Sunday, December 30, 2007

Plumbing and soldering

When we bought this house I wasn't planning on doing any plumbing, but my father-in-law talked me into replacing the old galvanized pipes upstairs as long as we're doing all the other remodeling. So for about a week the water to the house has been off while we tore out all the plumbing to put in new copper pipes. Yesterday we turned the water back on, and amazingly enough it worked. Of course I went through great pains to screw the connectors into the galvanized pipes that still remain in the basement. Also since I have done a lot of soldering with electronics stuff it was easy for me to figure out how to solder the copper pipes together.

As far as I can tell soldering pipes is very similar to soldering in electronics. The two main things to remember are: flux is your friend and use lots of heat. Here's how I did it.

To start off with I just soldered a connector to a pipe. That way I could easily inspect both where I was putting the solder as well as inside the connector at the opposite end of the solder joint. To start off with the copper needs to be cleaned. You can buy a special brush to clean out the inside of the copper, but instead I just used the green scrubbing pad on a regular sponge for washing dishes. Rub where the copper connects to make it shiny. Then you put on the flux. I got the best connections when I put the flux on the outside of the pipe as well as the inside of the connector. Remember that the flux helps the solder flow and that's why you need a lot. When I did use a lot of flux then I could see the solder not only went all the way around the outside of the connection, but the flux helped it wick into the joint. Now I know that those are very strong joints. The pipes themselves will break before those joints leak. The other thing to remember is to use lots of heat. If you don't use enough heat then the solder won't flow, it just balls up. The same is true with electronics, but there you need to take some care to not heat it up too much or you'll damage the circuitry. With the pipes you don't really need to worry about this. So use lots of heat. (Just don't burn down the house:)

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2 Comments:

At June 19, 2011 at 11:17 PM , Blogger Vinod said...

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At June 29, 2011 at 4:43 AM , Blogger Vinod said...

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