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Thread: Plumbing quick-fix

  1. #1
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    Plumbing quick-fix

    'Lo!

    I just had a fun little fix I had to do on the weekend. This is an old house - probably built around 1900; there are pictures of it with a very full and complete garden in 1903 - so things like plumbing have been fixed and replaced a few times. I think this bit was last repaired some time in the '70's. Anyhoo; it was a small repair - a pinhole leak just at the solder point of a T-joint on the water inlet line. Hey, no problem at all - just shut the water off, cut the old Tee away, install a one-dollar copper tee and solder it in.

    Of course, we didn't have a Tee or solder so off to the hardware store. While there, someone pointed out Gator-bites; a quick-fix solution. Now - I don't like quick-fixes; I'd prefer to get the copper and do a proper soldering job, but a couple of plumbers there confirmed that these gizmos really are good, solid repair options. So, I decided to give one a try.

    Wow - these Gator-bites really DO work! I was surprised at how quick and easy they were. The hardest part was cutting off the old Tee - a one minute job. Then slip, slip, slip...on went the Gator-bite; and boom - job done. Very nice.

    I'm assuming that others here have used these; or the similar Shark-bites. It looks like a perfect fix but the solder-and-blowtorch caveman in me is slightly dubious - it just seemed too easy. Still, I've got a new gizmo to play with - I like these new things!
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

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  2. #2
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    I wasn't familiar with Gator-bites, and I'm amused that when I googled them that about half the hits were for plumbing parts, and half for little pieces of deep fried alligator.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I wasn't familiar with Gator-bites, and I'm amused that when I googled them that about half the hits were for plumbing parts, and half for little pieces of deep fried alligator.
    ...But only half of them actually taste like chicken.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  4. #4
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    Not for nothing but there is nothing like a good, clean solder joint. Anyone is well served by owning a propane torch, abrasive cloth, soldering paste,
    some fittings and a small length of copper tubing. " If it's clean , fluxed and heated .... it will solder.
    Clamps and rubber sleeves are ok for vents and drains , if applied properly, but I only trust solder. But that's my preference.
    Quick fix??? Fine. BUT...... go back and make a repair, so that you don't wind up in a fix !!

  5. #5
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    A few years ago, I had to replace an outside faucet at my house. Normally my "fix-it" skills are limited to searching the "Plumber" entry in the Yellow Pages, but I was feeling poor and had too much time on my hands.

    Buy faucet.

    Buy torch

    Buy flux

    Buy lead-free solder

    The pipe is now too short.

    Buy pipe and pipe cutters.

    Look where I'd be soldering.

    Get piece of drywall to place between torch and floor joists.

    Solder. Do note that I hadn't done plumbing soldering ever

    Hey, it even worked: no leaks. And it only cost about $50.
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  6. #6
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    I think I mentioned this in one of my DIY threads but I used a few of the GatorBITE (Lowe's version of SharkBite) fittings during my master bath remodel. They've worked quite well but I'm still leery of using them in enclosed applications even though they are allowed under many/most local codes. While I roughed in the stubs for our spa tub using copper and sweat fittings, I didn't want to get a flame anywhere near the tub's lovely plastic piping, so I made the final connection using PEX and GatorBITEs. Besides straight couplers, this also included a pair of full bore shut off valves. A note about the latter: while the connections are solid and dry, the coupling mechanisms do allow the valve bodies to spin pretty freely. It's not necessarily a bad thing but it is an odd thing compared to sweat fitting valves.

  7. #7
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    I like the sharkbites and gatorbites, but they are a tad expensive when compared to the old fashion doohickeys. However, the time savings and simplicity are very, very attractive.

    The last time I did some soldering, I experienced a typical incident for my skill level. I was putting in a dishwasher and figured I could also replace our tub faucet. These two minor jobs expanded when I realized there was a single water shut off at the meter. Annoying. I decided that I would put shutoffs on the kitchen sink, bathroom sink, the sanitary sink in the basement and tub faucet.

    So I set to work making fittings for each location, using my front porch as a workbench. I measured, measured and cut then began soldering. This is different than cut, swear, cut, swear, then measure, which is my usual MO. I looked like a pro... for a few minutes.

    Eight little turnoff values, with the associated pipe extensions and elbows and stuff. (I missed the fact that bathroom sinks have different pipes and this is unnecessary for them. Not worthy of a swear, but on par for me.) At about the fifth value, a neighbor came over and asked what I was doing. I grabbed a valve to show him. I had maybe a 2 in 5 chance of not grabbing a screaming hot copper pipe and failed miserably.

    Next time, I'll buy the expensive things even though it isn't as cool as using a torch.
    Solfe

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    Having an old metal bucket nearby with water in it is always useful. And... for many reasons.

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    I'm going to agree with everyone that prefers a good solder in a simple repair like this. The good thing about using a gator-bite in this circumstance is that it was in an easily-reachable and -checkable location, so if any problems arise it'll be no difficulty with simply taking the thing off and soldering on a good copper Tee, They were new (to me), I was assured by plumbers that they were good, so I tried it. I don't think I will again, given the opportunity I prefer a solder. I like these new things as quick-fixes, and they work great but there's no sense of satisfaction in a job well done, if you follow. Soldering is easy, but it's gratifying to make a good cut, ream, emery, flux, fit and solder and have the result look clean, neat and professional.
    End result: I think these things - Gator-Bites - are an excellent addition to a home's basic tool kit, especially if the owner doesn't know (or is nervous to try) soldering, but a meter or so of 1/2" pipe, a couple of 90's and a Tee or two - as well as a solder kit is far better.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by NorthernDevo; 2015-Nov-10 at 06:22 AM.
    "The difference between theory and practice is that in theory, there's no difference."

    "Aikido: the art of hitting people with planets."

  10. #10
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    the general class of fittings that use an o ring seal plus a grab ring have been extensively tested and passed for hot and cold plumbing and apart from quick fix, have some advantages, the joint can rotate so it is adaptable to flexing in the pipework and avoids the ingress of lead and fluxes into the water. I have used them on steam lines too with success. there is some luddite sentiment here about solder, sure its great but technology moves on.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    the general class of fittings that use an o ring seal plus a grab ring have been extensively tested and passed for hot and cold plumbing and apart from quick fix, have some advantages, the joint can rotate so it is adaptable to flexing in the pipework and avoids the ingress of lead and fluxes into the water. I have used them on steam lines too with success. there is some luddite sentiment here about solder, sure its great but technology moves on.
    Except for the one the plumber used for installing an outside faucet on my house (line easily accessible inside the garage), which allows the whole fixture to rotate when you try to turn the knob.
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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