Plumbing Tips for a Good Solder Joint

Written by adrian grahams Google
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Plumbing Tips for a Good Solder Joint
Solder comes in a reel of wire for joining together plumbing pipes. (solder wire image by naolin from

Soldering pipes together is the most effective way to get a solid, waterproof joint that is resistant to rust and corrosion. Soldering involves joining two metal pipes together by fusing them with a metal alloy with a lower melting point than the pipes. Soldering is an essential plumbing technique that you can achieve with a blow torch and basic plumbing materials.


Always test the joint assembly before you try to solder the pipes together. Push the pipes together to ensure a close fit. If necessary, use a coarse-grit sandpaper to smooth the ends of each pipe. Pipe ends must be completely clean to bond well, so scrub them with a wire wool pad until they shine like a freshly minted coin.


Metal plumbing pipes are made from copper, so choose the correct solder material for copper, usually an alloy which comes as a reel of wire. Flux is also an essential ingredient for successful soldering. Flux is a chemical paste that improves the flow of solder material to prevent oxidation during the heating process. Use high-quality flux and apply it to the pipe ends with a small craft brush.


Take time to line up the joint properly so that every component is in the correct place and, if the joint will form a bend, that the direction of the pipes is right. Push the pipe ends together firmly. Use a clamp vice to hold the pipes in place to free your hands to hold the blow torch and solder wire.


Soldering involves using a blow torch that shoots a high-pressure naked flame onto the solder and pipe metal surface to fuse them together. Always wear protective, fire-resistant gloves and eye protection while using a blow torch. Use a fire-retardant mat behind the heated area. Never point the flame at flammable materials.


Allow the blow torch to burn for one to two minutes after you light it so that it has time to heat up to full temperature. Always unroll a portion of solder so that you don't have to touch it while it's hot. Position the blow torch so that you apply heat evenly across the whole joint. When the flux paste begins to boil and bubble, remove the blow torch and dab on the solder at several points around the joint of the pipe. The solder will automatically flow into the joint. Continue to add solder until it forms a complete ring around the joint. Allow the soldered joint to cool naturally; do not add water to speed the process.

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