How To Sweat A Copper Fitting

I believe that any plumber would tell you that the key to successfully soldering or “sweating” a copper fitting is properly preparing the pipe and fitting for the soldering process. Cleaning the pipe and fitting is essential to get the solder to flow properly and insure that the pipe and fitting have been soldered together. I just refinished my bathroom and used the existing lines that brought the water up from the main to the bathroom. I replaced all the branches or “feeds” for the shower, toilet, and sink. When using existing pipe and new pipe together, cleaning and preparation are critical to insure good soldered fittings and joints. I’ll use my bathroom as an example.

The feed for my bathroom is 1/2? copper pipe but because my shower and toilet position would be slightly different, I decided to route my hot and cold pipes differently to accommodate the changes. I needed to put a 1/2′ copper tee on the cold feed so I could run the cold water for the shower and toilet. I turned the main off in my basement to stop the flow of water. Once I had the water off, I could sweat the fitting properly. If you are a novice at sweating pipe, you need to know that you will never get your fittings soldered properly as long as there is water in the pipe. Even if there is the sligtest amount, it will be enough to keep the copper from heating up to the right temperature. Using a tube cutter, I cut the existing copper pipe back to its desired length. One thing about tube cutters for beginners, gradually increase the pressure on the blade as you rotate it. Putting too much pressure all at once can cause your pipe to deform during the cut. Once the pipe is cut and clear of all water, it is time to prepare the pipe and fitting for the sweat. Existing pipe will usually have a darkish brown tarnished look where new pipe or fittings will usually be shiny.

Look at the existing pipe and make sure that there aren’t any burs on the end where the fitting will go. Use a small file to debur the pipe if necessary. Next take a piece of emery paper and work it around the pipe from the end to about an inch in until it is shinyand free from tarnish. I like to take a piece of clean cloth and just wipe the pipe off when I am through with the emery paper. This cleans any dirt or dust off of it. Next, take a 1/2 ” pipe brush and run it through the fitting. If you don’t have a pipe brush, you can use a piece of emery cloth. Apply flux around the end of the pipe and inside the fitting. Place the fitting on the end of the pipe until it slides all the way on. When sweating a tee, I like to prepare all three pipes and sweat them all so that I don’t have to reheat the pipe and disturb the parts of the fitting already finished.

Once you have your fitting in place, it is time to light your propane torch. Adjust the flame until it is a nice, steady blue flame. Remember that the solder will always flow in the direction of the heat so you neeed to place your torch in a position where the solder will flow evenly around the pipe and fitting and be drawn inward toward the heat. On a tee, you would want to place the torch in the center of the cross bar and heat from the bottom. That way you will heat all three pipes at once and the soldler will be drawn inward toward the heat bonding the pipes to the fitting. In the case of a 90 or 45 degree fitting, place the flame from the bottom on the curved part of the fitting. Once you have the flame on the fitting, you will notice the flux start to bubble. Keep watcching until the flux seems to dry up and the color of the pipe and fitting turn dull. Take your solder and start at the top of the pipe where the end of the fitting is. Touch the solder at this point and when it melts, keep feeding solder as you go around the pipe in one direction and stop at the bottom. Then come back to the top and do the same in the other direction. By placing the heat at the bottom and starting your solder at the top, you will fill in the area where the pipe goes into the fitting because the solder will flow toward the heat. Be sure to do this around all the pipes in the fitting. Once you are done, remove the heat. If you used to much solder, you will have a few seconds where the solder will still be wet. You can take a rag and gently wipe around the pipe and fitting to remove the excess solder and smooth it out. Now let the fitting and pipe cool down without disturbing them. Many solder joints become cracked because they are not allowed to cool properly. I recommend doing some practice in the garage before you attempt the real thing. If you know anyone who has done it before, why not ask them to come over for a beer and share their experience.

Move Over Copper Pipe, PEX Plumbing is Here to Stay

A home plumbing system should meet the needs of the homeowners. If the homeowners want hot water on demand or leak-free connections, then the system should be able to handle it. The longer someone waits for hot water to reach the faucet or shower head, the more water goes down the drain. A typical homeowner loses 12,000 to 38,000 gallons of water per year waiting for hot water.

A plumbing system should also be both durable and reliable. No one wants to discover water stains on the first floor ceiling or mold growing underneath the carpet in the master bedroom. In many instances, water has been leaking for a while before the damage is discovered. A plumbing system that can provide peace of mind is essential.

Today, most homes have copper pipe plumbing systems for water distribution. Copper pipe is easier to work with than other metals like lead and iron, and it’s relatively non-toxic. The availability and water-resistant properties of copper have made it the first choice for most homebuilders for the past century. But as new materials are developed and the price of copper increases, copper piping is no longer the first choice for plumbing systems. A relative newcomer, PEX, is quickly gaining popularity as an excellent material for water supply systems.

Copper pipe plumbing systems

The conventional copper pipe method of plumbing requires that the water supply line branch at the water heater, with the hot water line running through the water heater and then running in tandem with the cold water line throughout the home. Smaller-diameter lines branch off from the main lines to serve water-using fixtures and appliances. This plumbing system requires more fittings, and pipe sizes vary according to the loads they carry. With this system, the water supply is subject to pressure loss if several fixtures on a branch are used at once.

Copper pipe also has to be run around obstacles, so more connections and intersections are required. Sweating and connecting the joints of a copper plumbing system takes time. Furthermore, after construction, the pipe connections are inaccessible. Since many of the joints are hidden behind finished walls, if there’s a leak, the homeowner may not realize it until substantial water damage has been done to the home. Repairs from water leaks can be costly and difficult.

PEX plumbing systems

A new method for water distribution in residential homes is gaining popularity among homebuilders. Known as PEX plumbing, cross-linked polyethylene (PEX) is a flexible plastic piping composed of individual molecules that have been permanently linked together. Cross-linking the molecules creates a durable, stable plastic that can’t be melted and reshaped. The unique features of PEX allow it to be configured in a number of different ways that can increase the performance and water savings associated with the plumbing system. Copper and CPVC are both reliable materials for plumbing systems; however, PEX tubing has several important advantages that make it the best choice for water distribution:

* PEX requires fewer connections. The tubing is available in long coils and is flexible enough to bend around obstructions without the use of connections. Fewer connections mean fewer opportunities for connections to leak and cause water damage.

* PEX is easier to install. Fewer fittings and a lightweight, flexible nature mean PEX tubing can be easily run around and through obstacles in the home and can be installed more quickly – resulting in lower labor costs.

* PEX reduces maintenance and repair costs. Service is relatively simple, since manifolds are corrosion-resistant and the connections are visible. PEX is plastic, so it doesn’t experience pitting, either.

* PEX improves energy efficiency. It reduces the amount of heat lost from water in the piping, increases the response time of hot water, and decreases the amount of energy the water heater uses to deliver hot water.

To ensure a comfortable living environment, a plumbing system should meet the demands of the homeowner. PEX offers homeowners too many advantages to ignore. Although copper and CPVC have good track records in the plumbing industry, PEX’s reliable, flexible nature — as well as its ability to increase energy efficiency and reduce installation time — make it the best choice.

Can You Sweat a Copper Ball Valve?

Modern industry has improved many industrial processes, as well as our daily life. There is no doubt that it is the great progress for the social development. Valves maybe have been used in many generally applications. For example, the water faucets indoors or outdoors are familiar to us. Definitely, they are regarded as gate valves. Despite of gate valves, ball valves are also popular at shutting off the flow. The affecting component is the spherical disc or ball with a hole in its center. It is definitely true that they can make contributions to many water lines. Thus, it is important to have some knowledge of the sweating process for a ball valve. We take a copper ball valve for example.

We can do this task by ourselves if we want. But it should be mentioned that this mechanism should be placed in an accessible place in case the water supply must be turned off quickly. Since the task would be a little complex. But we can try it. It would do favors for us to learn about our houses better.

For performing the process, it is necessary to do some preparations. The mechanical tools should be ready aside. They are the felt-tip pen, tape measure, tubing cutter, emery cloth, soldering paste, roll of solder, propane torch and rag. They may be available in our toolbox or in the nearby mechanical stores. Once prepared, the actual work begins.

Firstly, shut off the main water supply and drain the pipes. Ensure the place to install the copper ball valve and make a mark. Find a place far from the mark in 1/4 inches and make the second mark. These two marks cooperate to ensure the proper position.

Secondly, a blade is used to rotate 360 degrees around the pipes. Such helps to cut through the pipe for the installing of the required copper ball valve. The previous two marks help to find the correct position.

Once cut, the attaching pipes should be sanded. It makes the following step smoother. A soldering paste, also called the flux, can be used to all sanded areas. Such affects well during the soldering operation. It leads to connection between the valve and ends of pipes tightly.

When the required copper ball valve has been totally placed in the required and proper position, it is time to take the soldering process. Propane torch is used to heat all necessary mechanisms, including the end of the ball valve or pipe. But be cautious not to touch any flammable object. When the flux begins to sizzle, wrap the seam with the proper solder. The solder would melt onto the pipes, leading to the tight connection. Once it cools down, wipe away any excess solder and flux from the pipe. Actually, we can do it side by side to complete the entire process. And congratulations for your accomplishment!

SeekPart.com is the global B2B platform in the industry of mechanical parts. SeekPart aggregates the trade leads in this area, and our ultimate target is to benefit the buyers and sellers of mechanical parts by utilizing these leads through our online tools.