Soldering copper pipe fittings isn’t hard, but you will need to practice to make perfect. It’s a good idea to gather some scraps of copper and solder a few joints until you get it right. Copper plumbing is appreciated for it’s professional look. Copper is a durable, clean functional connecting system.
Make sure that you get the L pipe instead of the M pipe. The M pipe has a thinner wall and is for heating systems. It may leak under greater pressure of a water supply system.
Step1: PREPARE THE INSIDE OF THE FITTING
You need to start with rimming the inside of each fitting with a round wire brush and sand the end of the fitting with an emery cloth. When the connections are clean it ensures a good seal.
Step2: CLEAN THE OUTSIDE OF THE PIPE.
To do this use an emery cloth or steel wool. Use a deburring tool or the handle of a pair of pliers to deburr the inside of the pipe. If you don’t deburr the pipe a burr can cause a hum once the water starts running through the pipe. You’ll need to be careful because the edges may be sharp.
Step3: APPLY FLUX TO THE PIPE
Apply a layer of flux (lead-free soldering paste) to the end of the pipe using a flux brush. You will need to cover about 1 inch of the pipe with the flux. When you insert the pipe into the fitting make sure it is tight against the bottom of the fitting. Twist the fitting slightly to spread the flux.
Step4: UNWIND THE SOLDER WIRE
You will need at least 8 to 10 inches of the wire extended from the spool. You will need to bend the first 2 inches to a 90-degree angle.
Step5: HEAT THE FITTING
Put the pipe in both sides of the fitting so soot from the torch won’t contaminate the joint. You will need to hold the flame against the center of the fitting for 4-5 seconds or until the soldering paste begins to sizzle.
Step6: TOUCH THE SOLDER TO THE PIPE
Move the flame to the low end of the fitting. Now remove the flame and touch the solder against the pipe. If the solder melts, the pipe is ready to solder.
Step7: APPLY MORE HEAT IF NECESSARY
After the solder melts when you touch it against the pipe, remove the flame and quickly melt ½ to ¾ inch of solder into the joint. Capillary attraction will draw the liquid solder into the joint. If your joint is properly soldered, it will show a thin bead of solder around the fitting.
Step8: CLEAN THE FITTING
Some of the plumbers will reapply flux and briefly heat the pipe to clean it further. You should always wipe away the excess solder with a rag. Be careful when handling the pipe because it will be hot. You can cool the pipe and fitting with a damp rag. Now turn on the water and check for leaks. If the joint leaks, take it apart and re-solder it.