While working with copper plumbing for the first time may seem intimidating, the reality is that copper plumbing is easy to work with if you follow these tips:
Tip #1: Use The Correct Cutting Tool
As a relatively soft metal, copper pipes can be cut with a hacksaw or specialty pipe cutter. You can purchase either of these tools at your local hardware or home improvement store.
If you are going to use a hacksaw to cut copper plumbing, then using a brand new blade will make clean and effortless cuts. Clean cuts are important to avoid the possibility of repair-site leaks and to keep your frustration level to a minimum.
Tip #2: Secure The Pipe For Cutting
The hardest part of cutting copper pipes is securing the pipe so that it does not roll around while you cut it. Confining the pipe while you cut it will ensure that you make nice clean cuts through the pipe. If you do not have a vice to hold the pipe section, then you can cut a "V" shaped notch into a section of scrap lumber to hold the pipe. Alternatively, you can also secure the pipe between two scrap wood blocks. Hold the blocks of wood together with one hand or a clamp, and then cut the pipe with the other hand.
Tip #3: Prepare The Pipe For Flux
In order for the flux to sufficiently adhere to the copper pipes when you sweat them, you need to properly prepare the pipes by removing their outer oxidation layer and any dirt on the pipe. Since steel is harder than copper, you should use a steel wool pad to clean any oxidation off of the copper.
After cleaning the pipe with the steel wool, you need to wipe it down with a clean rag or shop towel. Excess copper shavings on the pipe can cause the sweated connections to leak.
Tip #4: Use The Right Flux For Copper
Copper pipes require a coating of flux before they are soldered. The flux keeps the copper pipe from oxidizing as you heat it to apply the solder weld, also called sweating. Using a flux designed for copper is vital, because other types of flux material can be too acidic and cause damage to your plumbing.
As you can see, working with copper plumbing isn't as difficult as you imagined it to be. If you would like professional assistance fixing your copper plumbing, then you should contact a licensed plumbing contractor in your city or town. One company that may be able to meet your needs is Bode's Electric & Plumbing Inc.