If your home has a leaking copper pipe and you have never worked with this type of pipe before, then you have come to the right place! While working with copper may seem like a daunting task, the reality is that it is fairly simple to work with once you have gained a bit of hands-on experience.
Here are some tips to help your first copper pipe plumbing repair be safe and successful:
Tip #1: Safe and Effective Cutting
There are two methods of cutting copper piping:
- a handheld pipe cutting tool
- a hacksaw
If you have a handheld pipe cutting tool, then you should secure the pipe in a vice for easy cutting. The vice will hold the pipe in place and prevent it from spinning around when you attempt to cut it. This will ensure that you get a square cut on the end of the pipe. Square cuts are important to ensure that your plumbing repair doesn't leak.
If you will be cutting the pipe with a hacksaw, then you should cut the pipe in a miter box. The miter box will give you a place to rest the pipe, and it will make the resulting cut square.
Tip #2: Properly Caring for Pipe Ends and Fittings
In order to create a connection that doesn't leak, you must clean off the outside of the pipe and the inside of the fittings. The easiest way to accomplish this is to rub them with steel wool or sandpaper. Apply a constant pressure to the steel wool or sandpaper while slowly turning the pipe in your other hand. Rub the metal until it is shiny in appearance and no longer contains any dark oxidation staining.
Once you have cleaned off the oxidation, then you should take a moment and rub down the pipe and fittings with a cotton rag. This is very important because if you leave any debris on the pipe it can cause a leak.
Tip #3: Properly Applying Flux
To sweat the copper pipe to the fittings requires that you first apply flux. Apply the flux evenly to the clean end of the pipe and to the inside of the fittings. Connect the pipe to the fittings and turn the pipe to ensure that the flux is evenly spread. This will prevent leaks when you solder the joints together.
By utilizing the tips above, you can now safely and successfully fix your home's leaking copper pipe. If you feel like this type of a repair is beyond your comfort zone, then you should contact a licensed plumbing contractor like Biard & Crockett Plumbing in your local city or town for assistance.