Find out how to ensure your plumbing project remains leak-free by soldering the pipes correctly. Get tips on applying the heat away from the joint and learn some other ways to join pipes if you are not comfortable soldering.
So gentlemen, where do we begin?
KEVIN: If a plumbing project is in your future, the best way to make sure it remains leak-free for the long haul is by doing a good job soldering pipes.
Richard, that’s your specialty; so what’s the secret to a job done right?
RICHARD: Well, as the good painters will tell you, it’s all in the prep. For soldering copper pipes
, you want to be sure we clean both the pipes and the fittings with an emery cloth and then you apply flux and make sure there’s a good, clean fit there together.
Now, when I go to solder, I love using a propane torch with this little trigger on it. It has a little sparker on it and it’ll light that flame easily without having to work with matches or a striker and that’s really handy. And when you’re putting that heat onto the joint, always apply the heat to the opposite side of where you’re going to apply the solder. Solder will actually go towards the heat in any direction. And always wear safety glasses.
KEVIN: So what if the homeowner is not comfortable with that big propane torch; they don’t like soldering? Are there other alternatives? How do you feel about compression joints?
RICHARD: Yeah, there’s compression fittings. There’s ones that have been around for a long time: the traditional compression fitting that requires you to take two wrenches and tighten up that nut and what it’ll do, it’ll squeeze down a little brass ring inside – called a ferrule – to make a watertight connection.
Now they also make a new fitting on the market – they call them SharkBites – and it actually sticks in like a Dutch finger. The pipe goes in and gets locked in but you can actually take it apart later to disassemble it. Now I obviously prefer soldering because I know how to and if you want to know more about how to, there’s a step-by-step video about how to solder copper pipes properly. Visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: Now if you don’t happen to have one of those compression fittings, can you use the Chinese finger puzzle? That kind of works the same way?
RICHARD: (chuckling) Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, and don’t get your fingers stuck in it. It’s painful.
TOM: (laughing) Richard Trethewey, Kevin O’Connor from This Old House, thanks for stopping by The Money Pit. Great tip, guys.
KEVIN: Glad to be here.
RICHARD: Our pleasure.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Thanks, guys.
You know, those are some great ideas to make sure that your plumbing projects are absolutely done right. If you want some more tips, head on over to ThisOldHouse.com and there you can watch step-by-step videos of the projects so you will learn exactly what you need to know.
TOM: And This Old House is proudly brought to you by The Home Depot. The Home Depot – more saving, more doing.