What is a sweat fitting and how do you do it? I just bought a cabin and it
has all copper piping. A neighbor told me that it is very difficult and very
expensive to get a Plummer up here. I want to add a water filter to the line
from the well and it is all copper.
Sweat fittings are just the copper fittings that you solder using solder
made for that use.
Get yourself a book that covers plumbing. It will have written
instructions and pictures to help you learn. Get a good torch, it will be
worth the little additional expense. Buy some fittings and a little pipe to
practice with. Get a pipe cuter at the same time. Read the part about
using bread to keep the area dry in the book. It really works.
A trip to the DIY store should get you all the stuff you need without
paying too much. This is a skill that anyone can learn without much effort
and do an OK job, but do practice before you try the real thing so you have
the feel for it.
It is pretty easy once you have the hang of it; but I would hate to try to
learn it from a book rather than from a person, though I suppose it is
There are epoxy glues made to take the place of solder. If you only plan on
doing a few, it is probably easier to glue than to learn to solder; and
cheaper than buying all the gear.
I've used it. It's OK but I think I work just as fast with a torch and
solder. You must follow the directions exactly or it will leak every
time. For just a couple of joints in a hurry, I'd use it again.
Just thought I would add a few tricks I've learned over the years.
1) Get a few pieces of shingle step flashing that you can use when heating
pipes close to anything burnable, I've gone as far as adding a wet rag
behind the flashing just to keep everything cool.
2) Keep some old bread around if the pipe is on a bit of a down angle and
the water keeps dripping stuff a piece of bread in there about 6 inches back
to help keep the working pipe end dry.
3) A shop vacuum is great way to get water out of pipes that are really hard
4) When in doubt add more soldering paste.
5) Clean, Clean Clean those fittings (roughing up the contact area between
each pipe) Sand paper, wire brush or my favourite a battery post cleaner.
HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE
When the water flows through the pipe the soggies break into smaller
and smaller pieces till they just pass through whatever spigot or
whatever is open. If you're concerned, when turning the water back on,
have a downstream faucet already open and with its aerator screen
removed. Flush a few gallons through, and you're good to go. You want
to flush out any internal slag anyway.
I have a tool with "innie" and "outie" wire brushes to clean the
outside of 1/2" and 3/4" ID copper pipe and the inside of their
respective fittings. It's like a battery post brush on steroids. I
think I bought it at the BORG, but "real" suppliers have them as well,
as well as more specific sizes which can be useful in cramped quarters
where the multi-tool can't fit.
The biggest trick in sweating copper pipe is getting everything clean, shiny
clean. I use steel wool. Then work some flux into your clean pipe and fitting,
heat and apply solder. If you are doing it right the solder will wick up into
Never even bothered to take the bread back out, turn on the tap and it will
find it's own way. The only problems I've ever had was getting wood chunks
(from drilling holes) stuck in the cooper pipe after I shove them through
small holes. I know use a shop vacuum to try and suck out such things before
I put the taps on.
Just on note for the newbie.
If you clean the pipe and add enough solder paste you can solder your
fittings upside down, most people tend to think that they need gravity. I
fit everything together and then solder it in place, I usually keep a wet
towel around to cool down joints if I need too.
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