How to Solder Copper Pipes

People love their homes. They love improving them, and doing it yourself can be very relaxing and give you a feeling of accomplishment. Home improvement has become very popular and many tasks are easy to do. You can save a ton of money compared to hiring a professional.

Follow these instructions (remember to be careful) and you will produce perfectly soldered joints.


1. MEASURING

Measure and mark the tube with a pencil. Measure twice; cut once!


2. CUTTING

Cut the tube to the length measured earlier. Cutting can be done in a few different ways: the tube can be cut with a hacksaw, disc-type tube cutter, with a stationary or portable bandsaw or abrasive wheel. Make sure that the cut is square to the run of the tube so that the tube will seat properly in the fitting cap.


3. REAMING

This phase is important: ream all cut tube ends to the full inside diameter of the tube to remove the small burr that is created by cutting. Remove any possible burrs on the outside of the tube ends. You can use the reaming blade on the tube cutter, a pocket knife, half-round or round files, or a suitable deburring tool to ream the tube ends.


4. CLEANING

The removal of all oxides and surface oil is crucial to proper flow of solder metal into the joint. Lightly clean the tube ends using sand cloth for a distance slightly more than the depth of the fitting cups. Clean the fitting cups by using abrasive cloth, abrasive pads or a properly sized fitting brush.


5. APPLY FLUX TO PIPE

Use a flux that will remove traces of oxide from the cleaned surfaces. Do not apply with fingers.


6. ASSEMBLY AND SUPPORT

Insert the tube end into fitting cup. Make sure that the tube is seated against the base of the fitting cup. A slight twisting motion ensures even coverage by the flux. Excess flux can be removed with a cotton rag. Support the tube and fitting assembly to ensure a uniform capillary space around the entire circumference of the joint. The joint is now ready for soldering. Joints prepared must be completed the same day.


7. 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. Do not overheat!


8. APPLYING SOLDER

For joints in the horizontal position, start applying the solder metal slightly off-center at the bottom of the joint. When the solder begins to melt from the heat of the tube and fitting, push the solder straight into the joint while keeping the torch at the base of the fitting and slightly ahead of the point of application of the solder. Continue this technique across the bottom of the fitting and up one side to the top of the fitting.


9. CLEANING AND COOLING

Wipe away the excess solder with a rag and after the pipe and fitting have cooled, install the pipe. Turn on the water and check for possible leaks. If the joint leaks, take it apart and resolder it.

Sources

Copper Development Association Inc.

Home Depot