Have you recently installed a shut off valve or had to intervene into any of your other copper piping to make a change in the structure of your plumbing recently? After making your cuts and implementing the valve or other piece you needed installed, you will then have to close up the pipes back up. If not done correctly, you will have a host of problems on your hands. This fact can make soldering an intimidating thing, let alone how complicated it seems to begin with. In this article we will explain how to solder your copper pipes easily and effectively for maximum and long lasting results.
Follow These 3 Easy Steps For Soldering Copper Piping
The first step is the preparation, and is the most crucial for ending up with a leak free job. Neglecting a proper setup or half investing in it will more than likely cause them to leak and cause damage to your property. The second step is the soldering process itself, which will be explained in more detail below. Step three is to finalize the joint, which is no less important than the other steps. Before we delve into how to complete each step, be sure to take a look at the list of tools you will need below.
The number one thing you will need to do the job is a torch that could easily enough be found at your local hardware store. You will need some fuel to run the torch- primarily propane or MAP gas. Next you will need a lighter for the torch, if it does not have one built in, which could be a dedicated igniter piece or a simple cigarette lighter would do. Sandpaper or emery cloth and a wire brush is essential for cleaning the pipe and fittings. Soldering flux or paste is necessary for preventing oxidation, and the solder itself can be purchased either with lead or without lead depending on whether or not you are soldering a potable water line.
First off, you need to clean the parts of the pipes that will be joined together. Taking the sandpaper or emery cloth, sand the relevant portions until there are no spottings left. Next the fitting needs to be cleaned and roughed up for sanding with a wire brush. Next up, apply the flux or paste to both surfaces that will be torched. Now the pipes can be assembled and ready for the soldering action.
When soldering, the main approach you want to take is to heat the portion of the pipes where you want your solder material to be pulled towards. Always heat the joint from the bottom up, as this helps it to heat faster and allows for the solder to travel without the resistance from cold metal. While you’re heating, continue to test your solder, seeing if it gets pulled in. Once it is hot enough, run a bead around the joint to get full coverage you need and you’re done.
Lastly, you will now simply need to allow it time to cool slowly so it does not break from a rapid temperature change. You may have been given the tip to use flux to clean up the joint while its still very hot. This is important not to do, as it will also cause a breakage. Once the solder has solidified, you need to wipe off any excess flux, as it has the potential to eat up your pipe over time. That is the final step, and your soldering jobs is finished!
We congratulate you on a DIY plumbing job well done. If things didn’t go as you had hoped, though, you can always give Jack Ward & Sons Plumbing Co. a call at (615) 227-2811 and schedule a plumbing evaluation. Our team of professionals will come take a look at your situation to determine how we can best help remedy your plumbing woes, including copper soldering and many other kinds of pipework.