Once upon a time,
there was a leak.
It appeared about a year ago, in my garage near the furnace – an occasional drip on the floor. I was avoiding it, since it came out of a mess of ductwork. I figured it was condensation from the AC line or something.
Then that little puddle on the floor started getting a bit bigger, and the whole situation just didn’t seem to be going away on its own (sigh).
It turned out that the leak came from above an 8″ duct, from a short branch of 1/2” copper line that fed cold water to the guest bathroom sink. Green corrosion marked it in three spots.
After getting the duct out of the way, it looked like I could cut out the length of copper and sweat in a new section pretty easily… Until I saw that one leak was directly under a joist, and that the double-elbow immediately after it angled up between two joists with only about 4” clearance. Well then.
Luckily, this is the point at which I stopped and pondered. Where do I make the second cut to the line? I can fit my small cutter up in that 4” hollow, but there’s no way I can sweat the pipe in there. Wait a minute – there’s no way that the original plumber sweat it in there to begin with. I don’t see scorch marks on the joists. He must have assembled it first, then slid it up behind the bathroom vanity … which means I could go up and disconnect the copper upstairs and slide the whole thing down. Did I mention that I really didn’t want to re-create that stupid double-elbow?
Now I’m upstairs, hauling the kids’ bathroom stuff out of the vanity and looking around with a flashlight. Sigh. This will only complicate things more … I’ll have to go into the wall to make this happen. IT SHOULDN’T NEED TO BE THIS COMPLICATED!
As I trudged back downstairs, I thought ‘This might be the perfect reason to use one of those SharkBite things.’ I’d never used a push connector before, but it was enthusiastically recommended to me by a plumber who came to advise me on how to fix my hot water tank.
Off to the store for a 1/2” in-line connector. I also had to buy the SharkBite release (a bit of plastic not included with the part itself) which was annoying, but so it goes.
I dry fit the connector on a bit of pipe beforehand (still congratulating myself for that) to measure how much it added to the length, and to see how the release worked.
So, here’s what I did next …
1. Cut the existing copper line at about 3” up into the hollow.
2. Cut the copper at about 3” from the T.
3. Un-sweat (?) the double elbow from the leaky bit.
4. Measured the replacement copper and sweat it to the double-elbow.
5. Set the SharkBite on the pipe end in the hollow.
6. Pushed the replacement copper section into the other end of the SharkBite. I had good wiggle room to align the other end of the copper with the existing line.
7. Used a coupling to sweat the line closed again.
I was concerned about whether I might damage the SharkBite when I sweat the other end (about 18” away), but when the water went on again, everything was tight. Hooray for me (I’ll take every little victory I can get).
So it was a perfect job for a push-connector. I don’t know how I’d have done it otherwise. Of course, hiring someone was out of the question…
A SharkBite is a brand of universal
push-to-connect fitting system.
This allows for a sealed pipe
connection without soldering.
[Learn more about Sharkbite]