Soldering tips can make a BIG difference.
...the difference between getting frustrated and having an easier time or
...the difference between burning down the house or NOT!!!
If you've watched my other tutorials you know I LOVE PEX.
But sometimes you'll have to solder in fittings.
So today's quick soldering tips will hopefully help make this process smarter and better.
Here are the supplies you need
- Bernzomatic Map Gas ($16)
- Berzomatic Trigger Start ($50)
- Ridgid No. 15 Pipe Cutter ($31
- )Fitting Wire Brush ($11)
- Emery Cloth ($3)
- Laco Flux ($14)
- Flux Brush ($4)
- Silvabrite 100 Lead Free Solder ($34)
- 1/2″ Copper Pipe ($10)
- 1/2″ 90 Degree Elbows ($10 for Bag of 10)
- Heat Shield ($15)
- Safety Glasses ($5)
- Fire Extinguisher ($30)...yes, it's not a bad idea to have this...just in case
Step 1: Choose Your Torch
MAPP gas burns hotter than propane.
I've tried both types of gas and prefer MAPP but maybe you disagree. Let me know in the comments.
That said, if you want to spend less time heating up the pipes and exposing the surroundings to a flame, MAPP is the way to go.
Btw, it’s called MAPP but MAP-Pro is on the canister below.
Step 2: Get a Trigger Starter
Bernzomatic makes a great trigger starter for MAP-Pro canisters.
I’d recommend getting one of these because it makes soldering easier and safer.
The flame is easily controlled by simply pressing or depressing the starter button.
And no, this tutorial isn't sponsored by Berzomatic, I just liked their trigger starter.
How should you prep copper pipe BEFORE soldering?
Step 3: Cut and Debur Copper Pipe
Cutting copper pipe is easy.
Both the Ridgid No. 15 or AutoCut tool are great for cutting copper pipe.
The only downside to the AutoCut tool is that it doesn't have a deburring tool like the Ridgid No. 15.
The downside the the No. 15 is that it's big and doesn't fit in small spaces.
Pick the tool you think you'll use most. Or if you're like me you get both...I love having tools that work.
Debur the inside of the cut copper pipe, this removes shards of copper leftover from the cutting.
Use either a wire brush or emery cloth to clean the inside and outside of the pipe. Use the wire brush to clean the inside of fittings, e.g. 90 degree elbows or T-fittings.
Step 4: Apply Flux to Copper Pipe
Apply a thin layer of flux to the outside of the pipe.
And inside of the fitting.
You don’t need a ton of flux, just enough to cover the surface of the pipe and fitting.
Inspect the pipe and fitting to make sure none of the brush hairs are on them.
A single brush hair can ruin your soldering job…darn hairs!!! How do you approach the actual soldering?
Step 5: Time to Solder
Soldering isn’t hard…after you practice.
My biggest recommendation is to practice somewhere safe before trying to solder inside a wall or ceiling.
Buy 10 fittings and some copper pipe. Setup a little practice station outside and have at it.
That way, you’ll get familiar with your torch and won’t risk burning down the house on the first try.
I like to heat up the pipe for a few seconds then apply heat behind the fitting.
That way, the solder will be drawn into the fitting/pipe connection.
Check out my video for the quick tips.
Now your turn.
What do you think
Are you more comfortable with the idea of soldering after this tutorial?
Let me know down in the comments.
Also, if you have a preference in terms of solder, flux or torch share that in the comments as well.
I believe that having the right tools make a BIG difference.
If you’ve found a soldering setup that works for you share it below.
Make it a great day,