Sweating pipes is easier than you can think and it is a DIY(Do It Yourself) process. With the right tools and precision, sweating a copper pipe can be done in no time. It is not difficult but it takes practice.
Steps: Soldering Basics
- Cut the pipes: A clean cut makes all the difference. Use the correct cutting tool and lodge it tight around the pipe to get a clean and perfect cut. A tube cutter or a hack saw can be used, but tube cutter gives a cut with less burs.
- Clean the edges: Wipe off the cut edge to remove any burs. A wire brush would be the preferable tool to clean the bare metal inside the pipe. If you use a hack saw, a filing tool is required to remove the extra burs. The outside can be cleaned using a sand paper or a cleaning brush, until it attains a shiny surface.
- Assemble: The necessary fittings, pipes and joints are to be kept ready. Sweating the pipes one after another without any hesitation is easier as the heat flow will be even and quick.
- Flux/ soldering paste: Apply flux around the pipe evenly. This flux can help the smooth spread of solder. Not just the outside but also the insides are to be applied with flux.
- Heat: Do not apply heat directly on flux, the blue flames should just touch the pipe and not heat them too much. Apply heat on the pipe after joining the two ends. The best way to determine if the pipe is heated to the soldering temperature is to check by touching the solder on the join. If the solder melts and runs along the join, then it is at the right temperature.
- Sweat connection: The soldering is a capillary motion. Once two joints are in its place and the flux has spread evenly, Start sweating the copper fitting. Excess solder will run inside the pipe and clog the pipes. For vertical joins extra care is to be taken to not let the solder inside and be quick in running the solder around the joint.
- Clean: Let the solder rest for few seconds and then wipe them with a clean rag after applying some flux while the pipe is still warm. This is to make sure there is no excess solder and applying flux will make it easier to clean.