3 Things You Need to Replace a Copper Pipe Like a Pro

15 January 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles

If you need your entire home fitted with new pipes or if you have substantial plumbing leaks, then it is in your best interest to contact a plumbing professional such as Orange Coast Plumbing to help you with your residence. A contractor is also best if you are having a new home built that needs a complete water and drainage system built from scratch.

However, if you notice a small leak in your basement or if you want to install a water heater, then you may want to attempt the plumbing yourself. Most homes have copper pipes and you will need a set of tools and products like the ones that the professionals use. Keep reading to find out about a few of these things and how they can help you complete your copper plumbing work.

Pipe Cutter

If you need to replace a small length of pipe, then you may think that you will need to find the fittings on either end of the pipe to make the replacement. Copper piping is expensive, and it can cost you around $60 for a single length of 10-foot copper pipe. Not only will the pipe cost a good deal of money, but you may be unable to loosen the pipe from the fittings. Many plumbers use thread adhesives to prevent leaks around the fittings. You may be able to loosen the material with a plumber's wrench, but you can damage the fittings and the pipes in the area.

A pipe cutter tool can prevent these problems. A pipe cutter is a plumbing tool that contains a sharp cutting wheel. The wheel passes over the entire circumference of the pipe after you tighten and twist the tool in a clockwise fashion. You can ensure a clean cut with the tool as well to prevent sharp pipe edges. You can purchase a pipe cutter at your local home improvement store. Just make sure to buy a product for metal pipe. PVC cutting tools are available as well, but they will not be strong enough to work through copper.

Soldering Flux

Once you cut out the old piece of copper pipe, you will need to solder the new one in place. Before any soldering begins, you need to make sure that the old and new pipe ends are as clean as possible. Dirt, grease, and oil from the hands can prevent the solder from adhering to the copper properly. This will create an uneven, messy, and leaky joint. Soap and water can remove some of the debris from the pipe material.

To fully prepare the metal though, you need to remove the oxidation from the pipe as well as the debris. Solder flux will do this so your pipe joints are as strong as possible.

There are a variety of different flux varieties you can choose from. Paste varieties are often easier to work with than liquid types of flux. Once you purchase the material, place a small amount of it around the joint areas before you begin to solder.

Propylene Torch

When you solder the joints of your new and old copper piping together, you will need to heat up the pipe. This allows the solder to melt as you create the joint. Many people purchase propane torches before they start their plumbing work. Propane torches can heat up your copper pipe effectively, but it may not stay hot enough for long if you are inexperienced with the use of solder. The solder may then clump up as you try to apply it to the copper pipe.

If you want to avoid soldering concerns, consider purchasing a propylene torch instead of a propane one. This type of torch produces a flame that is 200 or more degrees hotter than a propane one. Your copper pipe will then heat up faster and stay hot longer so you have more time to apply the solder.

It is always wise to hire a contractor for large and complicated plumbing jobs. If you need to replace a small length of pipe or if you want to deal with a leak on your own, then you can try the fix yourself. Just make sure to purchase the products above before you start.