″ pipe (flux, solder, cleaning brushes), and a new sillcock (hehe, you said sillcock).

2:30 PM: Get home. Take sillcock apart so plastic parts don’t melt when soldering. Discover water in the sillcock. Hmmm.

2:45 PM: Discover solder kit is for 3/4″ pipe, not for 1/2″ pipe like the bin at the store said. Improvise using sandpaper. Solder pipe into sillcock using advice from the back of the soldering kit and general soldering know-how. Super freaking easy using my MAPP gas torch. Also marks the first time my MAPP gas torch is used for it’s real purpose, rather than lighting fires or fireworks.

2:50 PM: Put sillcock back together, notice sillcock doesn’t go back together properly. Mess with it for a while, including looking it up on the manufacturer’s web site.

3:30 PM: Go back to hardware store and get a new sillcock, assuming I broke the other one or melted something. Also get a 1/2″ solder kit. I now have enough solder paste to last me a lifetime.

4:00 PM: Discover first sillcock insides were actually pre-broken for my convenience. Morons at hardware store put defective merchandise back on the shelf, which explains why there was water in it. I’m guessing the moron that had it before me tried soldering it without removing the innards (ignoring the big sticker on it with the warning that you’re gonna melt everything).

4:15 PM: Desolder pipe from first sillcock so I can return it. Cut new pipe, solder into good sillcock. Attach Easy Sweat joint to the whole mess and sweat it.

4:17 PM: Discover that both pockets of Easy Sweat joint’s solder melted, so it won’t work so well for reattaching to my house. Crap!

4:19 PM: Discover that MAPP gas is hot and makes copper tubing melty. I crush it trying to desolder the joint. Super crap!

4:21 PM: Stop cursing, desolder whole mess. Cut third section of pipe and solder into sillcock. Ponder how I’m going to get the joint on there without melting all the solder.

4:40 PM: Drink a beer, think a little. New strategy: don’t put the joint on until I’ve got both sides of it attached to something. Duh. Prepare house connection to receive the joint. Sweat the whole thing together…

4:41 PM: …joint isn’t doing the right thing. Remember that I forgot to put solder paste/flux on the house side of the joint. Shit!

4:43 PM: Screw it, while it’s all attached let’s turn it on and see if it works… nope, doesn’t work, has a minor leak.

4:55 PM: Desolder whole mess which is a bitch when the pipe is filled with water (the house connection is vertical at that point, so it holds water pretty well). Discover extra solder on the house connection makes it hard to get another joint on there. Mega turbo shit! I have five inches of uncut pipe left and one joint, so I can’t screw this up anymore without going to the store again.

5:00 PM: Decide to Dremel the extra solder off the pipe. Discover my Dremel’s battery isn’t charged, plug it in. Use torch to heat the pipe so that the water stuck inside boils out and it’ll be easier to sweat later. Discover boiling water shooting out of pipe looks cool but scalds my hand. Owie.

5:30 PM: Dremel the crap out of pipe. Clean it up, add flux to absolutely everything. Cram the joint on there. Sweat that sucker. All looks good.

5:40 PM: Let it cool, turn the water on carefully. It works. No leaks. I am the master of the universe!

Okay, maybe not the universe. And I think the score is more like Plumbing 3, Me 4, but whatever. 🙂

1 thought on “Plumbing 0, Me 1”

  1. Oh, man, that sounds like some of my plumbing adventures. Usually we would spend hours on a project, then give up and call a plumber in the morning.

    My rules:

    1) Never do auto body work yourself.

    2) Leaving plumbing work to plumbers.


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