Shower problems- wet ceiling?

If you have a water spot on your ceiling below the shower, then get familiar with this possible cause!

Bad valve! Go to your kennel.

Ok, the joke is stupid, but you get the point! If you have a valve like the one below that feeds your ice maker (or anything else for that matter), then you’re on borrowed time. Get that thing out of there before it causes a big water problem!

That’s no no… bad valve.

These valves simply pierce the pipe and depend on the rubber seal that is smashed against it to hold back the water pressure. It’s not a good thing to depend on (see image below). In addition to this risk, they simply don’t perform well either. Often, they let an inadequate amount of water through and encourage mineral blockage. If all that isn’t enough, they don’t meet local or national plumbing codes either (for good reason).

See the pierce in the pipe that I circled & the rubber seal?

At this point you might be panicking. This is not my intention. The valve has been there for who knows how long, so don’t lose sleep over it. Just put it on your list. Make plans to get the supplies needed and get it done. Be planned and intentional about your house repairs, just like the rest of your life! Let me guide you though this.

Step 1
Turn off the water supply to the pipe where the valve is. Most of the time you will need to turn off the valve to whole house. To find out, just trace backwards from the work area to find the closest shutoff valve. After you know it is off, then find a place to drain the water from those pipes. This could be a sink or laundry valve in the basement or a hose faucet. The important thing is to make sure it is lower than the work area. Now go to the plumbing fixtures above the work area and open those valves to let air into the system. Sometime you will only need one, but other times you may need to get every single fixture, including toilets. The important thing is to make sure that the pipe where you will be working is free from water for soldering.

Step 2
Remove the old valve and cut out a portion of the pipe that will allow enough space for a tee to be inserted. In the picture below, I am removing the saddle valve from a 3/4″ copper line, so I purchased a 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 1/2″ tee.

Cut out enough pipe to allow the tee to be installed

You will also need a small piece of 1/2″ copper pipe and a valve that is made to solder on to a 1/2″ pipe and connect to your ice maker line, usually 1/4″ compression fitting. You may also need a repair coupling if the two existing pipes won’t give enough to get the tee in, but most of the time you can push them apart far enough to install the tee. If you can’t then go down about a foot on the pipe and make another cut. This will allow the assembly of the tee and you can slide the repair coupling over the second joint to solder it home. If you need more info, please comment below and I’ll try to help.

Step 3
Clean all the fittings that are needed as well as any pipes that go into the fittings with emery cloth or a wire brush and apply soldering flux. If you have never soldered a copper joint, then this post is not meant to be enough to teach you how, but if you have some experience in this, then keep moving forward.

Clean all pipes & fittings, then flux everything.

Step 4
After every joint is made up, then your ready to solder.

I am heating the fitting

Use your torch to heat the fitting portion of the joint, not intentionally heating the pipe. Use caution with your torch. It will catch wood on fire if not protected. Use a heat cloth or a scrap piece of cement board as a heat shield where needed. I didn’t need one here.
If you can heat the fitting from the bottom like I am doing, it’s best.

Try to add the solder on the top

Then you can add the solder from the top once the fitting is hot enough to melt the solder into the joint. Here’s a picture of this on the right. Sorry it’s a little blurry. I didn’t have any of my boys with me to take pictures! You may also notice that I removed the valve stem from the body while soldering. You don’t need to do this, but it’s a good idea to be safe.

Step 5
Once everything is soldered, now go ahead and re-install the valve stem and connect the 1/4″ line to the valve. You should slide the compression nut and the ferrule on to your line. Now here’s a tip. Before you thread the nut on the valve, apply a some thread sealant to the ferrule! This will save you lots of grief. No need to apply it to the threads, the ferrule is the sealing point.

Brush some sealant on the ferrule & tighten

Step 6
Wipe everything down with a rag and turn the water back on. It’s good to have a helper for this part so one person can be watching the new work while another slowly turns on the water. Once you confirm that there are no leaks, then go up and turn all your fixtures off above. Come check on your new work in an hour or so to be sure that you have no drips. That’s it… you’re done!

This is just one more way to keep your home in great shape for your family! Now go in the peace of knowing that you have done what you can to prepare for the future. The ancient proverb says, “A prudent man foresees the evil, and hides himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” May your prudence help you “bring your family home”!

I’m glad your here!

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