There are many reasons a copper pipe can get a hole in it. A power failure can shut down your heating system and allow the pipe to freeze. Improper winterisation of unheated seasonal facilities can cause the same thing. Perhaps a nail driven into a wall to hang a picture can hit a copper pipe and perforate it. In most cases, the best and strongest remedy is to cut out the damaged pipe and replace with new. If that’s not an option or not a very convenient option, it’s usually possible to repair the pipe as good as new or nearly so.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Emery cloth
- Lead free solder wire
- Soldering flux
- Popane torch
- Ballpeen hammer
Access the pipe and remove any flammable materials in the immediate vicinity.
Examine the hole to see if the size of it can be reduced. If it’s a split pipe, use pliers or a ball peen hammer to pinch or tap the edges of the split back together as closely as possible.
Remove every bit of water from the pipe by shutting off the water source, letting all the water drain out the hole or by opening a faucet or other drain to allow the water to leave the pipe.
Prepping for Work
Use a small piece of emery cloth to shine the copper down to “new” metal at the site of the split and at least a quarter inch to either side of the split and a quarter inch from each end of the split.
Apply a layer of soldering flux to all the cleaned areas of the pipe.
Use a propane torch to thoroughly heat the pipe at the site of the repair for about 15 seconds.
Touch the end of the solder wire to the pipe, melting enough of it to coat the pipe and cover the hole with molten solder, which will cool and become a patch covering the crack or perforation in the pipe.
Turn on the water to see if the patch job was successful.
Patching the Hole
Tips and warnings
- The success rate on this sort of repair varies. If the first try doesn’t do it, it won’t hurt anything to try again a couple of more times before replacing the section of broken or perforated pipe with new.
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