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Old 11-17-2009, 05:35 PM   #1
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soldered copper vs. compression fittings

installing my new fresh water tank, I found that one of the old soldered fittings had someone worked loose- I went to move the tubing, the fitting started to rotate and came apart. SO, I replaced the whole little spider of pipes going into the tank, the gate valve for the drain and the drain. I've sweat soldered miles of pipe in my life, but somehow thought I'd use compression fittings instead. Maybe to avoid using the torch in such close quarters, or maybe because I think the comp fittings are cool, but I wondered if anyone else had had soldered fittings work loose over years and years? It was the full, half inch depth of the joint that came loose and twisted out. I thought that the comp fittings give you the opportunity to fix stuff if there is a problem, rather than having to deal with soldering. Thoughts are appreciated.

Peter
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Globie64 View Post
installing my new fresh water tank, I found that one of the old soldered fittings had someone worked loose- I went to move the tubing, the fitting started to rotate and came apart. SO, I replaced the whole little spider of pipes going into the tank, the gate valve for the drain and the drain. I've sweat soldered miles of pipe in my life, but somehow thought I'd use compression fittings instead. Maybe to avoid using the torch in such close quarters, or maybe because I think the comp fittings are cool, but I wondered if anyone else had had soldered fittings work loose over years and years? It was the full, half inch depth of the joint that came loose and twisted out. I thought that the comp fittings give you the opportunity to fix stuff if there is a problem, rather than having to deal with soldering. Thoughts are appreciated.

Peter

I am in the process of replumbing my house and Airstream. The house is getting full copper with sweated fittings. The Airstream is getting Pex with the compressed rings and/or compression fittings where I don't have a choice. I don't generally like compression fittings, because I have had them work lose before.

I prefer copper for the house for a variety of reasons, the reason I don't like it in my trailer is because of the vibration. It can cause problems, I also don't think the quality of copper piping is quite as good as it was years ago. The PEX has the advantage of being easy to work around a bend, comes in colors for easy and quick pipe ID and will take a light freeze with no damage.

Aaron
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Old 11-17-2009, 06:47 PM   #3
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I agree with Aaron, I'm slowly going Pex because of the durability and ease of installation. Should a fitting break, easier to repair down the road.

Al
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Old 11-17-2009, 08:26 PM   #4
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Hi Peter,

If you’re going to keep copper pipes in your trailer for whatever reason, I would use soldered fittings over compression ones. Just seems to me that compression fittings could much more easily work loose with the vibration of going down the road. For close quarters, I would build a sub-assembly out in the open, and then install that down into the closed-in area, connecting to copper pipe someplace above the floor where soldering access is easy. I’ve done the same type of thing in plumbing projects in the house.

Like so many others, I will be doing all the fresh water plumbing in Little Girl in pex once we get to that point. I like the flexibility, lack of soldering, and freeze tolerance that pex provides over copper. I’d have used it in my house if it was available and allowed by my local building codes when I was re-doing the plumbing.

Chris
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Old 11-17-2009, 09:24 PM   #5
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PEX!

I redid my Overlander in copper about 7 years ago and recently redid it in PEX. The copper hadn't failed in any way, but having to religiously blow it out if the temps were dropiping below 26 or so, made PEX the obvious choice.

Some places need to be done with copper, like where you need physical stability, but these locations MUST be totally garvity drainable by simply opening valves,if you ever intend on cold weather camping.

Zep
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:16 AM   #6
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I have re-plumbed the entire kitchen area of our Airstream using PEX as was the original plumbing. As suggested, I also built the entire system on the floor, while checking the fit, and made the last connection for the install in a cabinet down the line that had plenty of room for the crimp tool.

As for durability of PEX, each and every old connection that I cut out of the existing system, was as bright and clean as new under the crimp ring. Based on the findings with my system, if the crimp rings are tightly compressed, the whole system should have as long of a life span as any other plumbing system.

Steve
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Old 11-18-2009, 12:25 PM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback, it's all a huge help. I guess it's a case of what you're used to, but maybe I'll experiment with the pex. We use it here in hydronic heating systems, and I've seen it installed. It is also allowed here for domestic water plumbing. We don't get freezing temperatures here, and I don't know that we'll be going snow camping, so the freezing isn't an imminent issue, but something to consider. I hadn't disassembled the whole bath area and am using the existing copper, although after seeing the white gunk that came out when I began flushing the system, I may rethink going to something else. I figured that given the broad area of contact with the comp fittings that it would take a lot for it to work loose. Thanks again
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