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Soldered copper pipes vs crimp pipe connections, which last longer?

jeantjeant Posts: 3Member
I am concerned about the longevity of crimped copper pipe fittings. I am worried the seals will fail faster than the pipe or solder joint would. From my experience soldered copper pipes seemed to have endured for a very long time. I am not sure how well the crimped fittings seal will last. From my limited perspective and generally speaking, soldered joints will last the life of the house. Does any one else have an opinion on this?

Comments

  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,684Member
    Soldering dates back 5000 years or so. Egyptians used copper pipe somewhere around 2100 BC. I think the 1940 were about when soldered copper became the go to connection.

    The o-ring connection in press copper, probably a 20- 25 year track record in the US. 1989 is when Viega developed press technology.

    Time will tell. Either connection could fail under the right, or wrong fluid conditions, or assembly technique.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • jeantjeant Posts: 3Member
    Thanks Bob!
    Looks like soldered copper has about a 80 track record and that's good enough for me.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,684Member
    I think press fittings were designed as time savers, repair fittings, etc. They are also good if you need to get around hot permit work.
    Not because we were seeing a lot of solder joints failing.

    Any press or grip fitting with just a small o-ring seal make you wonder. As new and stronger chemicals are being added to public water systems the O ring material needs to be compatible.

    Similar issue in the automotive industry with ethanol based fuels. Older carbureted engines were not assembled with seals and hoses that always get along with alcohol based fuels.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,127Member
    edited May 30
    We've been using ProPress for about 10 years with no problems. That includes solar installations where the water can get above 260* and the fluid is 35% glycol.

    And we're talking about thousands and thousands of joints.
    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,684Member
    Ironman said:

    We've been using ProPress for about 10 years with no problems. That includes solar installations where the water can get above 260* and the fluid is 35% glycol.

    And we're talking about thousands and thousands of joints.

    Bob, do you use the high temperature FKM Viega o-rings on solar, or the standard EPDM?

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 5,127Member
    hot_rod said:

    Ironman said:

    We've been using ProPress for about 10 years with no problems. That includes solar installations where the water can get above 260* and the fluid is 35% glycol.

    And we're talking about thousands and thousands of joints.

    Bob, do you use the high temperature FKM Viega o-rings on solar, or the standard EPDM?

    High temp.

    Bob Boan


    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    Here's a different way to look at it.

    I'm sure welded stainless steel pipe would outlast all of it under most conditions. But you don't want to pay for that.

    Perhaps the question is which product is priced the best for a reasonable life span?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Posts: 632Member
    ChrisJ said:

    Here's a different way to look at it. . . . . you don't want to pay for that.

    Perhaps the question is which product is priced the best for a reasonable life span?

    Chris,

    That of course includes the opportunity costs of the different systems in labor. I didn't actually get into press fittings until I had to renovated an eight apartment manifolded water
    service with 2, 1 and 1/2 and 1 and 1/4 copper piping that had , on the hot side, started to develop pin hole leaks in the hot side basement transits before the risers. See attached picture.

    This was maybe 40 year old installation when this started. I've never seen anything quite like it. Forget about solder joints failing. This was just the pipe itself. With 30 feet of head above me this would have been a horrendous bear to dry this for resolder and the size of pipe would have made shark alternatives a real PIA as well.

    I had been wrapping rubber roofing with hose clamps on the pipes where i could get to them but some of this ran through finished ceilings and i was starting to see spots there. I changed the piping routes and had the whole thing fixed in about 3 hours with the press tool. I was convinced.

    Although its true we don't yet know the full track record on this technology and I am often around to deal having to deal with my own mistakes 40 years later (well, I didn't do the initial piping here, I was 12 when it went in) but I'm prepared to see how this goes but the torch is still ready to go and for complicated dry prebuilt hydronic manifolds and close boiler piping I still like the solder but when I had to swap some low mass boilers in a hurry during heating season, was glad I had that crimp tool.

    I have to admit opportunity cost is adding up in its favor. I hope I'm not creating and more problems for later albeit my experience with this cooper pipe system makes me wonder if the pipe can't last as long as the joining system whether fretting about the joining is as worth it as I thought.

    Brian


  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,684Member
    Something causes copper to corrode like that. Flux, electrolysis, aggressive water, maybe a combination.

    Copper had been on roofs in Europe for hundreds of years, exposed to all sorts of weather and pollution conditions.

    Even with balanced Ph, I wonder that some of the new water treatment chemicals used in public water treatment are going after copper when all conditions line up?

    A switch of water source and treatments had a lot to do with Flint, Michigan water problems.

    My thought is any rubber or composite has a life expectancy.. Usually exposure to UV and O2 quicken the breakdown of rubber based components. Trapped in a fitting UV probably not and issue, some O2 contact I suppose. In addition to whatever chemicals contact the O-ring.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,997Member
    edited June 3

    ChrisJ said:

    Here's a different way to look at it. . . . . you don't want to pay for that.

    Perhaps the question is which product is priced the best for a reasonable life span?

    Chris,

    That of course includes the opportunity costs of the different systems in labor. I didn't actually get into press fittings until I had to renovated an eight apartment manifolded water
    service with 2, 1 and 1/2 and 1 and 1/4 copper piping that had , on the hot side, started to develop pin hole leaks in the hot side basement transits before the risers. See attached picture.

    This was maybe 40 year old installation when this started. I've never seen anything quite like it. Forget about solder joints failing. This was just the pipe itself. With 30 feet of head above me this would have been a horrendous bear to dry this for resolder and the size of pipe would have made shark alternatives a real PIA as well.

    I had been wrapping rubber roofing with hose clamps on the pipes where i could get to them but some of this ran through finished ceilings and i was starting to see spots there. I changed the piping routes and had the whole thing fixed in about 3 hours with the press tool. I was convinced.

    Although its true we don't yet know the full track record on this technology and I am often around to deal having to deal with my own mistakes 40 years later (well, I didn't do the initial piping here, I was 12 when it went in) but I'm prepared to see how this goes but the torch is still ready to go and for complicated dry prebuilt hydronic manifolds and close boiler piping I still like the solder but when I had to swap some low mass boilers in a hurry during heating season, was glad I had that crimp tool.

    I have to admit opportunity cost is adding up in its favor. I hope I'm not creating and more problems for later albeit my experience with this cooper pipe system makes me wonder if the pipe can't last as long as the joining system whether fretting about the joining is as worth it as I thought.

    Brian


    My guess with the pipes pictured is ferrous debris which has settled out in the horizontals. Given the right water chemistry they will form little cysts that will eat the pipe.

    I think that sweat copper fittings which are properly installed will outlast press fittings. Lots of bad installs both ways, probably more bad sweat connections.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    Zman said:

    ChrisJ said:

    Here's a different way to look at it. . . . . you don't want to pay for that.

    Perhaps the question is which product is priced the best for a reasonable life span?

    Chris,

    That of course includes the opportunity costs of the different systems in labor. I didn't actually get into press fittings until I had to renovated an eight apartment manifolded water
    service with 2, 1 and 1/2 and 1 and 1/4 copper piping that had , on the hot side, started to develop pin hole leaks in the hot side basement transits before the risers. See attached picture.

    This was maybe 40 year old installation when this started. I've never seen anything quite like it. Forget about solder joints failing. This was just the pipe itself. With 30 feet of head above me this would have been a horrendous bear to dry this for resolder and the size of pipe would have made shark alternatives a real PIA as well.

    I had been wrapping rubber roofing with hose clamps on the pipes where i could get to them but some of this ran through finished ceilings and i was starting to see spots there. I changed the piping routes and had the whole thing fixed in about 3 hours with the press tool. I was convinced.

    Although its true we don't yet know the full track record on this technology and I am often around to deal having to deal with my own mistakes 40 years later (well, I didn't do the initial piping here, I was 12 when it went in) but I'm prepared to see how this goes but the torch is still ready to go and for complicated dry prebuilt hydronic manifolds and close boiler piping I still like the solder but when I had to swap some low mass boilers in a hurry during heating season, was glad I had that crimp tool.

    I have to admit opportunity cost is adding up in its favor. I hope I'm not creating and more problems for later albeit my experience with this cooper pipe system makes me wonder if the pipe can't last as long as the joining system whether fretting about the joining is as worth it as I thought.

    Brian


    My guess with the pipes pictured is ferrous debris which has settled out in the horizontals. Given the right water chemistry they will form little cysts that will eat the pipe.

    I think that sweat copper fittings which are properly installed will outlast press fittings. Lots of bad installs both ways, probably more bad sweat connections.
    What about properly installed pex A systems?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Posts: 632Member
    edited June 3
    Zman said:



    My guess with the pipes pictured is ferrous debris which has settled out in the horizontals. Given the right water chemistry they will form little cysts that will eat the pipe.

    Of course Luigi Galvani has to be involved. The city water pipes up this way are a mishmash of old oak mains and cast iron growing god knows what inside. Moreso than any other buildings on this same water system, I have notice that this building manifests clogged aerators like going out of style with no question iron oxide amongst the constituents of the clogs.

    No other buildings in the immediate vicinity though show the same problem. Perhaps the aggressive manifolding keeps flows rates down meaning more deposition in the piping. The only manifestation of leaks is on the hot side. Obviously the water purification chemistry has gotten more aggressive in the last couple decades and the first of these instances showed up maybe a decade ago.

    So on another note, we're now ondemand hot water which we installed during the pipe rerouting and replacement in the basement. There was an old gravity based hot water recirc with a half inch branch off the top of each hot manifold returning to the cold water feed to the water heater. It was only marginally effective anyway and a source, in my mind, of festering who knows what being stored with all the crap coming in from the city. In hindsight, whole house filtration would have been appropriate here but I'm only discovering all these issues 45 years down the line from this major replumb - and I must say that the folks who did it wouldn't have known that this house was a particular vector for every bit of crap in the system for some reason.

    Anyway, would a recirc pump generated enough flow on the closed system to trigger the hot water heater and any clever occupancy sensors (I'm even thinking a pushbutton to use a couple minutes before you want hot water).

    Sorry for the thread jack and have another because, speaking of pex alternatives, I'm trying to drive attention to my other question about pex tooling for these bigger pipe sizes

    brian


  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 277Member
    RE: the hot water piping leaks. We had a similar problem with 6 to 8 pinhole leaks in a short time on only hot water piping. We thought it might have been the 14 year old electric hot water heater likely losing its internal coating and replaced it to prevent galvanic corrosion in the hot water piping. But, then about 3 months after replacing the water heater we had a short in the electric company's underground feed to the house, which may have caused current through the grounded piping. So, I'd check the water heater lining and anode, and also check that there are no stray currents through the piping. Our piping looked exactly the same as the picture and had a small particle on the inside where the pinhole leak occurred.
  • JellisJellis Posts: 128Member
    The viega website states:
    Q: How long will the EPDM seal last?

    A: When properly installed, the EPDM seal and
    connection will last as long as the copper pipe
    that joins it, 50 years. This is confirmed in NSF-61
    test reports.
  • archibald tuttlearchibald tuttle Posts: 632Member
    Jellis,

    interesting, is there a link to that report? Are there many joints that have been in service for 50 years in differing applications that give rise to this broad confidence or is this a modeled understanding of the material physics involved?
  • hot_rodhot_rod Posts: 11,684Member
    Jellis said:

    The viega website states:
    Q: How long will the EPDM seal last?

    A: When properly installed, the EPDM seal and
    connection will last as long as the copper pipe
    that joins it, 50 years. This is confirmed in NSF-61
    test reports.


    I think NSF-61 is a standard that assure the components are safe for potable water. I don't know it has anything to do with a 50 year life assurance?
    Manufacturers can do accelerated testing to predict life cycle if the product has not been around for 50 years, for example.

    https://blog.polyprocessing.com/blog/what-is-nsf-ansi-standard-61-and-why-does-it-matter

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • JellisJellis Posts: 128Member
    I found this when poking around the FAQ section of their pocket guide
    https://www.viega.us/content/dam/viega/aem_online_assets/download_assets/us/pgpp_724604_0319_propress_systems.pdf

    It also states 50 years in their limited warranty documentation.

    IDK what NSF 61 has to do with it, i just copied their verbage
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 9,916Member
    EPDM is a very common rubber, it's not limited to press seals.

    The world has a whole lot of experience with it and an understanding of how it will behave and last.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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