Introduction: How to Solder a Proper Plumbing Connection
In all areas of plumbing, it is very important to solder a good, clean joint. If you don't, there can be leaks of gases or liquids that flow through the pipe. So, in this instructable, I look forward to teaching you just that.
Step 1: What Do You Need to Solder a Proper Connection?
Things You Need
1. Flux Paste
2. Solder (Lead-Free)
3. Steel Wool
Note 1: When you use the steel wool it is advised to wear gloves as to not get any metal bits stuck in your hand. You also need these because the propane torch is very hot and so is the piping after you heat it up.
Note 2: As seen in one of the pictures above, something that you can do is use a Car Battery Terminal Brush to make it a lot easier when scratching up the inside of the pipe that you want to use. In the comments below OmarJ3 also supplied information that when you go back to solder past works you can get one of these with a stem to make it easier to clean the pipe.
6. The pipes that you are soldering
1. Propane Torch
2. Safety Glasses
3. Thick Work Gloves
Step 2: Prepping the Pipe
Prepping the pipe not only makes the pipe easier to solder but also helps the pipes hold together better by itself. To do this you must know that there are two different parts if a pipe. There is a fitting, and then there are the pipes themselves. The connectors are the larger bit of piping that the pipe fits into. For the fittings, you should use some steel wool to scratch up the inside (or you can use the car battery terminal brush as advised earlier). Then, use the steel wool again to scratch up the outside of the pipe. Finally, apply only a little bit of the flux paste to the end of the pipe. Connect fitting and pipe.
Note: In the comments below it was advised by tytower to only apply the flux paste where you want the solder to go. This is because the solder will go everywhere there is flux paste is. Thank you tytowers for commenting about this very helpful tip!
Step 3: Soldering the Joint
So, once you have prepped the pipe, you are ready to solder. Turn the propane torch on, using the sparker to ignite the flame. Then, put the tip of the flame on the fitting and put it no closer. If you do, it will basically turn the flux paste to ash, and you need the flux paste to conduct the heat. Once the pipe looks hot enough (this can be determined by seeing if the pipe starts to discolor), put your solder up against the joint (the joint is the place where the pipe and fittings meet). If the solder melts, take the torch away from the piping and let the solder ease into the joint, all the way around. You do not need a lot of solder, so don't use too much. However, if you see a lot of excess solder that has formed, quickly wipe it with a damp rag before it hardens.
Note 1: In the comments below OmarJ3 supplied the helpful information that before soldering pipes together that have already had water flowing through them, make sure that all of the water is out. The heat will be sucked in by the water, not the piping. Also, referring to the same thing mtoddh recommended below too, in case there is a leak shove a piece of bread into the piping to stop it. When you turn the water back on it will dissolve and flush out the bread. Of course, it was also said by DaFoxx50 to make sure to use white bread, because whole grain won't dissolve. Very important. It would be very embarrassing to get all that way and to have piece of bread be your downfall.
Note 2: In the comments below dlemke advised that you should heat the fitting from the bottom, and the heat will spread to the top. Then, because solder jumps to the heat, put the solder on the top and it will spread downwards.
Step 4: Cleaning Your Joints
So, when you are done you will see that the heat has probably messed up the coloring and dirtied some of the piping exposed to the flame (as seen above). When the piping has cooled, use the steel wool you used earlier to rub that off until the pipe looks as it did. You can get a lot of the messy stuff off but if there is any access, solder that has hardened, you are just going to have to leave it unless you want to heat the solder up again and wipe it off with a damp rag. However, if you do this if too much solder melts off you may need to apply more.
Note: It was advised by cdays_01 that after you are finished to add a little bit of flux paste to the metal and wipe it off to better clean it. However, if you remember, you could just brush it off with your finger while it's molten (you're wearing a glove).
Step 5: Step Back and Admire Your Work
Thanks for reading my Instructable. Also, a shout out to my Dad is in order as he is the person that passed all of this useful information onto me, and worked with me until I fully understood the essentials of soldering. Also, thank you for all of the extremely helpful comments that people have left me below. It really makes me happy and interested to hear all of your tips! Please remember to favorite and follow!
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