How to Remove Solder From Copper Pipe Fittings With a Hot Air Gun

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When you are updating the plumbing in your home, you may have to remove solder from a pipe or pipe fitting to complete the repair. One way to do this is using a hot air gun. The hot air from the gun will cause the solder to soften and it will begin to melt off. When deciding if this is appropriate method to remove the solder from the fitting, you must determine if the pipe is in an area that is safe to heat. If it is near a gas pipe or any flammable materials, using a hot air gun isn’t an appropriate option.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe cutter
  • Heat resistant gloves
  • Hot air gun
  • Fitting brush
  • Ensure that one end of the pipe is open to allow the hot air to escape. A hot air gun will make the pipes much hotter than a standard propane torch. You can use a pipe cutter to do this. Be sure that you cut the pipe in an area where you will be able to repair the pipe.

  • Grasp the open end of the pipe using heat resistant gloves. You must keep the pipe stationary when you remove the solder from the copper pipe fittings to prevent the solder from running through the pipe, which may cause blockage later.

  • Apply heat to one side of the copper pipe fitting using the hot air gun. Repeat on the other side of the fitting. The solder should begin to melt off of the fitting. Don’t apply the heat directly to the solder.

  • Twist or bend the pipes slightly to loosen the fitting from the pipe. You may have to reheat the fitting periodically if it begins to cool. Continue a gentle twisting or bending motion until the fitting comes off of the pipe. This will enable you to remove the solder from the inside and outside of the fitting.

  • Remove the remaining solder using a fitting brush. You must clean both the inside and outside of the fitting using the fitting brush before you can refit the fitting onto the pipe. If you aren’t going to refit the fitting onto the pipe, you must still use the fitting brush on the pipe if you plan to attach a fitting to the same pipe.

References

  • Tim, Town and Country Plumbing and Electric, Benton Harbor, MI
  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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