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How To Drain Copper Water Lines To Make Repairs

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

My Broken Water Pipes Are Full Of Water!!!!

What am I going to do?

Stress Kills

How to drain copper water lines to make repairs, is something every home owner who's also the handyman will eventually have to figure out. Getting all the water out of the pipe, is a necessity before soldering repairs can be made.

This sounds like it should be an easy task. That's not always the case and sometimes it can seem downright impossible and a serviceman is inevitably called costing a small fortune because you worked on it first yourself.

Don't call the plumber just yet. One common reason that people have trouble with this, is a simple physics issue. Yes, water does run down hill. The problem is, in order for water to leave a space, (inside the pipe in this case) then something, must replace the water. Otherwise what we have is a vacuum. 

When your working in the basement, the water lines above you go up to the plumbing fixtures. These can feed sinks, toilets, showers and tubs. These lines, (faucets) and any other possible vacuum relief points, should all be opened completely. This will allow air to get into the pipes to fill the space the water makes as it exits.

The only other way the water can get out is to collapse the pipe. Something has to fill that space. Once the vacuum at the top of the system is relieved, the water will easily drain from the lowest point. This will allow you to make your repairs.

One last little hint on this point would be to remember to turn off all the faucets and valves you opened. This way you won't flood your house when you turn the water back on after the repair is completed.

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I Still Have The Water In The Pipe

What now?

Once you've relieved the vacuum, your lines should drain naturally. If you still have an issue after this then you may have a trap in the line. A trap will hold residual water after most of its drained.

The solution for this problem will depend on a few factors. One sure-fire way is to blow the water out. This can be accomplished with an ordinary wet dry vac. Install the vacuum hose on the outlet side of your vacuum. This will give you a nice stream of available air. Now with the drain open on the bottom of the system, place the hose over each open faucet, one at a time and blow out the line. Use your hand or a bunched up plastic bag to seal around the faucet spout.

An alternative method is to use the same wet dry vac on the drain and suck out the water. Either way usually results in a satisfactory solution to getting the water out of the broken pipe.

Make your repairs and close all the faucets. Turn the water back on and your done. Saving a ton of money in the mean time.

Today's contractor rates will give you a small heart attack so saving in this way, in these times, makes a lot of sense. How to drain copper water lines to make repairs is something you'll need to know how to do.

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