fun with fire

I finally purchased the water softener I had my eye on and this past weekend was the big install.

The people who sold it to me said I could hook it up with Gator/Shark Bite - no soldering required.  That sounded good to me!  But the local plumbing store advised me against that strategy and sold me the soldering tools and supplies.  I suspect they just didn't have the right parts to sell me.  But I decided it was easier to go with the soldering plan since I was already there.

Supplies gathered and ready to go

This looks like a lot of work...

In prep for this job, I had measured the in-house water pressure and found it to be 100psi.  Hmm, I guess the pressure regulator is no longer functioning.  So I bought one of those too.

Can you believe this regulator was no longer functioning?

I watched a couple of youtube videos on soldering and it didn't look too bad.

My first solder joint - slightly messy.  Not the first photo I've taken but yes, it's slightly blurry.

I had 12 joints to solder.  I did the first 10 before I turned off the water to the house.  Naturally, the last two were the reassembly after punching a hole in my main water line.

All 10 joints soldered (not including the in and out of the main water line).

Now for the fun times...

Gulp - cutting the main line into our house.

Actually, I was feeling confident by now.  I had the hang of this soldering business.

Done!  Ready to hook up to the softener.

240 pounds of salt...

The finished product...or so I thought.

I turned it on and...leak.  I tried to throw solder at that joint but it was not happening.  11 of my 12 were perfect.  Unfortunately, this kind of work requires perfection.

It turns out that water is the sworn enemy of hot solder.  In my inexperience I wasn't aware that it was such a problem.  I figured that the heat of the flame would boil it all off.

But it was the input to all of my new piping that was the problem.  That pipe comes straight from the street.  There was still water in there and I had no way to drain it.  As I heated the pipe, I was continuously boiling water down-pipe and introducing steam to my joint.  All this I learned from the plumber that I had to call to rescue me.

He said sometimes in this situation they have to take the pipes apart down by the street so they can drain the water out.  But somehow he managed without doing that this time.  I'm not sure he was telling me the whole story.  But he did fix my joint so I guess I can't complain too much.

My new pet - so pretty

This week at work I found out that some of my coworkers have run into this exact scenario and had to call in the reinforcements too.  The good thing is this escapade didn't really cost me extra.  If I had paid someone to install it, I certainly would have paid more -- even including the soldering tools I now own.  If I factor in 6-7 hours of my time...then I'm not so sure.  But I still have a it-was-an-adventure attitude about the whole thing.  And I can claim success as the thing works.

And for my next project...I am going to hire someone to sand and paint my trellis.