How to Sweat Copper Tubing

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To sweat copper tubing, using a lead-free flux, a lead-free solder compound and a heat source, such as a propane torch. Sweat copper tubing around the joints with instructions from an experienced carpenter and construction specialist in this free video on home repair.

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Video Transcript

Hello. My name is Mark Blocker. In this segment we're going to cover how to sweat copper tubing. Okay, when sweating copper tubing or copper piping, they sweat in the exact same fashion. And sweating refers to soldering the connectors on, or the pipes together. And that's done using a flux and solder compound. And it's important to know, if you're going to be using the system for water, you're going to want to use a flux that's designed to be used with a solder, itself. And you want to use a lead-free solder, so a paste flux that's designed for use with lead-free solder. If the system's going to be used in a high pressure system, like air conditioning, that's going to require a different flux with a different type of solder designed for a higher pressure, and those also use a little bit higher temperature when you're soldering. But just follow the same procedure regardless of which type of flux or solder you use to sweat the joint. First thing to remember before you start to solder your copper pipes, you want to make sure they're really clean. Use a brush on the outside of the fitting, and that just slips on, twists around, and that'll give you that nice, sanded, clean look and that's what we're after. We have to have the fittings absolutely clean. And I've just rigged this up in a little clamp so I can hold it up off the table when I actually solder it. I'll tighten that down just a little bit. And you also want to clean the inside of your fittings, even if they are brand new. Just swish your brush in there for a few minutes, make sure it's good and clean on the inside. All debris is removed. Now you're going to want to flux those up before you solder them, and you can use a brush or your finger. And you just want to put that flux inside the fitting, and a coating around the outside of the pipe, itself. All fittings that are going to be soldered need to get coated with flux thoroughly. Once you've got it coated with flux, slide it on there and make sure it fits okay, everything fits good. I'm just going to slide it on there and twist it around there a few times, make sure everything mixes up. Okay, what I'm going to do is I'm going to heat this up and I'm going to put the torch right between the two connections right there, right in the meet of it so I get both the fitting and the pipe the same temperature. And I'm going to let that heat up for about thirty, forty seconds, and then once I see that flux starting to bubble, and it's getting real hot, I can just take the heat away. And what I'm going to do is just tap the solder right around where the joint, itself, is. And I'll just wrap around and go right around that joint. And that's going to suck that solder into that fitting and create a good bond. Okay, as you can see, I'm holding the end of the blue tip of the torch right about where the meet of the fitting had come together, and I'm just going to let it sit there. And it's going to take about, anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute, maybe a minute and a half at the very most, once I see that flux start to bubbling real good. Once you remove the heat source, you can actually just take the solder tip and just walk it right around there, and you can see how the solder just sucks right into the joint. Just go all the way around, evenly, and that'll create a good soldering bond. Okay, and that's how you sweat, or solder, copper tubing.

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