Torches have been a very useful tool to us for generations. No, we are not talking about the flashlight; we are talking about the one who ignites the flame. Coming in various shapes and sizes, the main function of the tool remains the same. So, how to use torch for soldering copper pipe?
Now Suppose you are starting your new plumbing career, or someone told you to solder a copper pipe. In both cases, you would need knowledge about torches.
You go to the hardware store or search online. Either way, you come across lots and lots of torches. After seeing all the labels and technical terms, you get even more confused. Which one are you supposed to buy?
It can be pretty troublesome to buy the one you need but don’t worry because we are here to help you. We will provide everything you need to know about torches and soldering copper pipes.
After reading this guide, you’ll be able to find the best torch suited for your job. So without further ado, let’s dive in.
- 1 How To Use Torch For Soldering Copper Pipe?
How To Use Torch For Soldering Copper Pipe?
Even if you take matters into your hand, searching for the best torch can be time-consuming.
There are just too many types of torches out there. We can’t blame the manufacturers tho. Every gas torch was made to offer you help in different scenarios.
As we are going to use the torch for soldering a copper pipe. We did the research and picked out the best two choices you can go for.
These two are propane gas torch and MAPP gas torch. We have boiled it down to easy bits so that you can understand them properly. So let’s get to know about the gases first.
When it comes down to MAPP vs. propane, people usually go for propane because it’s a well-known fuel.
Propane can give you more control over the flame because it doesn’t burn as hot as MAPP. Well, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.
People can use it for cooking food. But few people have complained that cooking with propane can leave smells of gas. Don’t be alarmed. Propane is a pure alkane, and it does not produce any nasty smell.
Since MAPP is not cheap, people always go for propane instead of MAPP. Propane is also environment-friendly. We guess these are the reasons why so many people use propane.
As we have already said, MAPP is not cheap. But it’s not expensive for the sake of being expensive; it has its reasons.
MAPP can burn up to 3730 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas propane burns at a temperature of 3600 degrees Fahrenheit.
MAPP is even hotter than butane. Because it’s hotter than the other gases, people use MAPP for work, requiring a tremendous amount of heat.
This amount of heat can both be a blessing and a curse. Because it burns so hotly, it can present danger for people working with it. So always use it the right way.
You can also cook with MAPP gas if you want.
Now that we know about both MAPP and propane, we can easily determine which one should be used to solder copper pipes.
You already know the answer; yes, you should use a torch that runs on MAPP gas. But you may ask, why should I choose MAPP?
It’s because soldering a copper pipe requires a lot of heat. If you have a hot torch, the process will take a shorter duration to complete than a less hot torch.
But we’re not saying that you can’t use a propane torch. You can, but that would take much more time. This is why we are recommending the MAPP torch.
Since you were looking for the right torch for soldering copper pipes, we can only assume that you would also like to know how to solder a copper pipe.
If our assumption is right, then let’s go to the next part of our guide, shall we?
How To Solder A Copper Pipe?
Before you start soldering, you have to take preparation. The preparation is divided into two parts: preparing yourself and preparing the necessary tools and materials needed.
Prep yourself by putting on protective gloves. You are going to work with high temperatures. You will need gloves that can withstand high amounts of temperature. Then, wear goggles.
A torch can malfunction any time, and it might send sparks of flames towards you. So weaning goggles is necessary to protect your eyes. It’ll be even better if you wear a helmet.
Now let’s talk about the tools and materials you will need to complete the task.
- The first tool is the torch itself, and you can find a good torch for about 30-60 dollars. If your torch does not have a built-in igniter, you can use a dedicated igniter or a cheap lighter. But we would recommend buying a torch which has a built-in igniter.
- You have to thoroughly clean the copper pipes before you solder them. For this, you will need sandpapers and round wire brushes.
- You will also need flux. The soldering is impossible without flux.
- And the last thing you’ll be needing is solder wire. There are two types of solder wire: lead solder and lead-free solder. We will be using lead-free solder because it’s safer.
Now that we are all ready let’s start the soldering process.
1. Clean Both The Copper Pipes, Which Will Be Joined Together.
Take the sandpaper and sand the portion which will go inside the other pipe. Sand it well because if you don’t do your job properly, the soldering might not be that good.
Sand the pipe until it’s really smooth to look at. Now take the fitting pipe (the pipe which will get penetrated) and use the round wire brush to clean the interior of the fitting.
2. Now Apply The Flux. It’s Self-Explanatory.
You just take both the pipes and apply the flux over the surfaces, which will touch each other. After applying the flux, assemble both the pipes together. Use all the force you have while assembling.
3. Start Soldering The Pipes.
When soldering a pipe, most people start heating the pipe with a torch from the pipe’s top portion. Even professional plumbers make this mistake.
If you start from the top, gravity will pull down your solder, but because the other portions aren’t yet heated, the solder has nowhere to settle down.
So always start from the bottom of the pipe and work your way up. There’s another benefit of heating up the bottom first.
When you heat the bottom, the heat rises to the top faster. as opposed to starting from the top, which takes longer for the heat to go down.
4. Keep Heating
Keep heating up the pipe and check if your solder is getting sucked in. eventually, your pipe will get hot enough to accept your solder.
Few Things To Remember When You Are Soldering
People often can forget things or make mistakes. After finishing the soldering process, sometimes your soldering doesn’t look right.
It can happen due to the portion of the pipe not getting properly heated up. If that’s the case, don’t worry, we got your back.
Just apply another layer of flux paste and heat the pipe again. Sometimes people just directly start heating the pipe again without applying flux. That is not recommended. After heating the pipe, solder it again.
When you are sure that the soldering process was correctly done, don’t clean up the pipe right away. Let it cool down properly.
Some people clean the pipe right after soldering it. This causes a big drop in temperature inside the pipe and can lead to fracturing the joints. Fractured joints can cause leaks.
After everything is done, wipe off the pipe with a towel or a rag. Flux is basically acid, and if kept on the pipe for longer than 24 hours, it’ll render the solder useless, causing the pipe to come off. This is why wiping is necessary after soldering the pipe.
As we are close to the end, you may decide whether or not you want to use MAPP gas to sell your copper pipe. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can also go for propane gas which is a bit safer to use. There are always options available.
Using a torch that operates on MAPP gas can be fast for your job, but on the other hand, propane torches are better when it comes down to efficiency. Propane torches are also cheaper to buy.
So now it depends on you. Would you like to trade time for wealth? We mean that MAPP would save you your precious time whereas propane will save you money and help our environment a bit because of efficiency.
No matter which one you chose, the instructions and the information we have provided you would apply to both MAPP and propane. I hope now you know about how to use torch for soldering copper pipe.
See you next time!