As you’ll surely read in my next post, I completed a small plumbing project this week. I had to change a bad well pressure tank out for a good one. While this wasn’t a difficult task, it did come with some quirky areas that made me lose some sleep at night. First, there was a tiny little drip that was stemming from the connection I made between the pipe fitting and the pressure tank and second, the existing copper pipes were a mess. They’ve been messy since we moved into this house and I simply couldn’t stand thinking about them anymore. It was getting under my skin, so I just had to clean them up. That’s what this post is about.
Let me start off with a discussion that covers whether you should use teflon tape or PTFE pipe thread sealant (pipe dope) for your threaded plumbing connections. Use the pipe dope. There, I’ve said it. For this project, I tried quite an average amount of teflon tape and my connection between the adapter and the pressure tank leaked. Then, I disassembled everything and put on more tape. After I put everything back together, I saw that the leak all but stopped. I’d get a drip about once every two minutes. This was highly annoying to live with, so this morning I went down and took everything apart again. I used some pipe dope I had on hand and there’s no more leak. Just remember, when using thread sealant, one apply it to the male connection. Never the female one. If you do that, you’ll end up with material inside your pipes and you don’t want that.
Okay, let’s get to the fun stuff. Here’s a photo of the plumbing before I did any work. Yes, I replaced the pressure tank yesterday, but I didn’t fix any of the piping.
Notice how the pipes are all crooked and ugly. Also notice how there is no stability on either side of the sediment filter. That filter was wobbling back and forth yesterday as I did my work down in the basement. Things were so loose that I thought something was going to break, so my second order of business this morning was to sure up the pipes on both sides of the filter. To do that, I drilled a few holes through some wooden blocks and into the concrete foundation wall with my awesome Dewalt concrete drill and then I attached two pressure treated 2×4 chunks to the wall. Then, I placed some thinner blocks of wood on top of the 2x4s and attached some clamps around the pipes with a few additional decking screws. It worked nicely. The concrete screws were very awesome and very expensive. I bought them a while back and they cost a fortune, but they do the trick. They sink right into the concrete about an inch and a half and those blocks or the pipes ain’t moving now.
I mounted these wooden blocks after I cut the pipe that was leading to them. I needed to do that to level out the rest of the pipe.
After that was completed, I measured out my pipes. All I needed was a few short pieces of 3/4 copper tubing, of which I have lots, and a T fitting. Since I could solder all this with it unattached from the system, I didn’t have to do any vertical soldering, which was nice. Again, I’m good at anything else but that. When I finished the soldering, I put all the pipes in place and hooked everything up. Good thing I used the SharkBite valve and coupling. Because yet again, I had to take these pipes apart and what a headache that would have been if it had been permanently soldered.
So now, I’ve got a sweet SharkBite ball valve leading to a copper elbow.
That elbow leads to a SharkBite coupling.
And that coupling leads up to my new and very pretty copper plumbing pipes. Please notice how straight and secure those pipes are. I’m finally happy.
Well, I’m almost happy. I’m not thrilled with the rubber hose that comes from the well pump and leads to the copper pipe, so I’ll have to change that out too. That will be another very exciting post for the future. Thanks for reading!