Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Real Life Project #1: My First In-Home Soldering Attempt

Pictured here is some of the excitement that can be seen in almost any basement. There is an old "saddle valve" from the hot water line (coming out of the hot water tank) to the furnace humidifier. When we bought this house, the previous owner told us that we'd need to hire a plumber to replace this valve, and he suggested that we get them to put in a proper ball valve. So, this will be my first real life plumbing project.

Paul, the Central Tech night school instructor, has told me what needs to be done. I need to buy a 1/2" solder to 1/4" compression brass ball valve. I need to get a soldering torch, some lead free solder, some flux, and lots of nerve. I'm going to borrow the pipe cutters from my friend Matthew. And then, I am going to shut off the water, drain the water from the copper pipes, and then CUT INTO the copper pipe coming out of the hot water heater, and put in a new valve. Seems pretty easy, right? Afterall, I did solder that copper dog, right??

Paul does not seemed fazed by my suggestion of cutting into the hot water supply to my house. But then he told me about the first time he "tried" to solder in a house. It didn't go well, because there was water in the line, and the torch was not hot enough, and the fittings would not solder. I picture this happening to me. And then me calling a plumber to come and fix everything, so that we can have hot water in our house again. And the plumber laughing at me.

Right now I am focusing on getting all the tools and supplies together. I'll look for the courage later.

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