Q:

What are some plumbing tips for soldering a copper pipe?

A:

Quick Answer

Tips for soldering copper pipe include using lead-free solid-core solder and selecting the appropriate flux. Another tip is to remove the copper oxide coating on both sides of the pipe with sandpaper or an emery cloth and then brush surfaces with solder flux before fitting and installation. Use a propane or acetylene torch able to heat solder to between 400 and 500 F to ensure a secure connection.

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Full Answer

Before soldering, adjust the torch until it produces a blue flame. Heat solder at the joints until it melts, and move the solder and flame continuously until melted solder encircles the pipe. Moving the torch constantly will ensure the copper does not overheat and blacken. A tip for soldering larger pipes and fittings is to concentrate the heat slightly ahead of the melting solder.

Use a dry cloth or towel to wipe away excess solder while it is still in a liquid state. Spraying joints with water freezes the solder and prevents movements that may result in cracks or leaks. Once soldered, flush pipes thoroughly with water to wash away contaminants, remove solder beads, and check the fitting for leaks. Soldering copper pipes is an effective way to repair leaks or to secure fittings for installation.

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