Olive damage to pipes - ok to re-use?

4 Nov 2006
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United Kingdom

I’m replacing 9 radiators in our house, starting with two in our sitting room. Having removed the old ones and the olives left behind on the copper pipes (see pic below), I notice that these pipes have an olive shaped indentation where the olives were before. Should I be worried about leaks here or just fit the valves over these pipes as normal?

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The way I do them , I fit the new valve tighten it up so the olive bites, undo the fitting a nd a few wraps of PTFE around the new olive and re tighten, have done hundreds that way and never have a failure, some prefer jointing paste or LSX but PTFE is my personal preference
yes ..... if I can make the narrowing out (could be clearer) ... that may be quite badly necked (overtightened) and you may not get a good seal with a new olive, depends on how far the new valve sites onto the pipe.

Did you have to cut the old olive off?
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Yes I cut the old olives off. Another question: is it better/worse to also put PFTE tape under the new olive (between the olive and the 15mm pipe)?
PTFE tap over the olives only, none on threads or anywhere else.

Again, if the new valve sits onto the pipe at the same position so the olive sits at the same necked part of the pipe - still cant see it clearly - you may have issues getting it to seal. You will have to tighten the nut on the valve enough to compress the olive back down to fit tight to the squeezed part of the copper.
1. If you have a vernier caliper, measure the diameter of the pipe where it is narrowest.
2. If you don't have a vernier caliper, use a piece of cotton to measure the circumference of the narrowest part. Divide by pi (3.142) to get diameter.
3. If diameter is less than 14 mm, in my opinion you'd be lucky to get a new olive to seal reliably.
4. Use a copper olive rather than a brass one as they are softer and easier to compress.
Thanks for all the help, the calliper was indicating 14.7mm give or take at the narrowest point. I replaced 2 rads (of 9), filled the system up to .6 bar and no leaks anywhere, so I’ll drain and carry on. Thanks again.


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