How do I Install Copper Pipes and Hangers in Ceiling?

Written by steve sloane
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How do I Install Copper Pipes and Hangers in Ceiling?
Use a power drill to drill holes through the ceiling joists (Powerful electric drill on a white background image by terex from Fotolia.com)

Copper pipe is used as a means of water supply for appliances in the home. It is usually either 3/4- or 1/2-inch in diameter. It is soldered together with copper joints called couplings. Installing copper pipe in ceilings demands that it runs either parallel with (and between) the ceiling joists or perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to the joists. When it runs parallel, pipe hanger (bracing) holds it in place. However, pipe running perpendicular to the joists requires that holes be drilled first for the pipe through the joists.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Copper pipe
  • Copper couplings
  • Pencil
  • Power drill
  • 3/4-inch or 1-inch wood drill bit
  • Emery cloth
  • Soldering paste
  • Propane torch
  • Roll of solder
  • Old rag
  • Water spray bottle
  • Roll of pipe hanger
  • 1 5/8-inch galvanised screws

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place the copper pipe on top of, or below, the ceiling joists, if it will run perpendicular to the joists. Mark each joist (at the centre of its width) where the pipe will run. Drill a hole at each joist mark--for 1/2-inch pipe, use a 3/4-inch drill bit, and for 3/4-inch pipe, use a 1-inch bit.

  2. 2

    Push the first piece of pipe through the holes, followed by the second piece. Move the joint so it is equally between the joists. Sand both ends of the pipe, using emery cloth. Also sand the inside of a straight copper coupling. Then apply soldering paste to all sanded areas. Push the pipe ends into each end of the coupling. Now push in the next piece of pipe through the holes in the joists, and prepare the joint in the same way as before. Follow in similar fashion until all pipe and joints have been prepared and pushed together.

  3. 3

    Unroll 12 inches of solder from its spool and turn on the propane torch. Heat the first coupling on both sides and touch the tip of the solder to one of the coupling's seams--between the pipe and coupling. If it is hot enough to melt the solder, apply 3/4-inch of solder all around the seam. Then solder the coupling's other seam. Remove any solder drips from the seams with an old rag. Now solder all the other couplings in the same way.

  4. 4

    Measure, cut and prepare the copper pipe as before (if installing the pipe between the ceiling joists) and push the pipes into the ends of the first coupling. Now install the second piece of pipe in the same way, and wrap the roll of pipe hanger once around the pipe. Cut the pipe hanger roll so it is long enough to attach to the side of the joists on each side of the copper pipe. Attach a 1 5/8-inch galvanised screw through one hole in one end of the length of hanger, and screw it to the side of the joist. Attach the other end of the hanger to the other joist, in the same way. Repeat this in 6-foot intervals along the pipe or where the pipe needs extra support.

  5. 5

    Solder the couplings to the pipes, as in Step 3.

Tips and warnings

  • The roll of hanger can be cut with a hacksaw.
  • Keep a water spray bottle close by when soldering, in case of a fire. Also, be aware of any flammable objects in close proximity to the soldering flame.

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