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Dealing with soldered pipe joints

Dealing with soldered pipe joints


Why do you need to know about soldered joints?

Whilst there is always the option of leaving it all to a professional plumber, understanding soldered pipe joints can be of use in emergencies, and for anyone wanting to save money long term. If a soldered joint fails being able to fix it yourself can be valuable in an emergency, saving time over waiting for a plumber to turn up as well as the expense of emergency call outs. Whilst it is an advanced technique in terms of DIY and requires some effort, for anyone that can master this skill, plumbing will hold no fears.

There are alternative joint methods of course, with compression fittings offering a way of solving joint problems in copper piping, and the use of plastic piping in general removes the need for soldered joints completely. However, for long lasting, professional looking solutions, the soldered pipe joint is by far the best solution, and is well worth the effort to learn for the DIY enthusiast.

The Soldered Pipe joint

The joint itself consist of a tight fitting joining piece, which is soldered to the two pipes that need to be joined, it is reliable, neat and long lasting. The process itself is not as difficult as many think, however, correct preparation is extremely important for getting a reliable joint.

You will need a few items to make successful soldered joints, the pipes and suitable joint piece, wire wool, flux, solder and a soldering torch.

The first step is to ensure that the components of the joint are thoroughly clean. This is a simple process, and using wire wool on the joint areas will quickly result in a clean, corrosion free surface to make the best joint possible. Once all surfaces that are to be joined are thoroughly clean, you can move on with the joining process.

The next step is applying flux to all the contact points. This is an important step as it removes oxides from the joint areas and ensures that the bond will be secure and long lasting. It is also easy to do, simply paint the flux onto the areas of metal that will be in contact with each other. It is essential to obtain the right type of flux for the type of pipes that are being joined, your DIY store will be able to assist if you are uncertain here.

Once the various joint components are clean and have flux applied, they are fitted together, and now the bit that puts everyone off appears. Heating the joint. The main trick with a soldered joint is having the joint itself hot enough. The aim is for the heat from the pipes to melt the solder as you introduce it, you should not be using the torch to melt the solder, this will results in a bad joint. After a few minutes heating the joint, bring the solder rod to the first part of the joint, if the pipe is hot enough, the solder will melt straight away. Capillary action will draw the solder between the pipe and joint piece and flow around the entire joint. A good soldered joint will be one where you can see the solder flow quickly around and show on the outer edges. Quick and fuss free is the order here.

It does take practice to master, but is well worth the effort, and once you can make soldered pipe joints without fear, plumbing jobs will not seem so daunting.


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