Joint Replacement

Repair couplings work great on straight pipe sections, but they can't fix a leaky elbow fitting. For that job, you need a Quick-Fix Plumbing Connector, from LSP Specialty Products. The easy-to-install connector has a strong yet flexible braided-stainless-steel jacket that easily bends around corners. It's available for 1/2- and 3/4-in.-dia. pipes in 9- and 12-in. lengths; prices range from about $9 to $11. We used a 1/2-in.-dia. 5 9-in. connector to replace a 90-degree elbow that had sprung a leak.

First, turn off the water and drain the system, as described above. Remove the compression nut and ferrule from each end of the Quick-Fix connector. Hold the flexible pipe connector against the leaky elbow and mark the pipe approximately 1 in. in from each end (photo 1). Cut through the copper pipes with either a tubing cutter or hacksaw (photo 2). Smooth the pipe ends with a strip of emery cloth or fine-grade sandpaper (photo 3). Be sure to remove all burrs and rough spots or you won't be able to install the connector.

Slip a compression nut and ferrule onto each pipe (photo 4). If a ferrule doesn't easily slide on, use the emery cloth to smooth the pipe end again. Next, while backholding the fixed nut on the connector with one wrench, use a second wrench to tighten the compression nut (photo 5). Turn the water back on, wait a few minutes and check for leaks. If you do spot a leak, try tightening both nuts a little more.

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