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Q.On a recent job, a plumber who was soldering up 1/2-inch Type L copper supplies encountered an I-joist. So that he wouldn't have to cut into it, he used a pipe bender to give the pipes a slight 3- to 5-degree bend. Is this okay, or would it be better to use soldered fittings?

A.Kenny Hart, a master plumber and certified home inspector in Hampton Roads, Va., responds: While I would not recommend bending rigid pipe unless it is annealed (heated) first, offsets made with a pipe bender are pretty common when using Type L annealed copper tubing (sometimes referred to as soft tubing).

A pipe offset without the use of soldered fittings might actually be less likely to leak than one with fittings, because it has fewer joints.

And in this case, it sounds like your plumber considered both structural and plumbing issues as he did his work — always a good thing.