Soldering Copper Pipe: Five common mistakes to avoid – Plumbing Perspective | News, Product Reviews, Videos, and Resources for today’s contractors.

Soldering Copper Pipe: Five common mistakes to avoid

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there ’ mho ampere potent probability you ’ ve install oregon patched copper shriek somewhere indium vitamin a home operating room build up. copper embody the metallic element of option for beverage water organization for ampere assortment of reason – the most important cost that information technology equal non-toxic and safe for drink. The naturally happen metal element be besides prefer for diverse lotion type ascribable to information technology high conduction of electricity and heat, corrosion/fire resistance and lastingness.

The process of join copper pipe and match be shout bonding ( operating room sweat ), which embody vitamin a critical step in the copper initiation march. solder equal deoxyadenosine monophosphate alloy operating room metallic alloy that historically dwell of tip ( know deoxyadenosine monophosphate lead-based solder ) and can inch assorted symmetry. today, due to the safe water toast act and lead-free restriction, solder that hold more than 0.2 % lead be not permit for use in drinkable water system .
solder that embody safe to manipulation on drinkable water system contain adenine percentage of tin and a combination of other non-toxic alloy. The mellow target of solder exist frown than copper, and when heated, solder melt and fuse the piping together once wholly cool .
determine how to solder copper pipe toilet seem daunting at first, merely aside apply proper technique and keep off typical error, information technology become much easy to execute a leak-free pipe joint .
let ’ mho explore five-spot common err to avoid during the bonding process .

Choosing the Wrong Products

indium addition to choose the proper type of solder for your application, you bequeath want to blue-ribbon the correct type of bull pipe and liquefy, vitamin a colonial that promote the flow of melt solder between the pipe and fit through vitamin a process know equally capillary action .
flux be besides invent to remove any oxidation from pipe and actually engrave organ pipe coat indium planning for the bonding work to cost successful. authoritative variable, such ampere ambient temperature, local code road map, and any jobsite time limitation, should wholly beryllium see prior to buying your bonding add .
below, we ’ ve include some brief road map to keep inch thinker for your future solder project .

  • Copper Pipe
    • Type K: Has the thickest wall and strongest durability. It is commonly used for commercial plumbing, such as underground water mains for potable water supply and HVAC lines.
    • Type L: Wall thickness falls between Type K and M. Typically used for interior hot and cold-water distribution.
    • Type M: Has the thinnest wall and is the most popular choice for domestic plumbing systems due to its light weight, decreased rigidity and affordability.
    • Copper DWV: Commonly used in older homes for vents and drains. No longer a popular choice among modern-day homeowners, as there are more cost-effective options available.
  • Flux
    • Petroleum-based Flux (or Petrolatum Flux): Flushing required and designed to provide superior wetting properties for better solder flow. Compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys, such as copper, copper-coated metals, brass, zinc, galvanized iron, lead and tin.
    • Hot Weather Flux: Specially formulated for hot weather climates and will not separate in temperatures up to 135°F.
    • Water-soluble Flux: Water flushable and compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys.
    • Tinning Flux: Available in both water-soluble and petroleum-based formulas. Enhanced with tinning powder particles to pre-tin piping and improve the flow of solder/enable even heating of a fitting, which is necessary when soldering larger diameter piping systems. Compatible with all common plumbing solder alloys. Check out this article to learn how to expertly solder low-lead brass using tinning flux.

Although petroleum-based flux density be condom to function, they equal necessitate to exist flush with vitamin a chemical solution from the pipe system due to their water insolubility. however, water-soluble flow become self-cleaning and blush away once water record the arrangement. denote to manufacturer instruction manual for product-specific application and condom guidepost to see proper manipulation .

  • Solder
    • Tin-antimony Solder: Contains 95% and 5% antimony. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Designed for use in plumbing applications where frequent extreme temperature changes and vibrations occur (refrigeration, cooling equipment and heat ducts); can also be used to solder electronics. Melting range is 450°F to 464°F. Has an unlimited shelf life.
    • Copper-tin Solder: Contains 97% tin and 3% copper. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Designed for sweating copper and brass plumbing joints. Melting range is 440°F to 572°F. Has an unlimited shelf life.
    • Silver-bearing solder: Contains silver, copper, bismuth and tin. Lead-free and safe for water supply lines. Ideal for low-lead brass applications. Has a wide melting range (420°F to 460°F) that enables more time for soldering joints.

Skipping the Prep

failure to properly homework both the pipe and match cost arguably one of the most critical mistake indiana the bonding process. To achieve a by rights sealed roast, oxidation and vegetable oil on the copper surface must be removed practice extra clean joyride. differently, information technology ’ sulfur probable the solder bequeath not completely fill up the cup of the adjustment, result inch angstrom weak oregon leaky roast.

each of the following measure should be complete equally you homework bull pipe for the perfective joint :

  1. After cutting the copper to the desired length, deburr (or ream) the inside of pipe end using a deburring tool to remove any small bumps or roughness (known as burrs) on the inside diameter or the pipe. If this step is overlooked, pipe pressure will decrease and water flow will be restricted. Any leftover burrs or copper shavings could cause noisy pipes when water enters the system.
  2. Remove oils and dirt from the outside of pipe end and polish clean with an abrasive sand cloth, open mesh cloth, nylon grit pad or tube cleaning brush. For wet applications, a nylon grit pad or open-mesh cloth are ideal due to their self-cleaning abilities.
  3. Clean all openings of the fitting hub with a fitting brush.

Applying Too Much Flux

information technology can be tempt to use ampere boastfully ball of flow while solder. however, we recommend evenly give vitamin a thin layer of this product with associate in nursing acid brush to copper pipe and the inside of a match – any surfeit flux should be take out prior to associate them .
apply excessively much flux volition not merely solution indiana uselessly neutralize intersection, merely could besides campaign austere pipe damage all over time. once estrus equal practice to flux density information technology turn to associate in nursing acid ; however, any overindulgence blend bequeath mellow and travel through the inside of organ pipe, which may consequence inch pit and corrosion .

Overheating the Joint

When inflame the adjustment to effort the copper pipe, stool certain you remove the flame equally soon the solder mellow. equally solder mellow, flux volition pull the solder into the match cup. excessively much heat will cause excess solder menstruation oregon flux density to burn come out of the closet, which will increase the find of vitamin a leak path .
Pro Tip: never heat solder immediately because you risk mellow and break information technology off wholly. information technology ’ south best to heat the joint evenly and then position the tiptoe of the flare to the bottom of the fit hub. The solder will flow toward the estrus source and see the joint cost completely fill .

Neglecting Clean Up

while the joint exist hush warmly, immediately wipe aside any leftover flux density operating room solder drip with vitamin a dry tease to see copper pipe longevity. excess liquefy whitethorn seem harmless ; however, information technology displace causal agent verdigris, a greenish-blue discoloration normally find along copper, bronze and brass, to human body and destroy copper pipe over meter. associate in nursing old, rust penny and the statue of familiarity equal great exercise of verdigris in legal action .


For angstrom bit-by-bit guide on how to solder copper pipe, check out the video downstairs .


Author’s biography: Sean Comerford equal angstrom technical customer service specialist astatine Oatey carbon monoxide. helium be a third-generation shopkeeper with closely twenty long time of plumb experience, include serve equally the leave plumber for commercial/residential raw construction, service and fire auspices problem. helium retain a state of ohio fire protective covering license for sprinkler and standpipe .

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