How to Solder Copper Pipes

How to Sweat Copper Pipes and Copper Pipe Fittings

By Mark J. Donovan

First make sure the end(s) of the copper pipe are clean and dry. Use Emory cloth to lightly sand and clean the end of the pipe(s). Then wipe clean and dry them with a dry rag. When done, the first inch of each pipe end should be shiny clean. Then clean with a dry rag the copper fitting that will be used to connect the two pipes together.

Next apply flux to the ends of the copper pipes and the inside of the copper fitting. Afterwards, slide the pipe ends into the copper fitting.

Position the two pipes and fitting in such a way that you can safely apply a propane torch to the joint area such that you won’t cause a fire or burn yourself.

Now heat one end of the pipes, near the copper fitting sleeve, until the solder flows freely around the copper fitting joint. Make sure you work the solder around the entire joint fitting. Capillary action will pull the melted solder into the space between the pipe and the fitting.

Then repeat on the second pipe and the other end of the copper fitting. This effort, known as sweating the joint, can take a little practice.

Next, using a damp rag, wipe the joints immediately after sweating them. Make sure not to burn yourself in the process and note that copper transfers heat very quickly. So, make sure to have gloves nearby when soldering copper pipes.

Note that if there is any water in the pipe, you will not be able to properly solder the copper pipe.

How to solder copper plumbing pipes.

If there is just a little residual water in the pipe, allow it to steam off prior to applying the solder to the copper pipes.

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