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).

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