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 Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

Can I bend 1/2" type L soft copper pipes with a 1/2" EMT electrical conduit bender? Will that work?

If I want to run a soft copper line from point A to point B, where they are 7' apart, concrete slab has been cut open and excavated. If I take a 3/4" PVC pipe and assume I can "punch" the pipe through (by hammering, by water jetting etc), then I pull back the 3/4" pipe, therefore leaving a straight hole through the soil 7' long under the slab, would I be able to take a coil of 10' long 1/2" soft copper pipe, tape the beginning end, then uncoil it and feed into the hole, pushing forward and uncoil as I go until it comes out the other end, then re-bend both ends to go straight up and above grade. What is the chance of this working?

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

Once you get the 3/4" pvc pipe in there why not run the copper pipe thru it? Then you can tie off the other end of the copper pipe and pull the 3/4" pvc pipe back out if you want to remove it, or just leave it. May need to cap the front end of the pvc pipe before driving it thru or pressure wash it out before inserting the copper line.



Edited 4 times.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

Because to successfully run the 3/4" pipe through I had to cut the tip of it at an angle to make it able to "cut" through the soil. U already ran a 3/4" sch80 PVC conduit this way, using a throw away conduit, cut the tip at an angle then twist it back and forth with a combination of pounding with a hammer at the end. By the time the conduit comes out on the other end that conduit is ruined, the front is packed with sand and the back is totally messed up by the hammer.

What I did was pulled it out then insert a new clean capped conduit in its place.

My concern is a soft copper pipe after uncoiling would not be perfectly straight and will have a hard time going through the ID of a 3/4" PVC pipe. If I pull it out I have some wiggle room.

I don't know what is the best approach. I am also worried I can't rebend the pipe without kinking it.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: stuckinlodi (MO)

May not need to cut the pvc tip at an angle, stick one of these bullet caps on the pvc pipe front end. That way no dirt gets inside the pvc pipe. You said it was only 7' distance thru the sandy Florida soil. You can remove the bullet cap once the pvc makes it thru to the other side, then easily slide your copper line thru.

Or drive a 3/8" length of rebar thru the soil first, use it to pull a 3/16" steel cable thru, then connect the steel cable to an electric winch (like on the front of a jeep) and use it to pull the conduit or pvc thru. [or tie the wire cable to the rear hitch on your Escalade and pull it thru that way]





Edited 7 times.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: george 7941

I don't see you being able to push the pipe through, it will dig into the sides of the hole and wander off.

If you fed fishtape through from the other end and used it to pull the pipe, it might work. You will have to ensure that the pipe is completely straight as you feed it through.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: steve (CA)

Sum, how about going 1" or 1¼" PVC and leaving it?

or use the ¾" as a pilot hole, pull it out and then install and leave 1" or 1¼"?



Edited 1 times.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

stuckinlodi, I already tried the PVC cap approach. In fact that's what I did first, and it didn't work. The smooth cap and did not make much progress. That cap is too rounded and it actually increased the diameter to about 1".

Once I resigned to using a throw away sch80 conduit and cut it at an angle, I was able to make progress. About 4' in I met resistance, so I used another contraption with a jet nozzle glued to another piece of PVC pipe and garden hose, and using water pressure I was able to make it past that spot, then back to the conduit pounding and was able to make it through.

So far I ran a 3/4" electrical conduit to that spot, as well as a 2" drain line (which took a long time because I had to progressively do that as I increased pipe sizes from 3/4" to 1" to 1-1/2" to 2" and I had to push that through at a 1/4" per foot slope.

Now I need to run two more 1/2" copper. I know hard copper would work but soft copper is going to be a challenge.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

I may be able to pull it by drilling a small hole to attach a fish tape. Going to try a few things to see what works.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

Steve a larger diameter pipe may work. But I had to go from small pipe to bigger pipe last time.

Can I use an electrical EMT conduit bender to bend copper?

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: steve (CA)

A standard EMT bender has a radius of about 5", so it should work fine.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

I tried it and it worked OK.

The only thing is I think the EMT conduits are much stiffer so when I did the copper pipe bending it left a slight dent from the "collar" of the bending. Once I noticed that I wrap the copper pipe with a piece of cloth at the contact point of the collar and all is good.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

also, the soft copper sold at big box stores in coils of 10' are those type L or M? It has no label on it. It looks like type L.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: steve (CA)

Type L.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: PlumberLoren (CA)

I don't recall seeing Type M in soft copper. Copper has a useful life so why would you not go with the thicker tubing. Years ago we use to install Type K Soft in VA and FHA financed homes. That should tell you something...

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

the reason I asked is NOT because I wanted type M, but I wanted to make sure it's type L because it doesn't label what it is. I have never used M for this reason any M I came across goes to my scrap metal bin.

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 Re: Working with soft copper
Author: sum (FL)

So I punched out a new hole with a PVC pipe and after some measurements I end up having to get two runs of 14' long 1/2" soft copper pipes.

I went to the Home Depot and they only sells soft copper in 10' coils.

I then went to Lowes and they sell soft copper in 20' coils but they only have one in stock. Asked the
plumbing aisle expert" there to see if they may have more of the 1/2" nominal 5/8" OD soft tubing and they point to the 1/2" "refrigeration" tubing. I said no that's different I need the 1/2" for water supply lines. He looked at me as if I am wasting his time. Then he asked me how much I need, I said I need two lengths of 15' so 30' total. He checked the computer and said there is one 10' coil left and with the 20' coil I have that's 30...I said I need two continuous lengths of 15' each, and he said they don't sell it in 15' lengths, I said I know, if you have two 20' coils I could buy that and have 10' of left over. He mumbled something and another customer interrupted to ask something and he conveniently excused himself.

Then I went to a plumbing supply store that sells the copper by the foot. So I got 30'. The only thing is there are some dents/dimples on the pipe. They told me that's the way it is.





Should I be concerned or are these dents OK? There are 4 of these dents over the 30' length.

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