Soldering for the First Time
WEB EXCLUSIVE: In a recent episode of Ask This Old House, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey helped landscape designer Jenn Nawada hook up a fridge with an icemaker. While he was there, he offered Jenn a crash course on soldering.
- Shut the water off to the pipes being soldered.
- Measure and cut the pipes to length using the pipe cutter. Have a bucket ready to catch any water left over in the pipe.
- Let the pipes dry before soldering or the connection won’t take.
- Use a pipe cleaner to clean the outside of the pipes and the insides of the fittings.
- Generously apply flux to the cleaned ends of the pipes and fittings and fit the pieces together.
- Hold the blowtorch on the opposite side of where you plan to apply to solder. Wait a few minutes to allow the pipe to heat up, and then gently touch the pipe with the solder. If it quickly wraps around the entire connection, then it took properly. If it did not, continue to heat the pipe up and try again.
- Wipe down the excess solder on the pipe with a rag.
- Turn the water back on.
All the materials required for soldering – solder, flux, blowtorch, pipes, and fittings – are available at home centers and plumbing supply houses.