Well, I have just completed my first job, installing soldered shutoffs in
two water lines lines so that I can renovate my powder room. I had no
leaks when I turned the water back on. My question is this, if it is
holding now, how confident could I feel about the job?
I have found that some of the fluxes for the new lead-free solders can give
a delayed reaction. I had several tight joints that did NOT leak for two
days, and then started dripping even one with a two foot squirt that erupted
on the third day. I think the flux burned in the joint and hardened when it
cooled down but water pressure finally pushed out the thick flux over a few
days resulting in a leak.
If you want to get an idea of how good your technique is, after it has
cooled and even been used (remove the water of course) heat and pull
apart a joint, and look at the surfaces to see how well your solder
covers them. Shake off the hot solder first.
Since I take apart a lot of old fittings, I've seen a few bad joints,
but even in those cases there is usually enough solder around the pipe
so they never leaked.
After a while and with proper cleaning and fluxing, one learns to
recognize the solder drawing into the joint all around it and get
consistently good joints. --Phil
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org Youngstown State University
From my experience soldering not only plumbing, but copper piping in vacuum
systems is that if the surfaces were well cleaned and fluxed and if the
solder flows quickly on its own around and into the joint it won't leak and
I assume never pop apart. Key is practice and applying the heat so all
surfaces are just above the melting point of the solder. Over heating can
also cause problems. A lot of this is experience and having feel for it.
I soldered 91 joints when I renovated my bathroom three years ago and
it was my first time to do it. None leaked initially or since then.
I was meticulous about cleaning the pipe and fittings before I
soldered. Think you'll be ok if you are careful.
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