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Copper soldering — the dos and the don’ts(8)

The following tips are there to assist the craftsperson to achieve lasting results.

Applying soldering

For tube in a horizontal position, start applying the solder slightly off centre at the bottom of the joint. Proceed across the bottom of the fitting and up to the top centre position. Return to the point of beginning, overlap the starting point, and then proceed up to the incomplete side to the top, again overlapping the solder.

For joints in the vertical position, a similar sequence of overlapping passes should be made, starting wherever is convenient. Molten solder will be drawn into the joint by capillary action regardless of whether the solder is being fed upward, downward or horizontally.

Cooling and cleaning

After the joint has been completed, natural cooling is best. Shock cooling with water may cause unnecessary stress on the joint and result in eventual failure. When cool, clean off any remaining flux with a wet rag.

Types of solder

There are a variety of solders available that will produce sound, leak‑tight joints. Solders that are used for piping applications contain tin and varying amounts of either antimony, copper, silver or lead.

Choice of solder will depend on the type of application and on local codes. For drinking water systems, solders that do not contain lead must be used.

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