Soldering Copper Pipes

 

Soldering copper pipe fittings isn't difficult, but you'll need to practice before you're perfect. Once you've mastered the skill, you'll see why copper plumbing is appreciated for its professional look. Copper is a durable, clean, and functional connecting system.

 

Be a patient plumber

The most important thing with any fitting is that it doesn't leak. Your first few attempts may not be works of art, but soon you'll be soldering like a pro.


Step 1: Prepare the inside of the fitting

 Step 1: Prepare the inside of the fitting Ream the inside of each fitting with a round wire brush. Clean, grease-free connections ensure a good seal.
  

Step 2: Clean the outside of the pipe

Step 2: Clean the outside of the pipe Use emery cloth or steel wool to clean the outside of the pipe. Use a deburring tool or the handle of a pair of pilers to deburr the inside of the pipe. Be careful-the edges may be sharp!
  

Step 3: Apply flux to the pipe

Step 3: Apply flux to the pipe Apply a thin layer of lead-free soldering paste (flux) to the end of the pipe using a flux brush. The paste should cover about 1 inch of pipe. Insert the pipe into the fitting. Make sure the pipe is tight against the bottom of the fitting. Twist the fitting slightly to spread the flux.
  

Step 4: Unwind the solder wire

Step 4: Unwind the solder wire You will need 8 to 10 inches of the wire extended from the spool. Bend the first 2 inches to a 90-degree angle.
  

Step 5: Heat the fitting

Step 5: Heat the fitting Light the propane torch. Hold the tip of the flame against the middle of the fitting for 4 to 5 seconds or until the soldering paste begins to sizzle. Heat the opposite side of the fitting to ensure the heat is evenly distributed.
  

Step 6: Touch the solder to the pipe

Step 6: Touch the solder to the pipe If the solder melts, the pipe is ready to solder.
  

Step 7: Remove the flame from the fitting

Step 7: Remove the flame from the fitting Quickly insert 1⁄2 inch to 3⁄4 inch of solder into the joint. Capillary action will draw the liquid solder into the joint. A properly soldered joint should show a thin bead of solder around the fitting.
  

Step 8: Clean the fitting

Step 8: Clean the fitting Wipe away the excess solder with a rag. The pipe will be hot, so be careful while handling it. After the pipe and fitting have cooled, turn on the water and check for leaks. If the joint leaks, take it apart and resolder it.