Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Copper Pipe Trial Assembly Coupling

I have a plumbing improvement to do in my home that I've put off for far too long. Finally, today, I went and bought all the material I'll need, and set about seriously thinking how to go about it.

The improvement to be done is to reroute the hot water supply to the kitchen sink. As it stands now, the run of copper pipe feeding the kitchen sink's faucet seems to go via the longest possible route, and a good part of it is concealed by the laundry room's finished ceiling, so I can't get at it to insulate it. It takes way too long to get hot water at the faucet, and that's both a nuisance and a waste.

Some years ago, I installed a dishwasher. While I was at it, I added a stub of capped-off pipe as a convenient point from which to begin the rerouting I had in mind. Here's a photograph of it.

The new installation will couple to the point where that cap currently resides, at the end of that pipe stub going off to the left.

I'm not looking forward to this. It's going to be an intricate job, with ductwork here and there to be manoeuvred around -- not a straightforward run of pipe at all. And I'm not a speedy plumber; this will take hours.

Add to that that I dislike having the house's water supply shut off for long periods, and I got motivated to come up with a means of temporarily creating a secure trial pipe 'connection' that would let me do a great deal of the new installation without having to have the water supply shut off and the system drained. Here's what I came up with.

That's a two-inch length of hardwood broomstick with a 29/32" diameter. I bored it 3/4" diameter for 5/8" to fit over a 1/2" cap[1], then bored it 5/8" diameter the rest of the way through to fit 1/2" pipe. With a slot cut down its length and three hose clamps added, it's an effective enough clamp for what I have in mind. This 'coupling' will give me a dry, secure and accurate starting point from which to commence assembling my hot water reroute, like this:

I can take my own sweet time working out all the zigs and zags, and solder up almost all of it without having the house's water supply shut off. When all is ready, then I'll drain the system and make the final connections. It should make for a much less irritating, disruptive job.

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1. Half-inch copper pipe is exactly 5/8" outside diameter, so that's easy to accurately bore for. Half-inch caps are another story. Their outside diameter is about 1/32" less than 3/4". So, a cap needs to have a few turns of masking or electrical tape wrapped around it for this 'coupling' to fit snugly.

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