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Pex to fix split (frozen) copper?

bhamberg
bhamberg Member Posts: 22
Have a vacant home that was not properly winterized and on DEWINT found a split 1/2" copper pipe, which, of course, is in a very small, unconditioned, crawl space.

Question; is it "code worthy" to replace a 2' section of 1/2" copper with 1/2" PEX?

If so, which PEX, and, even more importantly, is it acceptable to use a SharkBite fitting to connect? (absolutely no room to sweat-on a copper connector. And, yes, I'd use a ProPress fitting if I had the tool :|

Comments

  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,689
    Are you sure that’s the only spot? Is this on a heating line or domestic?
    steve
  • bhamberg
    bhamberg Member Posts: 22
    @STEVEusaPA - no, but I need to fix this one to pressure check. It is the supply leg of an old boiler system.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,927
    Not sure about code -- but as anything but a temporary repair to pressure test the system, I'd use ProPress. But yes, if you do a good job of cutting the bad pipe out, Sharkbites and PEX will do. For a temporary repair.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,516
    I'd use compression or flare fittings if you don't want to get a propress tool or replace enough with pex that you can sweat the connections.
    bhamberg
  • bhamberg
    bhamberg Member Posts: 22
    @mattmia2 / @Youngplumber - partially, yes. I can bring the PEX out into the basement area to sweat that side but the inner section I'm stuck. Assuming I can get it drained down enough to sweat I'd still need be right up against the floor joist and insulation. Here is a pic...



    (on a side note I've been "hankering" :O) to get the Milwaukee M18 ProPress but the kit comes with 1/2" to 2" jaws and I've never had a use for 1", let alone 2" and the bare tool hasn't been in stock for 9-months...)
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,760
    Dealt with some frozen soft copper in the past.
    The copper that did not split open had expanded from freezing enough to prevent any fittings...sweat....flare or compression from fitting over the tubing.

    You might have swollen copper not letting your fittings slide on the pipe.

    In my case, not wanting to replace all of the mess of cobbled soft copper that was flared together, I cut out the short piece that was split and swaged both of the old ends and soldered a new piece between the ends.
    bhamberg
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,293
    edited February 2021
    It’s not so easy to flare hard copper, and the wall thickness of M is not ideal for flare copper if you do soften it.
    There ared expander tools that go in a drill to expand a sweat socket. 
    I agree that the tube often swells on both sides of a split, making it hard to get a fitting on, and the tube is weakened when it swells, you often end up replacing sections not inches🙃 
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    bhamberg
  • superchimp
    superchimp Member Posts: 4
    Keep in mind you don't need to spend thousands on a Propress tool. There are hand-actuated tools out there in the $125-200 range which work very well. It's a little more work and they do not excel in confined spaces or next to tight fittings.
  • bhamberg
    bhamberg Member Posts: 22

    ...they do not excel in confined spaces or next to tight fittings.

    @superchimp - and the problem here is the (super) tight spacing

    bucksnort
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,516
    Is it the piece behind the steel or below/in front that is frozen? Does the other end just go up through the floor in to a basebaord or some other emitter or does it go through a wall cavity(I suppose if it is a wall cavity the chances are great you will need to replace that anyhow)?
  • bhamberg
    bhamberg Member Posts: 22
    edited February 2021
    @mattmia2 - it's the one that runs right next to the black iron pipe (if you look real close you can see the water spraying out. You can also see a union about 12" ahead of the spray. Pretty sure I'd cut it there, pull that section out into the basement and sweat on a pex connector there. It's inside the crawl space that'll be a problem...

    enlarged pic...
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,516
    oh, i see. i thought that was ice. but I don't see a union. i see coupler in the steel.
  • BenDplumber
    BenDplumber Member Posts: 31
    So do you know how to sweat copper? That's a pretty straight forward repair, cut tubing 3" on both sides of the split, shim tubing down a little to let tubing drain, slide a small piece of sheet metal between tubing and joist/black pipe, sweat in replacement piece of tubing with 2 couplings. If you don't have any play in the tubing use repair/ no stop couplings just make sure you mark the insertion depth. These repairs have been made by plumbers with torches for 60+ years, you'll only have minimal investment and bragging rights!
    Youngplumber
  • bhamberg
    bhamberg Member Posts: 22

    So do you know how to sweat copper?

    @BenDplumber - short answer is yes and, for a non-plumber, I think I'm "not bad" :O). (very) Long backstory here but, a field service company, shut off the electric and did not winterize the property correctly, which was the reason the pipe split in the first place.

    Of course, we get blamed and are tasked to fix it at no charge. It's done, leak free, bled out, running and up to code.