How to Sweat Copper Water Lines

How to Sweat Copper Water Lines - Plumbers

Copper is one of the most common materials used for water supply lines. It makes for a durable pipe that is not difficult to work with and can handle water loads with high pressure. However, the downside of using copper is its high cost, which can be triple the price of plastic CPVC pipe.

In copper water lines, the pipes are fit together by solid core solder wire (lead-free). The process of soldering the pipes entails heating or “sweating” them.

Prep the Lines

Before you work on any active copper water lines, check that you’ve turned off the water supply valve. Drain the water lines by opening the lowest and highest faucets in the house. You want to make sure the lines are not carrying any more water in them when you start soldering because even the tiniest amount of water can affect how a joint will heat up.

Sweating Process

1. Use a hacksaw to cut the pipe. You may also use a tube cutter. Simply tighten the cutter to score the pipe and cut it. Your cutter may have a reamer you can use to get rid of burrs.

2. Sand the surfaces of the pipe and the pipe fitting using an emery cloth or wire brush. Then, use a rag to wipe the pipe clean. Put flux on the pipe and fitting to halt oxidation at the joint and help the solder adhere to the copper.

3. Fit the pipe and fitting together. Use a propane torch to heat the joint. It would only take a brief 30 seconds to reach the right temperature for the solder to melt.

4. With the joint heated up, pull the solder wire across it. The wire should pull in and around the joint. If the joint fails to heat up and melt solder, it’s likely there’s still water in the line.

5. Use a rag to wipe excess solder from the joint and let it cool.

6. Once the run has been soldered, pipes between the joists should be braced with brackets to keep them from banging together. Put insulation material inside any holes you’ll find in joists where the pipes went through.

7. Install plates across framing members to protect copper water lines from being punctured by fasteners.

Let an Expert Take Care of This Job

Not confident about soldering your copper water lines? Don’t fret. Seva Call can match you with qualified plumbers in your area who can handle any water pipe soldering job. Send us your service request, and you can be connected to the right service professional within minutes!


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