The most common connection for copper pipe is sweat-solder, also known as soldering or brazing. This involves melting a filler metal like tin or lead into the joint between two pieces of copper pipe.
A special tool, often a propane torch, is used to heat the pipes up so the solder can melt and flow into the joint. This provides a strong, waterproof seal that is commonly used in both residential and commercial plumbing.
Sweat-solder connections are reliable and they stand up to high pressures and temperatures.
How do plumbers connect copper pipes?
Plumbers typically connect copper pipes using sweat fittings. Sweat fittings involve soldering copper tubing with a torch and special solder. The copper tubing is placed into the fitting and heated with the torch until the solder melts.
Once the solder has set, the copper pipe is firmly connected. This is a secure method for plumbing repairs and installations as copper joints will not corrode or create leaks. The use of sweat fittings is often preferred to compression fittings, which are formed by pushing the ends of two pieces of pipe into fittings that have metal rings attached to them.
This type of connection is secure, but often leaves the pipes vulnerable to vibration, which can cause the pipes to loosen over time.
What are two of the most common type joints used for connecting copper tube?
Two of the most common type joints used for connecting copper tube are solder joint brazing and compression joints. Solder joint brazing involves the use of a torch to heat pieces of copper tube and “melt” a filler metal, such as copper or brass, into the joint area.
Once the joint is cooled and allowed to set, a strong and reliable connection is formed. Compression joints involve the use of a special fitting with a ferrule or sleeve ring around the end of the joint.
The ferrule is tightened around the tube and when a nut is tightened onto the joint, it compresses the ferrule against the tube and creates a reliable and secure connection.
Can you use push-to-connect on copper pipe?
Yes, you can use push-to-connect on copper pipe. Push-to-connect fittings are an easy way to make plumbing connections on copper pipe without the need for soldering or threading. Push-to-connect fittings consist of an outer body, a connection nut and an inner body, which is connected to the connection nut via a stainless steel spring, ensuring a secure and watertight connection.
To make the connection, simply insert the copper pipe into the fitting until it meets the stop, then tighten the nut with the supplied tool until the joint is secure. Push-to-connect fittings are suitable for use with hot and cold water up to 150 psi, as well as heating and air conditioning systems.
What tools are needed for soldering copper pipe?
Soldering copper pipe requires several specialized tools:
1. Torch: The torch should be equipped with a “rosebud” tip, which is used to heat the pipe and the fitting before the solder is applied. Propane and MAPP gas torches are both suitable and a lead-free solder should be used.
2. Solder: Solder can come in rolls or pre-melted in sticks. For small soldering jobs, pre-melted sticks can be used. For larger jobs, solder on a roll is the most economical option.
3. Lead Free Flux: Lead free flux should be applied to the fitting, both inside and outside, before the solder is heated. This helps the solder form a secure, airtight bond with the pipe and fitting.
4. Emery Cloth: Emery cloth is used to scuff up the pipe and the fitting before the solder is applied. This helps the solder form a bond with the copper.
5. Electrical Tape: Electrical tape should be used to secure the pipe and fitting when the solder is complete. This provides an airtight seal and can help keep the pipe in place until the solder has fully cooled.
6. Wire Brush: A wire brush is used to clean the pipe and the fitting before the flux and solder are applied. This makes sure the surfaces are clean and that the solder forms a strong bond when heated.
How do you join two pieces of copper?
Depending on the application. If you want to maintain the integrity of the copper, you may need to solder the two pieces together. This requires the use of flux, a special solder, and a soldering iron.
You would need to strip the insulation off of each wire and tin the ends (which just means applying a thin layer of solder) then flux the ends of the wires and apply the solder while heating it up with the soldering iron.
It is important to do this quickly and efficiently.
Another way to join two pieces of copper is to crimp the ends together. This involves having a special tool to crimp the ends of the wires together. Stripping and tinning the ends is not necessary for this method unless you are using a terminal to attach the wire.
Crimping with the special tool acts as a connector that holds the wires together – this method is popular for automotive wiring and other electrical applications.
If the application does not need an electrical connection, you can also join the two wires together using a mechanical connection. This commonly involves using a ferrule sleeve, which then allows the use of a bolt or screw to secure the two pieces of copper.
This is an easy method if you are looking for a simple, nonconductive way to connect the copper together.
Are compression fittings as good as solder?
Compression fittings are typically not as good as solder when it comes to plumbing. Compression fittings create a mechanical seal between two pieces of metal and require tightening with a compression tool, while soldering creates a chemical bond that is designed for longevity.
Compression fittings can leak due to the fact that the connection is not as secure and it may not have the same self-sealing quality that soldering can provide. Additionally, the seal may weaken over time, creating a risk of more frequent repairs that can be costly.
Soldering creates a permanent bond, removing the risk of leaks due to a weakened seal. Furthermore, soldering also allows better water flow and also strengthens the joint by making it less likely to corrode.
In short, solder is the better choice for plumbing connections due to its longevity, self-sealing ability, and superior water flow.
What methods can be used to join hard copper?
Soldering is the most common and reliable method for joining two pieces of hard copper. This involves melting a type of solder filler material over the copper joint, filling any voids between the two pieces and creating a strong bond.
When using this method, flux must also be used to ensure a strong joint. Soldering copper is a skill that is learned over time through trial and error.
Another option for joining two pieces of hard copper is brazing. This process is similar to soldering, except a higher temperature and different type of filler material is used in order to create a stronger bond.
This method is well-suited for joining thicker pieces of copper or those with larger gaps.
A third option is welding, which is used to join thick pieces of copper or those with complex shapes. This method involves melting the two pieces of copper together with a torch and then welding a strong joint.
This process requires specialized equipment and proper safety measures, so it is not recommended for DIY projects.