How To Solder Copper Pipe
How To Solder Copper Pipe
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You’ll need the following: lead-free solder, lead-free flux, appropriate size fitting brushes, grit cloth or sandpaper, a reaming tool, copper tubing cutters, a measuring tape, map propane or butane gas, a torch, copper tubing and fittings, and a dry and damp rag. The minimum safety gear is gloves, fire extinguisher, and safety classes. A flame retardant heat shield is recommended if soldering near any combustibles.

Guide

The number one enemy of achieving a leak-free professional joint is water. Remove as much water as possible by bending the tubing down. If there’s still standing water remaining, you can use the torch to boil it off. Determine the length of tubing needed with a measuring tape and cut to length with the tubing cutters.

It is recommended to practice a few joints before taking on a project. This will get you comfortable with the heat, solder, and techniques. Just remember not to get frustrated and that the prep is the most important part. Taking the time to dry, clean and properly flux the connections will make the difference between a joint that will leak and one that’ll last a lifetime.

Solder Copper Pipe

A burr will be created on the inside of the pipe from the tubing cutters and can create turbulent flow and premature wear of the copper and fittings. It is important to remove this burr with an inside tubing reamer. Any copper surface which comes in contact with each other must be cleaned and fluxed. The tubing is clean with the grit cloth, and the fitting or female end is cleaned with a suitable brush. This is three quarter inch copper, so a three quarter inch fitting brush will be used. You are looking for a shiny bare copper look. Careful not to touch the clean copper surface, as the oils from your gloves or hands will contaminate the joint. A clean cloth can be used to wipe the copper dust away.

How To Solder Copper Pipe

Apply flux to all the mating surfaces in a thin, even coating. Before getting started, pull out a small amount of solder. Apply heat evenly around the fitting connection. The solder will follow the heat. This is why it’s essential to heat the suitable or female connection so that the solder will be drawn into the fitting using capillary action. Use the copper tubing and not the flame to melt the solder. Test to see if the copper is hot enough every few seconds by tapping the solder against the joint. Careful not to overheat the fitting as this will burn away the flux causing the solder not to flow properly.

How To Solder Copper Pipe Image

A rule of thumb is using the same amount of solder as the diameter of the pipe being soldered per joint. This being three quarter inch copper, each joint should take a length of three-quarters of an inch of solder. After the joints are completed. Allow the copper to cool naturally. Cooling the connections too fast can cause fractures in the solder. After the copper is naturally cooled, wipe the joint with a damp cloth. This removes any flux residue on the pipe and fittings. Failure to wipe the joint will cause the area which has flux residue to turn green. This is a great time to inspect the joints as well.

Common Mistakes

The first example would yield the same result if too much heat was used, not enough flux or in properly cleaned fittings. The second most common mistake that is using the flame to melt the solder instead of using the heated copper.

Pro Tips

It is recommended to practice a few joints before taking on a project. This will get you comfortable with the heat, solder, and techniques. Just remember not to get frustrated and that the prep is the most important part. Taking the time to dry, clean and properly flux the connections will make the difference between a joint that will leak and one that’ll last a lifetime.


Hi! My name is Tom and I’m an author of the blog. My hobby is electronic circuits and soldering irons.

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