Copper piping is used in home building to feed water from the main water supply line to the rest of the home. Most homes use Type L copper piping which is a medium-walled three-eighths pipe. The pipes are connected using adapters and solder to form a semi-permanent bond. The pipes can be separated if needed at the connections by applying heat to the solder to melt it. New adapters are used to connect the pipes back together.
When Adapters are Used
When fitting copper pipes the plumber will cut the pipes to the desired length. He will then clean the ends of the cut pipe and apply flux compound to the outside of the pipe end. The pipe end is inserted into one end of an adapter. The adapter has a larger inside diameter than the pipe allowing the pipe to slide in. The other piece of pipe is inserted into the opposite end of the adapter creating a connection between the two pipes. The plumber then solders the pipes together forming a bond.
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Male Pipe Adapters
Male pipe adapters fit inside of a copper pipe and connect to a female threaded pipe on the other end. The threaded part of the adapter is threaded into the female end of the adjoining pipe. The female end of the adapter is inserted over the end of the copper pipe that it will need to be soldered to. The adapter can connect two pieces of pipe that are the same diameter. If a change in size between the pipes is needed, male connectors can be purchased that have two different sizes on both ends.
Female Copper Adapters
Female copper adapters are used to connect two pieces of different size piping together and are threaded on one end to allow the adapter to connect to a threaded pipe. The female adapter fits over a male threaded pipe and is tightened using a pipe wrench. The male end of the female adapter is then soldered to the copper pipe that it is connecting to. Connecting copper lines to the main water source in a home requires the use of a female copper adapter.
Firmly Securing an Adapter
After the pieces of copper pipe are cut the plumber will remove the burrs and scuff up the outside of the pipe end with either a pipe brush or a piece of fine-grit sandpaper. The inside of the adapter is also scuffed using sandpaper. Flux is applied to the outside of the cut pipe and to the inside of the adapter. The cut end of the pipe is inserted into the adapter. The plumber then applies heat with a blowtorch to melt the flux and to make the pipe hot. Solder is applied to the seam between the adapter and copper pipe to form a semi-permanent bond. The threaded end of an adapter will have pipe tape wrapped around the male threads before it is tightened to the mating pipe using a pipe wrench.