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Copper piping for potable water use must now be sweat-soldered using only lead-free solder.

 

Does anyone have experience with these new solders, regarding their relative ease of use, strength of the joint, and leak-tightness? Imp.

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This is not new. I've used them for more than 10 years, and have never used the leaded type. They need slightly more heat to melt but a propane torch is plenty hot. If you don't have a lot of experience then you shouldn't use anything hotter. If you clean and flux both the fittings and the pipe there should be no problem with leaks. Apply solder to the side opposite the heat until you get a drip or two. Wipe the hot solder with a clean cloth to ensure an even and clean connection and to remove the excess flux. I've never heard anything about the strength being better or worse than the leaded solder. I prefer tinning flux that has solder in it. By pretinning the connection it seems to draw the solder in more effectively.

 

If you have questions about what I've posted or if you want more complete instructions I'll be glad to answer.

 

wilgory

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I've never used the leaded sort either....

 

And of modern in the home plumbing isn't it all plastic these days?

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I've never used the leaded sort either....

 

And of modern in the home plumbing isn't it all plastic these days?

Not for supply water. Plastic is only used for waste, the gray and black water not under pressure (sinks and showers produce gray water, toilets produce black). Any water that might supply what you drink comes into the appliance via copper pipe.

 

I've never had a problem with the new solders. Just replaced a hose bib this last weekend with a couple of tricky overhead joins in a tight space. As wilgory mentioned, clean and flux properly and there shouldn't be a problem (I never wipe the hot solder with a cloth though, and the joins are always fine). The solder isn't as much of a problem as keeping your torch hot enough without setting wooden joists afire. :D

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Not for supply water. Plastic is only used for waste, the gray and black water not under pressure (sinks and showers produce gray water, toilets produce black). Any water that might supply what you drink comes into the appliance via copper pipe.

 

Interesting localisation. I hadn't really thought about it in these terms but in the UK even supply is plastic now. There's some cool flexible pipe you can get...

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Interesting localisation. I hadn't really thought about it in these terms but in the UK even supply is plastic now. There's some cool flexible pipe you can get...
I hope it's fortified with braided metal mesh or something. I really don't like the idea of the pipes under pressure in my walls and ceilings being made of plastic.

 

Something I learned a long time ago is to never use the plain rubber supply hoses they sell for washing machines. Some friends had asked me to housesit for them and their hot water hose burst as I was watching TV. It was a mess to clean up but can you imagine the mess if I hadn't been there? They were gone for six days....

 

Since that time I've spoken with contractors who specialize in renovating water damaged buildings and they all say that metal mesh reinforced washing machine hoses have taken a bite out of their business. Outside of those areas that get a lot of sub-zero temperatures, those plain rubber hoses are the biggest culprit for water damage by burst plumbing.

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I realise it's not the same thing, but at work I regularly use plastic pipe at 5000 PSI (yes, I mean over 300 bar)- it works fine. We also have copper "domestic" pipes which are being attacked by the soft water.

The pipes that feed water to my washing machine at home are some flexible rubber/ plastic stuff and stand up to the pressure of the cold water mains perfectly well.

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Not for supply water. Plastic is only used for waste, the gray and black water not under pressure (sinks and showers produce gray water, toilets produce black). Any water that might supply what you drink comes into the appliance via copper pipe.

:D

 

Must be a local code thing at work here. My house in Colorado was completely piped with CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) plastic pipe. Supposedly, PVC is adequate for cold water only, CPVC was made for hot or cold. I didn't care for the idea of plastic pipe either. When I built my own house (in Arizona), I used copper exclusively.

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Must be a local code thing at work here. My house in Colorado was completely piped with CPVC (chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) plastic pipe.
Must be a brand new thing at work here. My home in Colorado is about 16 years old and has copper supply throughout.

 

I'm sure there are plastics that can withstand the pressure over time (although I would be really leery about female fittings cracking after many pressure changes) and I suppose there are glues that will hold up. I'm sure at times copper is going to be more expensive but I just can't see plastic being the better bargain in the long run. And as oil prices surge I'll bet copper will become popular again.

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