Copper is often used for water pipes in homes. Given that they run against walls or under floors, it is possible that they can get dented.
Given that copper is quite strong, it is possible that you don’t have a leak when the pipe is dented. It is a weak point though that might eventually start to leak. Water leaks can result in a lot of damage.
While copper can last a long time, it can start to wear down if there are dents as the streaming water affects the weak point.
For this reason, it is important that you replace the dented copper pipe.
In the past plumbers used to solder pipes. This requires some tools and skills. Luckily there are now solutions on the market that allow you to fix a dented copper pipe yourself.
The first step is to turn off the main water supply or a nearby shut-off valve. Once this is done, you can drain the water in the pipes by opening the connected faucets. Once this is done, we can start the repair work! In most instances, this takes less than 30 minutes.
How to repair dented copper pipes?
-The most common method for connecting copper pipes without soldering is by using compression fittings that require a machine to close them.
-Recently push-on connections (or push to connect) such as Sharkbite have been introduced. These make it easy and fast to connect copper pipes. It’s easier than soldering and much quicker to fix any leaks or problems in your copper pipe. Some plumbers argue that they are not as strong as compression fittings though. Let’s explore this further.
What is compression fitting?
Soldering copper is a great way to combine pipes. However, it requires a lot of labor and can be done in the wrong way, causing leaks. This is why compression fittings have been introduced. A fitting is a piece that is wider than the copper pipes. It goes over the pipes and connects them. These are a lot easier to install and allow plumbers to work faster. Furthermore, you can do it with very few instructions.
You have to take the length of the fitting into consideration when you measure the pipe. The fitting has to slide deep enough over the pipe so that you don’t have a leak! Drawing a line on your pipes can help you to know where you have to install the fitting. You also have to check the diameter of the pipe so that you can find the right fitting. It is essential that you deburr your pipes before you use a compression fitting. This is done with a deburring tool.
Here is how to install it:
-A threaded compression fitting has 3 pieces (see the video above). Prepare your pipe by cutting it properly with a copper pipe cutter. Clean the pipe and use a deburring tool. Once this is done, you simply slide the three pieces of the compression fitting over the pipe and use two wrenches to tighten the nuts. It can be challenging to know how much you have to tighten them. Don’t overtighten the nuts as they can break.
What is a slide-on or push-to-connect fitting?
Machines for compression fittings are quite expensive and might not be accessible for DIY’ers. Recently push-on connections such as Sharkbite have been introduced. These make it easy and fast to connect copper pipes. You just have to slide the pipes in the fitting.
In some instances, you will get an indication if the pipe is deep enough. Once again, you have to keep the depth of the fitting into account when cutting the pipe. Deburr your pipes before you slide on the fitting.
Make sure that the pipes are clean and that no residue is found inside of them before using the fitting. Slide-on fittings are easier to remove than compression fittings so fixing a mistake is easier.
Some plumbers don’t like this type of fitting as they argue that it is less strong. While this is true, they can be a quick and easy way to repair a broken pipe. If you want to use this system behind walls and under floors is up to you. Read the instructions carefully before you start and check your local code to see what is possible.
Push-on fittings can be more expensive than compression fittings if you already have a machine for compression fittings.
The cost of a Sharkbite fitting will vary depending on the size. They typically run from $2 to $8, with the average costing about $4. It is important that you check if the connection is being made and test the fitting. Plumbers also test their system by adding water and seeing if the pressure drops after a while. Leaks should be avoided at all costs.
It is also possible to glue copper pipes together. Some plumbers don’t want to use this as they think that other options create a stronger connection between the pipes. Other plumbers enjoy using it. Make sure to do a pressure test when you use this approach. There is also a limit to the size of the pipes that this can be used with.
Another option: Clamp fitting
-A clamp fitting (see the video above) has to be closed with a machine. Then a machine closes the compression fitting with pressure. This machine is quite expensive and requires quite some maintenance so this is mainly intended for plumbers. You can also do this manually with a special tool but this requires a lot of force and can lead to mistakes. This is mainly used if you have to add a lot of fittings.
It is a great system and the compression fitting can last for a long time. You just have to be careful when you activate the machine. Rothenberger has geat machines for this. Cheaper brands might break sooner.
To conclude, we can state that a dented copper pipe should be replaced to avoid water damage. While there might not be a leak at first, you never know when it might start to break given that it is a weak point. As discussed before, repairing a copper pipe is quite easy.