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I've been digging on the Internet, for a solution to soldering a dribbling pipe.

It seams logical, but I wanted to check if anyone has tried this, and if they had any problems getting the bread out.

Or is it a known urban myth?

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  • 2
    Will it depend on the quality of the bread?
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 18, 2021 at 15:06
  • 11
    @SolarMike Yes -- the lower the quality the better. The kind of bread that sometimes leaves a lump of sticky paste behind the front teeth and is nearly impossible to clear away with the tongue is ideal. It is made with finely milled flour and will easily erode and wash through a faucet aerator screen. Don't use fancy or healthy whole/split/multi-grain bread.
    – Greg Hill
    Mar 18, 2021 at 17:47
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    FWIW - my plumber uses wonder bread or bunny bread basic sandwich cut bread... that is cheap bread but he's also a cheap kind of guy so it may have nothing to do with their performance and be just what he buys.
    – DMoore
    Mar 19, 2021 at 0:39
  • @DMoore does he tear out a chunk from his lunch sammich, or does he keep a loaf on hand specifically for plugging pipes?
    – FreeMan
    Mar 19, 2021 at 18:22
  • @FreeMan - I am thinking he's 50 calories lighter that day. Dude (early 60s) looks like he's homeless, drives around in a beat up truck (that looks like he abducting kids), wears baggy jeans and flannels even in the summer, packs his lunch everyday - sammich/chips/fruit, one of the smartest guys I know... lives in a 4500 sq ft mini mansion.
    – DMoore
    Mar 19, 2021 at 18:32

3 Answers 3

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Yes, us old-timers have used this trick for decades. My father showed it to me in the 1980s. I did just a few months ago when swapping a water heater. The idea is that you plug the pipe with a gob of bread, do your repair as the bread blocks and absorbs the trickle of water, and later it softens and dissolves, flowing down the pipe. You want to use just the inner part of plain white bread--no crust, seeds, etc. that can cause clogs elsewhere.

Just take into consideration where the bread muck will end up. If you're upstream of delicate equipment, such as a reverse osmosis system, it may not be a good idea. If you can flush it out fully later, have at it.

I'll add that I consider this a last-resort strategy. It can be difficult to make it work, especially with vertical pipes. Try fully venting the system and using a wet-dry vac first.

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Isherwood is right and I have a long-time plumber that uses this method, possibly too much because he simply likes the idea. There is nothing wrong with this.

However... I will offer a more friendly DIY option for users who are not expert sodderers (yes know its not a word, should be).

Welding a dribbling pipe closed is not easy. There is a good amount of expertise. Also this will always be a failure point for the pipe after it is fixed.

Alternative #1

For the DIYer... just add a sharkbite connector that you need like the ones below. They install with a dribble just fine.

enter image description here

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Alternative #2

If you are hiring a plumber they are removing that section, adding a connector on each end new copper in the middle. I do not let plumbers sodder pinhole or bad connections on my lines.

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    solderer is a word, you just have to spell it with an L. A sodderer would be someone who installs grass ;)
    – Mazura
    Mar 19, 2021 at 0:40
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    @Mazura - if only I could spell as good as I look :).
    – DMoore
    Mar 19, 2021 at 0:42
  • I like the idea of those push fit joints, but I'm worried that if they don't work for any reason, I couldn't get them off.
    – reggie
    Mar 19, 2021 at 6:24
  • @reggie they make a special, plastic, 2-ish dollar tool for removal, works very well. I've also seen video that show how to remove them without spending the extra two bucks.
    – rogerdeuce
    Mar 19, 2021 at 13:31
  • @Mazura if you're British, a "sodderer" might be one who vacates rapidly. ;)
    – FreeMan
    Mar 19, 2021 at 18:20
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If you can't get the bread trick to work you could freeze the piping with dry ice. I have used dry ice many times but you have to be careful with the handling of it. If you have never used dry ice, see if anyone in your area has used it and will give you assistance. If all else fails you could contact a plumber that has a "pro press" machine to repair the drip for you.

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