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Plumbing Solder

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by n1st, Jul 21, 2007.

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  1. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    Hi Folks,

    Looking to do a plumbing project requiring soldering in the potable water line. Last time, long ago, I used lead solder and mercury flux - worked great! Some time back I used non-lead solder and the stuff was terrible - wouldn't melt. So, tell me what I should use for non-toxic soldering. I see non-lead solder, same but with acid core, and silver solder. I see flux with zinc base. What is the best (read does the best job)?

    Thanks.

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  2. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    IMHO..."SilverBrite" made by Engelhard...Probably the best "95/5" ever put on the market...just keep in mind soldering pipes is not like soldering for other applications. Keep the heat on the FITTING (will 'suck' the solder into the joint you are trying to sweat) watch for the "flame to turn green" and then apply the solder... follow these simple steps-and it's gonna be a piece of cake.
  3. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Bridgit is great stuff too but not as readily available as the Silver brite.
    Since the lead content is near non existant one needs to step up the heat nowadays.
    Propane is ok but MAPP is better, even better is disolved Acetylene.
    other than that make sure its been cleaned and use a good flux.
    And what Key said too......... ;-)
  4. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I used Silverbrite when replumbing the hot water heater. Takes more heat, so be patient. But it works fine. Use a heat shield if you're anywhere near wood.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Ain't it the truth. I wouldn't touch soldering plumbing for 40 years. When the water heater went belly up last time I went to the library and got a book. Soldering that pipe was the easiest thing in the world. Kicked myself for paying people to do that all of these years.

    Got so brave that when the sump pump went out I got me some practice gluing PVC too. Now THAT was exciting. Bail water out of the sump. Cut out the old pump. Bail water out of the sump. Run to the big box. Come home and bail water out of the sump. Put in the pump. It was pouring rain the whole time and that sump just kept rising all the time I was putting that thing in. It never quite made it to the top. Pheew.

    The prettiest sound in the world was that pump kicking on and the sound of water flowing in that pipe out of here!
  6. titan

    titan Minister of Fire

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    "Aquasol" is a lead-free solder I've used on potable water lines,some jobs even call for it's use in their spec.Brazing your copper joints is another alternative....no flux just copper/silver/phosphorous filler rod{oxy-acetylene torch required though}.One possible chemical free solution is to run pex tubing for pot.water lines;no solder or flux involved...just clean cross-linked polyethylene tubing and plastic fittings.Simple to install,short on labour, and tastes great....MMMM.
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Just a few basics for any kind of solder or flux:

    1.) Make sure there's no water in the pipe, or no solder is going to melt. Also, make sure there's a place for the air pressure to escape (such as an open valve) so that steam and hot air is not trying to exit from the joint you're trying to solder.

    2.) Cleanliness is essential for the areas being soldered, plus adjacent areas, such as the outside edges of fittings.

    3.) Make sure you get complete coverage of the flux on the pipe. Wipe it off with a clean rag and start over if the solder doesn't spread evenly with the brush.

    4.) Wipe all completed joints with a damp rag or steel wool for a nice, neat appearance.

    5.) As with wiring, cussing is an acceptable part of the process.

    Most of the soldering I do is on 3/4-inch and larger copper for heating systems. For some reason, larger diameter pipe and fittings are easier to solder. The half-inch stuff tends to be tricker, for some reason.
  8. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    Thanks folks, the soldering went fine. It was just as easy as the old lead stuff. I ended up using the Home Depot Oatley $8 kit that came with silver solder and a little tin of flux.
  9. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    Ok, I guess I'm not done yet :+(. My plan didnt work. So, here's some background...

    I'm looking to mix hot and cold and have it come out in my single outside spigot. I fear putting a ball valve on hot and cold and output them to a T then to the spigot because I've heard hot will crossover to cold (when spigot is turned off) and I'll end up with warm water in my toilet, etc. Is this an urban legend? How can I accomplish this? I don't want to replace my outside spigot with an outdoor hot/cold faucet for several reason I won't go into.

    My first attempt was to use a Symmons 4-10a, but pressure was too low with hot turned off. I thought about using a boiler mixing valve, but I don't know if I can get the water temp I want. I thought about using a shower valve, but $$ and it may crossover because I doubt it's expecting to be turned on 7/24. ...if crossover really does happen.
  10. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    It is thermodynamics the energy moves from the warm to the cold.(not to mention an increase in temp= an increase in PSI and since they share the same source)
    If you have them go to a t they will crossover, but if you have them go to a mixing valve (that gets shut) they should not.
    Now, we have no idea what you are trying to do so I cant go any further........(ahhhh even if I did know what you were trying to do I probably couldn't go any further.....) :red:
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I don't know about crossover, but it's an easy enough problem to avoid with a check valve.

    Just get a 1/2-inch check valve for about $10 and install it on the cold water feed side, with the ball valve on the hot side. The hot water won't be able to migrate through the check valve and back up into the cold line, even if it wants to.

    You can also buy a tempering valve at Home Depot for about $30 which will do essentially the same thing, just a little fancier.
  12. n1st

    n1st New Member

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    I was thinking about the check valve idea, thanks for validating the thought.
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