Sometimes in soldering copper pipe and fittings, it's difficult
to wipe a joint giving it a "nice" finished appearance. This
is especially true for the backside of some work.
Is there some quality, durability or other reason for the wipe?
Or, is it just cosmetic, and essentially unnecessary?
I've seen reports that wiped joints are stronger than unwiped joints,
but strength is relative. If the joint is properly done (cleaned,
fluxed, adequate heat, etc.) it is going to be plenty strong.
Actually, if you have a "bad" joint with a pinhole leak, wiping can form a
fillet against the fitting and seal up the pinhole. Sort of last chance to
have a leakproof joint, plus make it look good.
A good wipe can remove traces of flux, some types of which may over time
cause an unsightly greenish corrosion on the pipe and fittings.
Anyway, its just cosmetic, 'cause when talking about sweated copper
plumbing joints, "The solder you can see isn't doing anything useful."
Been told that union plumbers wipe the joint to remove the flux you applied
before soldering. Don't know if the flux is destructive over time to the
copper or if it is just cosmetic. IMO keep a wet rag handy and wipe the
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