Thanks for all the good input in the other thread. I've concluded
that the joints were not hot enough, due to working on a joint with
pipe on both sides, therefore not enough heat. Lesson learned is to
try to arrange the order of joints so I'm always working on an end.
Another question, is the flux supposed to burn off and clean the
joint, similar to having an inert gas in welding? There was
considerable bubbling and it looked like near all the flux was burned
away. It is a water soluble flux, both flux and lead free solder by
Haha, someone described grapes or bubble gum coming off the joint,
just what I had :)
Try the paste flux by Oatey, others. it sticks around until solder
displaces it, making a better joint. Naturally, you will want to wipe
the joint clean after soldering to remove excess flux and also for
Water soluble flux, like Ruby Flex is good stuff, but it isn't my
choice for potable water because it contains ammonium chloride, which
I would rather not chase out of the system. Great stuff, though, for
copper gutters and roof flashings.
On Feb 8, 10:52 pm, email@example.com wrote:
I always try to make sure that both halves are tinned with extra
solder. Then I heat the two halves wwhile they are touching and being
pushed together and when the solder on both halves is hot enough, the
two pieces will go together. A little more heat to ensure solder flow
On Thu, 9 Feb 2012 19:21:19 -0800 (PST), "hr(bob) firstname.lastname@example.org"
That works well if you have the room to work all of the joints
separately, but often you need all of the joints loose and sloppy to
get the whole assembly into place. This involves "dry fitting"
everything, then dissassembling, cleaning and fluxing the joints,
reassembling into position, and then soldering. Pre-tinned ends do not
lend themselves to this very well, generally speaking..
And remember, the less solder you use to make a solid joint, the
better the job is. A properly soldered joint will barely expose ANY
solder to the inside of the pipe - and therefore to the water flowing
through the pipe.
Heating the fitting first tends to draw more solder into the pipe -
which is part of the reason I heat the pipe first. A properly cleaned
and fluxed joint on 1/2" copper takes about 1/4" or less of standard
plumbing solder to make a water or gas - tight and mechanically secure
joint. Heat the pipe, right at the joint, until the solder just melts
when touched to the backside of the pipe (away from flame, then move
the flame to the fitting and feed the solder to the edge of the
fitting. It will run right around the edge and draw into the joint
leaving a clean, smooth, shiney line of solder all the way around the
joint - and if you cut the joint open like splitting a sausage you
will find the gap between the two parts filled about 80% to 100% of
it's length, all the way around the pipe.
Done right, neither the pipe nor the fitting will be discoloured by
I don't always get it right - sometimes the pipe gets too hot -
sometimes i get too much solder into the joint, and once in a long
while the joint goes "white" and needs to be re-nheated (cold solder
Miller and Trader and a handfull of other guys will dissagree and
poo-poo my method, but it WORKS.
Steve, that depends on the fitting, I guess. Did you see the ACTUAL
MEASURENENTS I provided yesterday?? The fittings I have on hand are
only , at best, marginally thinner than Type M copper, and lighter
than either L or K.. And heating the fitting first is a good way to do
one (or more) of 3 things. Produce a cold solder joint, Overheat the
joint, or draw a lot of solder into the pipe.
Sure, it works MOST of the time - but it is NOT the ONLY RIGHT WAY to
do it. And if you are soldering a valve to the pipe you want as
little heat into the valve as necessary to make the joint. Heating the
pipe first is the ONLY way to accomplish that. Pipe hot enough to melt
solder, heat the fitting/valve JUST to the point it sucks the solder
into the joint. No balls of solder in the valve - no overheated
packings or resiliant seats (ball valves) . All the way around a
On 2/9/2012 10:25 PM, email@example.com wrote:
It's funny, that heating the fitting (which is heavier than the pipe
whether you measured it wrong or not) is the industry standard. Yes i
saw your measurements. You obviously have some inferior chink fittings.
I'm done here.
remove the "not" from my address to email
You know I was curious to see if there were in fact
some credible sources that say to heat the pipe
instead of the joint. I googled and looked at 5 sources
online. I wasn't googling for any particular method, just
how to solder pipe. All 5 say to heat the fitting...
Here's 3 of them, the other two, including
This Old House were in another post:
Since copper pipe quickly conducts heat away from a joint, great care
must be taken to ensure that the joint is properly heated through to
obtain a good bond. After the joint is properly cleaned, fluxed and
fitted, the torch flame is applied to the thickest part of the joint,
typically the fitting with the pipe inside it, with the solder applied
at the gap between the tube and the fitting.
In the joining of copper tube, failure to properly heat and fill a
joint may lead to a 'void' being formed. This is usually a result of
improper placement of the flame. If the heat of the flame is not
directed at the back of the fitting cup, and the solder wire applied
180 degrees opposite the flame, then solder will quickly fill the
opening of the fitting, trapping some flux inside the joint. This
bubble of trapped flux is the void; an area inside a soldered joint
where solder is unable to completely fill the fittings' cup, because
flux has become sealed inside the joint, preventing solder from
occupying that space.
Photo 6: Heat the joint and flow the solder
Heat the joint with your propane torch, moving the cone back and forth
to heat it evenly. Hold the solder against the joint on the side
opposite the flame until it melts and flows into the joint.
Note: That photo #6 clearly shows the flame directed
at the middle of a coupling.
From Black and Decker book:
"Hold flame tip against the middle of the fitting for 4 to 5 secs,
until the flux begins to sizzle. Heat the other side of the the
joint .. Move the flame around the joint ...."
On Fri, 10 Feb 2012 08:35:12 -0800 (PST), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Did I ever say it was WRONG to heat the fitting first? No. I just
said I do it the other way and it works for me - and that heating the
fitting first CAN cause certain problems. You have pointed out that
heating the pipe first CAN cause other problems. That is fair.
Calling someone a fool, and all the other derogitory remarks made by 3
or 4 of you guys on the list is NOT. And just because something is or
is not on the internet doesn't make it necessarily right or wrong.
Getting good information off the internet is like separating fly-shit
On Feb 10, 10:15 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Here is exactly what you posted:
"You always heat the biggest heat sink first - which in this case is
The fitting is smaller and thinner and heats faster. "
Of course the following derogatory remark by you to me is OK, right?
" I capiche you are a "culo"
As for me making derogatory remarks, the only thing
I said that was close was that it's nuts and really bad
advice to recommend tinning up pipe and fittings with solder,
then trying to heat them and assemble them. I stand by that.
No, but when you just google for "how to solder pipe"
and the first 5 sources that come up all say to heat
the fitting, have pictures of torches heating the fitting,
videos of it, etc, I'd say it's a good start. Perhaps
you'd like to share with us the sources you have that
say to heat the pipe.
Two of the sources I provided were Richard Tretheway on
This Old House and a book on plumbing from Black
and Decker. As for which advice is the fly shit, everyone
can judge for themselves.
On Sat, 11 Feb 2012 05:36:51 -0800 (PST), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
Just my experience. I've said numerous times "it works for me". And I
explained my thoughts as to why I do it that way. My joints don't
leak. So doing it my way isn't, by definition, wrong.
Doing it the opposite way isn't wrong either if the joint doesn't leak
and you don't end up with excess solder where you don't want it.
On Feb 9, 10:58 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Sorry to disagree again. But this is just nuts and now
you're endorsing really bad advice. If you've
done more than a couple joints in your lifetime, you
know that the last thing you want is to have joints that
already have solder on them because it's much harder
to deal with. If they do have solder because it's a
repair, you can deal with it. Even then, sometimes you
wind up cutting off the pipe with solder and starting
with a clean section. But for anyone to suggest
you tin up two new parts, say a pipe and tee, then heat them and try
to assemble them? Ever see a plumber do it like that? Good grief!
There are so many problems with
that, I could go on, but what's the point....
but often you need all of the joints loose and sloppy to
Ummm. The pipe and joint aren't like a sponge. I've
taken apart a lot of joints and don't recall ever seeing
one where solder inside the pipe amounted to anything
at all. Certainly nothing that's going to effect the water
flow in any material way. I would think the reason for
this is that the solder
gets drawn in by capillary action. And that lasts only
until the joint void is filled. After that, I don't think you
can get solder to just keep piling in.
Here's Richard Trethewey from This Old House showing
how to solder:
He's got the torch right on the coupling the whole time.
Here's another one:
On Fri, 10 Feb 2012 05:29:46 -0800 (PST), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
If I said asphault was black, the sky was blue, and your blood was red
you'd dissagree on all 3 counts. Get a life.
I did NOT recommend tinning the joint before assembling they guy said
he does it that way. I said it WORKS. IF he has enough room to screw
around with it. I didn't say it was RIGHT.
If both parts are tinned, and heated untill they slip together, it is
virtually impossible to make a bad joint. It will be a sloppy joint.
It won't look pretty. It will take nore work and time than doing it
the right way - but it WILL WORK. That's all I said..
That depends what solder you use. 60-40 will remelt nicely - rework
is simple -- the 63-37 or whatever eutectic alloy solders are a lot
less forgiving and can be a bitch.
Wont affect the flow of the water through the pipe, but it WILL
expose a lot more lead to the water if you are using leaded solder -
which I've used for over 40 years and has been used for soldering
copper pipe for a whole lot longer than that.
That's the problem, you don't think. If you overheat the joint, or
keep heating the joint and feeding solder, you can put a foot of wire
solder into a joint - particularly if the joint is vertical and you
are soldering on the top.
Yup - but like I said - not the ONLY right way to do it.
Try it, you MIGHT like it.
If you always do something the way you've always done it, you will
NEVER find out there is a better or simpler way to do it.
Not saying my way is better. Not for you. I've done it both ways. I
find my way works best for me. A newby MAY find it works better for
On Feb 10, 10:06 pm, email@example.com wrote:
Let me refresh your memory again. Here was the sequence:
To which I replied:
No, it doesn't depend on what solder you use. It's still incredibly
It's 2012. It's illegal to use lead based solder on potable
Why don't YOU find us some credible sources that
agree with you? You have 3 or 4 of us here saying
you heat the joint, not the pipe. I googled on how to
solder, looked at what came up, and went to the ones
that seemed credible. Five out of 5 said to heat the
JOINT. If it's so damn effective, funny that so far
you're the only one endorsing it.
Since you endorsed tinning up new fittings and pipe with
solder before assembling them, I'd say you're the "newbie".
On Sat, 11 Feb 2012 05:55:28 -0800 (PST), " firstname.lastname@example.org"
And I didn't give the advice, did I?? I just said it works (which it
But not on copper drain pipes, or hydronic heating pipes - or even
pipes to the washing machine, or the outside hose bib, or the water
supply pipes to the toilet - or air or process piping - or fuel-gas
piping - so the premise still holds. Not that exposure to the lead is
a problem , necessarily, in any of the above.
I was soldering that way LONG before there WAS a google.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.