Damaged Copper counterflow chiller

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jmb11

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I have a copper counterflow chiller that was dropped and it bent the 1/2” 90 as well as the 3/4 to 1/2 to 1/2 copper fitting. It appears the inner copper copper coil is soft copper which is smaller than 1/2“ in diameter. It appears it was brazed rather than soldered.Any ideas on who to go to to try to repair this. Looks like I need to re-bend a copper 90 as well as remove and replace the 3 way copper fitting. Any thoughts on best way to go about having repaired ? Thanks
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marc1

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I have a copper counterflow chiller that was dropped and it bent the 1/2” 90 as well as the 3/4 to 1/2 to 1/2 copper fitting. It appears the inner copper copper coil is soft copper which is smaller than 1/2“ in diameter. It appears it was brazed rather than soldered.Any ideas on who to go to to try to repair this. Looks like I need to re-bend a copper 90 as well as remove and replace the 3 way copper fitting. Any thoughts on best way to go about having repaired ? Thanks

If by brazed you mean that it used silver solder, then it shouldn't be too difficult.

I'd use a torch to heat up the garden hose connector end and then pull it off, then heat up the T joint where the bent piece goes into it and pull off the bent piece.

Then attach the garden hose connector to a new piece of pipe with silver solder, and then attach that pipe to the T. Unless there is damage to the T I don't think you'd have to replace that.
 
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jmb11

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If by brazed you mean that it used silver solder, then it shouldn't be too difficult.

I'd use a torch to heat up the garden hose connector end and then pull it off, then heat up the T joint where the bent piece goes into it and pull off the bent piece.

Then attach the garden hose connector to a new piece of pipe with silver solder, and then attach that pipe to the T. Unless there is damage to the T I don't think you'd have to replace that.

I've tried heating the joints with Mapp gas with no luck. It doesn't appear that it's getting hot enough. The Tee is out of round where the copper 90 enters into it. Once I was to get it apart, I'd planned on silver soldering it back together. I appreciate the response.
 

marc1

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Well that's not good for a DIY fix.

Sell it to the scrap yard and make a wort tube version that's easier to clean?
 

IslandLizard

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I've tried heating the joints with Mapp gas with no luck. It doesn't appear that it's getting hot enough. The Tee is out of round where the copper 90 enters into it. Once I was to get it apart, I'd planned on silver soldering it back together. I appreciate the response.
I'm not surprised you can't desolder/solder those joints with a small hobby burner. That's one huge chunk of copper heatsink you're heating!

I very much doubt it's silver solder, you just don't have enough oomph in your torch. Get/borrow a larger torch and protect any nearby solder joints with a wet rag from coming undone, while heating your target area.
 

marc1

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I'm not surprised you can't desolder/solder those joints with a small hobby burner. That's one huge chunk of copper heatsink you're heating!

I very much doubt it's silver solder, you just don't have enough oomph in your torch. Get/borrow a larger torch and protect any nearby solder joints with a wet rag from coming undone, while heating your target area.

The hose fitting should be easy enough to remove, though, even with a regular plumbing torch. If that's not coming loose, there's something going on with the joints.

Why that would be, no idea! Seems like a lot more trouble to make that way...

@jmb11 do you have any experience joining copper like this? If you didn't heat it long enough maybe that is why?
 
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^^ that! I tried to solder a pinhole leak on a pipe full of water once. Not possible.

I'm sure it's a heat issue. If you really can't get it done with MAPP, maybe one of your neighbors has a Mapp/O2 torch - that's what I use and it gets a lot hotter.
... and when you re-solder, clean and flux the bejesus out of it first.

I would not attempt to save any part of it. I'd cut it off near the tee (leaving enough for a union to grab onto) and use fresh copper for the bend and hose fitting.
 

IslandLizard

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I would not attempt to save any part of it. I'd cut it off near the tee (leaving enough for a union to grab onto) and use fresh copper for the bend and hose fitting.
I was just gonna say that. ^
IOW, leave a 1/2" stub coming out of the T, and sweat a union over that, with a new bend.

The threaded hose coupling may still be A-OK, though.
 

superiorsat

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If it doesn't leak and flow is good enough to not slow down your chilling much I would agree to leave it alone. If it does need replaced soldier is always tougher to get undone. Wrap the T with wet rags as @IslandLizard lizard recommended get a pliers to pull on the bent pipe and heat the pipe right at the joint not the joint exclusively. You are not looking to suck soldier into the joint at this point just get the pipe hot enough to release. Pull and twist and if you have a rolled up piece of sand paper ready once the pipe comes out try to do a quick clean out of left over soldier while it is still hot and don't burn yourself. This makes it easier to give it a sanding before refluxing the joint as you won't have to sand through a blob of old soldier. You should be able to use a channel lock to reshape the opening enough to get another pipe shoved back in and soldier will do the rest.
Edit- unless you or a buddy has a scrap chunk of soft copper lying around you usually can buy a short 2' chunk of solid copper from hardware stores. I would just buy a 90 and a new 1/2"npt sweat fitting( which is what the fitting looks like on the bent piece ) rather than fighting with the old one.
 
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Mad Mann

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If you can't desolder it; cut it out, solder a new set together and connect to the chiller with compression fittings.
 
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