Re: sweating/soldering copper piping
Posted by Gary Swart on October 21, 2002 at 12:24:21:
In response to Re: sweating/soldering copper piping
The advise I've had is not to reuse fittings, but I've reused when I didn't have a new one available. I think the thing you need to do is to go back to basics of sweating joints. First, cut the pipe to fit. I use a tubing cutter to get square, smooth ends. Then clean inside the fitting with a wire brush or emery cloth and make sure the surface inside is really shined up. Then do the same for the pipe end. I like to clean just a little extra length than is going to go into the fitting. There can be NO water in the pipe. Even a little water will take away enough heat to prevent the solder from melting and flowing into the joint. Next, apply flux to both the fitting and to the pipe end. Insert the pipe and when possible, I like to twist it just a little. Now heat the joint. Remember, the solder melts from the heated joint, not the torch. (This could be where you are getting your problems) I heat around and around the joint keeping the solder touching the joint on the side away from the torch. Then when the solder begins to flow, I move the torch around the joint a little and follow with the solder making sure solder has gotten into the entire seam. I know I use way more solder than needed, but my joints don't leak. It is also very important not to allow the joint to move for a minute or so, if the joint moves before the solder is cooled, the joint cracks, and don't try to speed up the cooling process by applying water. You can use a wet rag and wipe the flux reside (be careful, the joint is very hot) This is just for appearance.

I'm sure you already know all of this, but, at the same time, you're doing something wrong or you wouldn't have leaks.

The only time I had a leak in a joint, and it was a big one, was when I just forgot to apply flux. I wondered why the solder didn't seem to want to flow, Duh!

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