How to sweat copper pipe

Discussion in 'DIY Projects' started by KidsWithGuns, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. KidsWithGuns

    KidsWithGuns New Member

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    First step: is to take a piece of sandcloth and clean the end of pipe

    Second step: is to ream the inside of the end you just cleaned with sandcloth or a reaming tool.

    Third step: is to take ur copper fitting and clean the inside of the hubs with sandcloth.

    Fourth step: is to apply flux to ur clean ends of pipe and hubs then slide hub on to pipe.

    Fifth step: apply torch flame to the hub of the fitting (not the pipe) and with other hand take ur solder and apply tip to the seam of fitting. It takes a couple sec for the solder to flow all away around the hub.

    Six step: take a wet rag to ur pipe after u finish with ur sweat. Then when the pipe is cooled wipe all the existing flux off and check fitting to make sure the solder took all away around the fitting
     
  2. aztman

    aztman New Member

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    first step remove all water.
     

  3. fmj

    fmj Active Member

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    Use a DRY rag to wipe after solder drips....it makes for neater more professional appearance/finished product.
     
  4. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I am a master plumber and could not have said it better. The only thing I would add, is that plumbing solder and flux is not the same as electrical solder, and you will never solder a copper pipe with any water in it.
     
  5. KidsWithGuns

    KidsWithGuns New Member

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    Thank you! I'm a fourth year plumbing apprentice about to take my IL plumbing test to get my license.
     
  6. fmj

    fmj Active Member

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    Good luck!
     
  7. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    I use Pex SharkBite Fittings. ;)
     
  8. partdeux

    partdeux Well-Known Member

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    white bread (no crust) can be used as a temp water absorber.

    Strangest leak I ever repaired, in the middle of a pipe. 20 year old house, leak right in the middle of a pipe. Piece of debris in the pipe.

    Luckiest repair I ever made, drain pipe going into a cast iron stack, very little to grab on to, but it easily turned. What was even better, I had planned to replace that particular cabinet anyway, and the leak was in the wall behind the cabinet
     
  9. superc

    superc Member

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    You left out,
    Apply the flame to the backside of the pipe and put the solder in at the front. :)
     
  10. doctherock

    doctherock New Member

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    Great post here, I have soldered my share of electrical fittings but never any pipe and my house being builit in 1925 means lots of copper fittings.
     
  11. rustycrusty

    rustycrusty New Member

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    If GOD had wanted me to solder copper pipe He wouldn't have invented
    CPVC:D
     
  12. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    soldering heating lines

    Ive had to solder in fittings on copper heating lines (Propylene Glycol) what ive found is if your removing a fitting and you dont have enuf room to cut it back for fresh clean copper (stub coming out a floor joist or wall, the best thing is remove the old fitting by applying heat and working it off the tube, use a cotton chore gloves and quickly grasp the hot pipe and wipe off excess solder, let er cool off (I use a dish pan or bucket of cool water and dish rag to cool it down so I can work around it without getting burnt) and use the screen type sand cloth and work the remaining solder off till bare copper shows (remove as much trace of old solder as you can)

    when repairing leaking lines, close supply & return valves to isolate the leak and drain off best you can, I use a wet & Dry shop vac to suck out any residual fluid in the line.
    when soldering the center of a run, I'll solder one end the fitting first, then I apply a vaccume to the line (hook up a washing machine fill hose to a bib and suck on it till I can suck more and close the valve, I continue to solder the second leg of the fitting (as heat is generated it pressurizes the air within blowing out air thust a imcomplete solder joint)
    Cheating- I cheat as much as I can every time using sweat in copper unions, theve made my soldering life soooooo much easyer!
    Also I use the hose type torch body, having a pizio electric trigger is :)
    I use MAP gas instead of Propane
    carry plenty of paper towels to dry wipe the freshly sanded copper tube to remove that darkish grit from the joint
     

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  13. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    copper fun

    Cutting copper tube with your El-cheapo tube cutter (all they want to do is cut threads), you can make a fairly straight cut by first gently tightening the tube cutter and make a vert light run around the tube first leaving a straight run first then gently increas the tension a tad and make a second consecutive cut till your cutter now has a furrow it can follow down when you can make your cut, takes time but a decent cut can be made useing a economy tube cutter.
    Its best to just buy a quality tube cutter if your doing more than 8 cuts because of time involved in making cuts.

    Sweat on Copper Ball Valves, leave the ball valve open when soldering, index handle so it can be actuated once its installed, (I point the handle down line in direction of water flow with valve open and I place the handle so its vertical when closed prefrably down)

    My experence using Shark Bite fittings SharkBite Fittings | Sharkbite Plumbing | Instant Push Fittings for CPVC, Copper and PEX Tubing SharkBitePlumbing.com ..........and the dampness involded
    they are certainly great fittings cept for that annoying moisture seep that eventually dampens the surrounding area, Ive heard of fellas useing 3-M 5200 boat hull sealant pretreating the joints and having good luck with dry joints if you let the 5200 set(3-M 5200 has a 3day cure time)
     

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  14. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    testing for leaks before the liquids hit the joint.

    I use the Bubbles approach to testing for leaks before turning on water or Glycol (use soapy dish water), I use a automotive type air tank with a threaded hose si I can use hose coulpers insted of the fixed tire chuck(pictured), a hose bib valvewith a air nipple on the supply end with a piece of washing machine hose to hook up to plumbing, I attach the hose to the section I want to pressure leak test (pressureize repaird pipe with air first), I use a pump bottle full of a dish soap solution and mist down the solder joints (where its bubbling is a leak) in your solder joint that needs fixed before you turn liquids down the line and have liquid logged lines.

    I have never been able to solder a fitting in place with liquid present, boiling water jetting out the joint as one is applying heat, steam blowing out solder are two likely results and the liquid acts as a heat sink and you will never get the joint hot enuff to solder, Glycol contaminates the leaking joint and is a total do over:mad:.
     

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  15. fmj

    fmj Active Member

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    a trick i learned from an old timer WAAAYYYY back when i was learning this stuff.

    When replacing say a water heater and you cant get a positive seal from the shut off valve (not an uncommon occurance) get your joints ready to solder, then into the pipe(s) that are continuing to leak a little water....stuff some bread into the pipe.

    The bread will absorb the offending water long enough for the joint to suck solder, but will then deteriorate having no ill effects on flow.

    :) GOTTA love them old timers...alas, they are becoming more and more rare....or, perish the thought, I am becoming one of them!
     
  16. Rex in OTZ

    Rex in OTZ Well-Known Member

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    Tube plugging

    Bread plugs all your restricter/airiator nozzles in the faucets, not to mention the newer plastic toilet fill valves, on boiler systems that dough gets hard and contaminates the glycol system and pluggs the vents, in end best to evacuate liquids from tubing prior to soldering, if its a crummey domestic water valve that wont shutt off try a Pipe plug kit from the hardware store they will do 1/2" and 3/4" copper tube.
     

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    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  17. fmj

    fmj Active Member

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    yes, it IS best to evacuate all water. Its always best to follow accepted QC procedures....

    ...but...

    ...spend enough time afield you will find it doesnt always work that way....have yet to have an issue with it. BUT, I've only had to use the trick a couples times in the past 20 years....