Hey, everybody. What’s up? Today I’m going
to show you how to solder copper pipe. This is something you can do as a DIYer. I know
you have it in you. You just need some extra quick tips to solder copper pipe and be well
on your way. All right, let’s get to it. Before we begin, I wanted to tell you there
are four reasons solder jobs fail. Number one, there’s dirt on the pipes or in the
flux. Number two, there’s lack of heat. Number three, there’s too much heat that
burns off the flux. And finally number four, there’s water in the pipes that absorbs
the heat. So you want to make sure all the pipes are drained of water.
So here are all the different tools you have for cutting. You’ve got standard Ridgid
No. 15 tool. You’ve got your AutoCut tool. And I like the AutoCut tools.
So here you have it. There is an arrow on this. And I wanted to show you real quick
how easy it is to cut copper pipe with the AutoCut tool. You just turn it in the direction
of the arrow, and in a few seconds, you’re going to have a cut copper pipe, which is
pretty sweet, but you’ll have to deburr it.
There’s no deburring tool on the AutoCutter. The little lift that’s created by the cut
can cause your pipe to be a little bit noisy, and it can cause pitting inside the copper
pipe. So you have to ream it out using a reaming tool like this one on the Ridgid No. 15 tube
cutter. You also want to clean out the inside of the
pipe. I know this isn’t absolutely necessary for the inside of the actual pipe, but I like
doing it while I’m cleaning the outside portion of the pipe, too. That way I know
that any copper particles aren’t going to be stuck inside of it. And you want the copper
pipe to be as clean as possible. Even blow it out to remove any kind of little tiny burrs.
So there you go. There it is; it’s super clean.
I like using La-Co Flux because it’s non-acidic, and it won’t hurt delicate copper pipe that
you already have inside your house. So I’m applying a minimum amount of flux to the outside
of the pipe; you don’t need a ton. And if you have any gobs on it, make sure you remove
those gobs because if it gets inside the pipe, the flux can actually cause pitting, and that’s
what you don’t want because it will leave pinhole leaks. So make sure that you clean
the inside of any fitting. Here’s a 90° elbow. I’m cleaning out
the cups of the elbow. And that way, it’ll be super clean. And blow it out, too. Make
sure you blow out the inside of any fitting. And you want to flux it really, really good,
but not a ton again. If you have any gobs inside the fitting, make sure you remove those
flux gobs because, like I said, you don’t want there to be any kind of pinhole leaks
inside your copper pipes because you fluxed it, because you fluxed the pipe too much.
Don’t lay down the flux pipes on a surface. Immediately attach them together. And if you
got separate pieces—in this case you got three separate pieces—you want to attach
all the pieces together before you solder. So here’s a protective pad that you can
put down on wood, or you can put it in your stud bay to protect the wall. It won’t prevent
the wood or the dry wall from smoldering, so you just have to make sure that it’s
not smoldering after you use that. We’re just going to use regular propane;
we’re not going to be using mapp gas, which burns a little bit hotter. Make sure you wear
safety glasses and gloves—really important, especially if this is the first time you’ll
be soldering. Oh, and always make sure that you have a fire extinguisher nearby. That
way, if something is smoldering or on fire, you can put it out. And that’s really important,
right? So you’re going to put a little croaker
hook in your solder. And in this case, I’m actually marking off ½” and 1” from the
tip. Because if you‘re using ½” fittings, you’re only going to be using about ½”
of solder per fitting. So I’m going to be doing two solder joints; I need about 1”
of solder. Now I’m using Silvabrite 100. This is good
for potable water and is lead-free. So that’s what you want, lead-free solder. Turn on your
torch. In this case, I’m having a little bit of trouble lighting it with a lighter.
I know some people say not to use a lighter; I’m okay with that. And you can also use
a striker or a match, whatever you want to start it.
I want to show you something. This blue cone here, that is the hottest part of the flame
and that’s what you’re going to concentrate on your copper pipe. So pre-heating the copper
pipe about an inch or two below the joint, pre-heating for about 5-10 seconds or so,
is really going to help out your soldering job. Then you want to focus that blue part
of the flame on just behind the little cup on this 90° elbow—if you’re soldering
a 90° elbow. And constantly touch the solder to the fitting. Because once it starts to
melt, you’re good to go. You don’t want to burn off the flux. So
as you can see here, the solder’s going into the joint. We’re using the little hook
in it to reach around the back side. And once you see that solder melting, you’re good
to go. And you probably don’t even really need to apply too much heat to the top part
of this particular 90°. Just make sure that if there are any drips, you remove those drips
with solder. Then you can use a damp towel to wipe off the pipes and remove any excess
flux from the pipe because you don’t want excess flux on the pipe. It’ll possibly
corrode it over time. So this is a pretty clean solder job. It’s
a little bit messy in certain parts, but that’s okay; I know that there’s plenty of solder.
And you want to check to make sure that the solder is completely filled in the joint,
that there aren’t any gaps. And you want to do this while you’re soldering. If you
see any gaps, fill it in with the solder, right?
So now I’m going to show you how to do a straight cup link. So this is something that
you use if you’ve got to replace a section of copper pipe if you do in fact have a pinhole
leak. So again, you want to clean out the inside of the fitting using your wire brush,
like this one here. Blow it out; so blow any kind of burrs. And then, apply a thin layer
of flux to the inside. You don’t need very much, right? Remember, you just need a minimum
amount of flux. Again, remove any gobs of flux off the pipe. Attach your fitting. Flux
the opposite pipe, like I’m doing here. Attach them all together. So again, a general
principle is attach all the pipes together and then you want to solder them. Make sure
that any of the bristles from the brush are not stuck on the copper pipe. That’s another
hot tip. Because if they are, that’s going to ruin your solder job.
So again, put that little hook in the solder so you can reach around the back. Because
if you’re in a stud bay, guess what, you’re not going to be able to see the back of the
pipe. So that’s why you put the little hook in the solder so that you can reach around
and be sure that you’re getting all the solder inside the joint.
Pre-heat for about 5 to 10 seconds an inch or two below the joint. We’re going to start
on the bottom here if this is a vertical pipe. So you start on the bottom. You pre-heat.
Then you heat in the center of the fitting. And again, you constantly dab that solder
between the pipe and the fitting. And once you see the solder start to melt, you should
be good to go. The solder will follow the heat. So wherever the heat is, the solder
will follow. So I’m trying to heat the opposite end of the pipe. The solder will follow into
the joints. In this case, it’s a little bit messy. I probably applied too much heat,
right? But once you see the solder melt, you should be in good shape.
And the other thing I wanted to show you is, when you heat it, you don’t have to heat
it up too much. Once you see the solder melt, you don’t have to heat up the joint too
much more to fill in the top portion, right? Then you can take your damp rag, and you can
wipe off the excess flux. And if the solder is still kind of liquid, then you can kind
of smooth that out, too. So as you can see here, we’ve got a pretty
decent job. I probably put too much solder on the top as I was probably concentrating
on not having my hands in front of the camera. So I apologize for that.
But again, you want to make sure that the solder fills in all the gaps in the pipe;
that you don’t have any gaps, that is. You’ve got a really nice sealed joint.
Now the other thing I wanted to show you is the inside of the pipe. As you can see here,
there’s no flux in there. And that’s exactly why you don’t want an excessive amount of
flux on your pipe or fitting because you don’t want the flux to get inside the copper pipe.
Again, it can lead to pitting and all sorts of pinhole leaks.
Now my biggest suggestion is go ahead and buy a bag of fittings. Here you go; 90s. And
just practice; practice maybe 5, 10 times before you actually have to do this inside
that stud bay or between joists, and you’ll be good to go, right? So practice.
All right. Well there you go. That’s how you solder copper pipe. I hope that you liked
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