European Plumbing Secret

Need to do a bit of plumbing around your house? If you called a plumber or two you have probably heard the same things, basically that it is very expensive and it could be several days before he can show up. This is not ideal if water is pouring out of a broken pipe. What the homeowner should know is that basic plumbing repairs are quite simple for even the first time amateur plumber. Best of all, the cost to acquire all the tools and supplies will be cheaper than what you would pay a licensed plumber for just a single hour of work. Keep reading to learn how to make perfect connections every time.

Tools For The Job

For copper pipe repair you need 5 tools:

  1. Pipe Cutter – a small tool that clamps around pipe. You tighten the screw as you turn the clamp around the pipe, this cleanly cuts the pipe
  2. Sand Paper – any grit is fine, it is used to clean the areas two pipes meet.
  3. Flux – an acidic paste that allows the connection to seal together.
  4. Solder – get lead free, flux core. When melted bonds two pipes together.
  5. Propane Torch – used to heat up the connection and melt the solder.

You will also of course need copper pipe and fittings to make your repairs.

Directions To Repair Copper Pipe

  1. Turn off the main water line coming into your house. This is probably in the basement attached to your water meter.
  2. Open every single tap in the house and lets the water drain out. Do not forget bathtubs. This will depressurize the water pipes.
  3. Use the pipe cutter to cut all the pipe and mock up the repair. Put all the pieces in place but DO NOT solder them yet. You are just making sure that all the pieces fit.
  4. Lightly sand the ends of the pipes until they are shiny. Do the same for inside the fittings.
  5. Put a thin coating of flux on the pipe ends and inside the fittings. Do this for all fittings.
  6. Push all your pipes together and solder it up.

How To Solder.

The key to soldering is to heat the pipe and NOT the solder directly. Hold your torch on the bottom of the pipe and press your solder on the top of the pipe. When the pipe heats up the solder will melt and be sucked into the space where the two pipes meet.

The Secret

Now for the ‘secret’. There are new fittings on the market in North America that have been used in Europe for years that make this very easy. They have solder embedded at the contact point. You can identify them by the raised ring at both ends of the fitting. Simply follow steps 1-5 above then hold the flame directly on the fitting and in about 20 seconds you will see a bit of solder ooze out of the joint. You are done. A perfect, water tight connection every time. Wait 20 minutes for all the joints to cool down, close all your taps, and turn your water back on.