Friday, December 18, 2015


Four years ago, I had never soldered a pipe in my life. My previous house had PVC which is pretty easy to work with as far as plumbing goes. This one had copper and in the years since we purchased it, I've gotten fairly adept at soldering, mostly because of things like what you see above that makes me scratch my head.

The pipe above leads out to a water spigot in our garage. I never used it much until I bought a pressure washer to use around the cars and the house and now I use it quite often. However it had two problems. The first problem was that after I tore out the garage floor (along with driveway and sidewalks) and got them repoured so that they sloped the correct ways, the spigot ended up close to the floor. This meant that I had to really force a good quality (and thus stiff) hose to get it screwed onto the spigot. The second problem was that the screws attaching the spigot to the garage wall apparently had nothing to bite into to hold it in place. I couldn't figure out why until I removed the ceiling in our office and saw the above. Harder to see but because there were no screws holding the spigot in place, it was bent downwards which angled the spout part close to the wall in the garage making it even more difficult to attach a hose to it.

Apparently from the evidence at hand, someone didn't have a drill bit big enough for 1/2" copper piping so they did the old drill four holes and connect the holes with a jigsaw trick. The only problem is that there wasn't anything left to screw too to hold the spigot firmly in place. So they put a scrap piece of fiber sheathing which is like compressed insulation over the hole and screwed into that which of course didn't hold for more than a couple uses.

Above are the tools of the trade, probably about $75 worth of stuff if you include the several bags of copper fittings I have out in the garage. These tools have saved me probably 10 times that amount by allowing me to fix things myself instead of having to hire something done. The copper pipe assembly is something I soldered up ahead of time so I didn't have to spend much time doing so in the narrow confines of the half stud bay where the pipe was located.

Since I had to move the spigot anyway to a new location where there was some wood left to screw into, I moved it closer to the center of the garage where it would be more useful. It also allowed me to salvage about four feet of copper pipe to use on a later project so technically, I saved money by fixing this if you don't count my labor. Above is the new solidly mounted pipe.

Finally here is a picture of a messy garage floor and baseboard showing the old spigot on the right and the new spigot on the left. After taking this picture I removed the old spigot completely and after screwing a piece of scrap across the hole on the inside, foamed the hole on the outside. Sometime in the spring, I will trim the foam flush, spackle over it and nobody will be the wiser, unless they happen to remove the ceiling and look up in the joist bay of the office.


Vince said...

Lovely job.

Ed said...

Vince - All in a day's work.

Kelly said...

Still surgery to me, but perhaps not brain surgery as I do understand more about plumbing than I do electricity. Once upon a time, when I could draw floor plans, I at least knew pretty much what I was doing on paper.

When we built our house almost 30 years ago, we did most of it in cast iron and copper. I tend to like PVC now.

Ed said...

Kelly - If I had to do it again, I'm not sure what I would use for house plumbing. I like the convenience of copper because I can have a bag of several style fittings and can pretty much plumb the whole house. The drawback is that copper is noisy when water is flowing through it. PVC on the other hand had hundreds of fittings that are needed depending on the situation but it is quiet when water is flowing through it. Both are easily modified but PVC doesn't need a cool down time before handling. I like having copper pipes versus plastics with who know what in them. Copper takes us less room in wall cavities. It's about a horse a piece in my mind.

sage said...

Wow, you have been busy.