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How to Solder Copper Pipe (Important Tips!!)

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by Jeff Patterson in Bathroom Plumbing

Burning your house to the ground…

Is this the first thing that comes to mind when you think of soldering copper pipe?

Maybe I’m the only one thinking this, lol.

The first time I had to solder a pipe was in a joist bay in our kitchen.

Our pipe sprung a pinhole leak and was slowly turning the ceiling into mush.

Soldering is surprisingly straight forward once you learn all the basics.

After reading or watching today’s tutorial I bet you’ll be able to solder copper in 1 hour or less.

These tools and supplies make soldering so much EASIER

Learning how to solder copper pipe starts with cutting and prepping.

So let’s get started ;D

 

Cutting and Prepping Copper Pipe (it’s more fun than Legos)

There are many different tools used to cut copper pipe.

My two favorite tools are the AutoCut tube cutter and Ridgid No. 15.

AutoCut tools clamp onto the pipe and you simply turn them according to the arrow.

AutoCut Tool

They don’t have a reamer to remove burrs. So you’ll have to do that with a separate reaming tool.

The Ridgid No. 15 (which I gave away in another tutorial) cuts copper pipe and has a reamer.

Ridgid No. 15

It’s great for pipes in open spaces while the AutoCut tool is superb for pipes in tight spots.

Always ream the inside of the copper pipe then clean it with a wire brush or emery cloth.

Ream and Clean

Blow out the pipe to make sure all copper bits are removed.

Never lay down the freshly cleaned pipe.

Dirt on the pipe will interfere with the solder.

Apply a thin layer of flux to the outside of the copper pipe.

Apply Flux

I say thin because you don’t want excess flux getting inside the pipe, this can lead to pitting and eventual pinhole leaks.

Wire brush the inside of any fitting and blow it out.

Again, apply a thin layer of flux to the inside of the fitting.

Apply Flux to Fitting

Put together the pipes and fittings.

Ensure the pipes are seated as much as possible inside your fittings.

Now you’re ready to begin soldering.

Woohoo, let the fun begin!!

 

Soldering Copper Pipe (playing with fire is always fun!)

Fire extinguishers are a must when soldering.

As much as I love playing with fire I still don’t want to burn down my house.

Flame shields will help prevent burning of drywall or studs but they can smolder.

If you see smoke coming from your stud bay spray it with water to prevent a fire.

Safety first!

Propane torches are affordable and good for any DIY soldering job.

The blue cone is the hottest part of the flame.

Apply the cone to 1-2 inches of pipe behind the fitting. Heat this section of the pipe for about 10 seconds.

Preheat Pipe

Then position the flame just behind the fitting’s cup.

Heat Fitting

Move the flame back and forth to heat the entire area of the fitting.

While you do this constantly dab the fitting/pipe transition with solder.

It’s very easy to burn off the flux. D

Dabbing the the solder will ensure you use the least amount of heat necessary to solder your pipes.

Don’t worry, I show you how to do this in my video.

I really wanted the video to be packed full of awesome tips, so it’s a little long.

You’ll be up and soldering in about 1 hour 😀

 

What’s Next

My biggest tip is to practice, practice, practice. Seriously, a bag of 90 degree fittings costs only $4.

Buy a 2 foot section of copper pipe and attach 8-10 fittings and you’ll be very comfortable with soldering copper pipe.

If you still don’t want to solder copper, you can learn how can fix a pipe using these tips.

Grab our free guide if you’re doing a DIY bathroom remodel – it shares how to remodel a bathroom in 10 days or less

Send Me The Guide

 

Thanks as always for reading, watching, and being part of our awesome community.

Ask your questions below and we’d be happy to help.

Cheers,

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

P.S. Our online store has great supplies for homeowners doing a bathroom remodel. You’ll find shower systems, tiling tools, and more.

8 Comments
  1. Joe says:

    There are two types of copper fittings. One has a dimple, so it will only slide 1/2 way as the dimple in the coupling stops the fitting at the end of the pipe. The other has no dimple, so you can slide it up the pipe as when you are fitting a hot water heater to existing pipe. Therefore, there is not room if the fitting goes only 1/2 way. The repair fitting slides up the pipe. Move in the hot water heater and slide the coupling down to the 1/2 way or over lap point and solder. Now they have flexible connections for the hot water heater and no solder is needed. I have a near genius son in law that did not know that and the “easy as pie hot water heater” left me not connected. Fortunately I have a friend that is a plumber and connected me in minutes. I’m not a genius, I just watch my handy man do the job. It is a lot of work and he makes it look easy. Nothing like being 20 something and not 70 something.

    1. Glad to hear you got your hot water heater hooked up Joe. There are so many different options these days. SharkBite even has hot water tank connections that don’t require any soldering. I think my buddy Rich used them for his repair and he’s been happy. Plumber’s are pretty darn awesome at soldering. It’s an art that’ll be lost but not for some time 😀

  2. Ed says:

    Jeff like your videos, lot go good info. I just don’t enjoy your background musics volume. To much for my hearing aids to sort the words from so it is hard at times to understand what you are saying. One of the annoying factors of old age. Keep up the good informative info though.

  3. Thanks, Jeff! You really saved me with this one! I have some copper piping in my house that needs to be repaired. It seems like the easiest way to repair my pipes is to solder them. Mentioning to dab the solder will help make sure that I won’t use more heat than necessary. I won’t forget to do that so that I won’t use too much heat on my copper pipes.

  4. JC says:

    Good Video – Forsure!

    But LOUD MUSIC is NOT PLEASANT to say the least! Change whoever Edits your videos – Really Distracts from the subject matter cause the Louder I turn up the volume to hear YOU – the MUSIC gets LOUDER also!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Rohit Patel says:

    Hey,
    Thankyou to giving information for soldering a copper wire.

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