How to Sweat and Solder Copper Pipe

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While doing plumbing and plumbing repair, any misstep can lead to a leak in the future. This holds especially true in the case of copper pipe plumbing, where attention to detail is necessary for a proper connection. All water must be turned off and cannot be flowing or even dripping in the copper pipe that is going to be soldered. Any amount of water in the joint will cause the connection to fail and leak. The following steps will illustrate how to ensure a solid solder connection for copper pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • Propane torch
  • Torch lighter
  • Solder
  • Flux
  • Flux brush
  • Connecters
  • Plumbing sandpaper
  • Pipe cutter
  • Cut your pipe sections to the desired length. Use the pipe cutter and be sure to make an even cut. Use sandpaper to smooth the outside ends of the pipe and remove any burrs.

  • The next step is to use the flux brush to apply soldering flux to the outside of the pipe ends and interior of the fittings. Be sure that there is no dust or debris mixed with the flux as any imperfection can cause a future leak. Be sure to lightly cover the entire area and leave no exposed copper area uncovered.

  • Attach the fittings to the pipe end and push them together until they are tight. Light your torch and hold it so that the end of the flame is touching the bottom of the plumbing connection. Unroll a few inches of solder and place the end of it at the top seam of the plumbing connection. As the flux begins to bubble, the solder will begin to melt. As the solder turns into liquid move, the end of the solder around the seam of the plumbing joint. As soon as solder has been applied around the joint, quickly remove the torch to keep from overheating the end.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are working in a tight space use a metal plate or dampen wood beams before soldering so that you do not start a fire.

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  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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