I've had a bit more practise at this soldering malarky. Ok on all the
easy bits like the cleaning the parts, fluxing etc. but can't get the
hang of how quick or long to heat the bits and when/where to apply the
Any pointers would be appreciated.
From what I've done I think the joints are ok just not very nice
looking on the whole.
Think the crappy burner might not be helping (Screwfixes cheapest one
with the top/burner and throwaway cannister arrangement). Seems ok but
not sure if it's a good enough flame.
I've connected the contraption I made up at random to a water supply
and to my dismay it didn't leak at all...
Back at the bathroom tiling I've reached the doorway but can't
remember where the door surround trim was having removed it all months
ago. Does it go over the frame onto the wall or stop at the edge of
the frame or is it personal choice. ie. I don't want to cut the tiles
Your flame width should be roughly the same size as the joint you are
soldering (for 15mm fittings anyhow). It needs to be a blue flame, not
yellow, and you touch the inner bright blue part of the flame against
the female part of the joint. It pays to play the flame around the
joint just a little, rather than focus entirely on one spot.
Solder is applied at the joint where the male enters the female
(oo-err-missus!). The solder will run wherever there is flux, so make
sure you limit your flux to just be exposed from the joint. And flux
should be applied sparingly!
The right temperature is reached when the end of your solder melts
freely when dabbed against the joint. It should flow into and around
the joint. There's no precise timing to this - experience will tell
you when it's right. You don't put much solder on the joint - just
enough to form a light silver collar around the joint - some will be
sucked into the joint via the flux.
Once you have a solder ring around the joint take the flame away and
let the joint cool down. Do NOT run water into the pipework until that
has cooled down naturally - it will deform the joint. You can blow
gently on the joint if you wish, though that wouldn't have much
The burner isn't usually a big source of errors, unless it really does
produce the wrong size or sort of flame. Generally speaking a crappy
burner will work fine in the right hands (I'll probably get flamed for
saying so - pun intended!).
That last photograph - pipe03---1: Run that water circuit past me
again? I'm sure I'm missing something ;)
I just soldered bits together until I got fed up, let it all cool down
then connected it to the feed from my old water tank to check for
leaks. ie. the big cold water tank in the loft I let fill up for test
purposes then connected my test piece to it downstairs so it was under
Many thanks for the tips. Bit less flux smeared about I think might
help me a lot, I'll have a practise tomorrow.
Sounds like you're doing ok.
Try taking the joints apart to see how effectively the solder has covered
the surface, this will give you an idea how effective your preparation
Try not to do what I must have done - carefully prepare one tee, then
pick up another and use it - leaky joint, on disembrangling solder was
found almost nowhere.
I try to get the heat right by using the wire solder I use to top up the
joint, even if there is no need for it.
I give the joint a blast, and try my wire solder on it, if it doesn't rum
I give it a bit more, until it does.
Of course if you just watch the joint you should see the solder ring at
the end, but it is sometimes a bit difficult. Overheating is a problem,
oxidation will occur, prolly the flux will burn, so you're trying to get
it hotenough fairly fast
You seem to have got the hang of it judging by pipe03. In addition to others
advice, here's a bit more...
Since the pipe has a much larger mass to heat than the fitting, you should
heat the pipe first, and when up to temperature move the flame onto the
coupling. It won't need much heat as conduction from the pipe will have it
almost hot enough already. "Hot enough" is when you can melt the solder wire
by touching it on the hot copper, but not actually in the flame. If the flame
goes green, that is much too hot, and will probably make a bad joint.
To solder one end of a coupling to one pipe whilst keeping a free end of the
coupling unsoldered, try this... Take a well oxidised pipe offcut with no flux
on it, and don't clean or flux the end of the fitting you want to preserve.
Put the offcut into the fitting as a cold sink, and solder up the other end
only. If you can make a good joint one end and still remove the dummy pipe
afterwards, your technique must be about right.
The uk.d-i-y FAQ is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk /
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