How are copper pipes connected?
Copper pipes are still found and used in many places. Sometimes there is a need to join or connect copper pipes and there are a number of methods for doing this. Each of these has its advantages and disadvantages and suits different situations.
The traditional methods of connecting copper pipes include soldering, brazing, and welding.
Soldering is an economical and effective method that involves the use of a filler metal (the solder) which is heated until it becomes like a glue. This is then used to ‘stick’ the pipes together.
Brazing is very similar to soldering but uses a different filler material and takes place at a higher temperature. Brazed joints tend to be stronger than soldered ones.
Welding involves using very high levels of heat to melt the two parts and allowing them to fuse as they cool. It sometimes involves the use of filler metals. Welded joints are always stronger than soldered or brazed ones.
Soldering or flame-based connections are not always practical. There are a number of options for where this is the case. This is where Copper pipe connectors prove very useful. There are a number of different options available when it comes to copper pipe connectors.
Compression fittings are one option. These work by ‘compressing’ a small brass ring between a nut and the fitting. This ring wedges itself against the pipe and creates a watertight connection when the nut is tightened. This is an affordable but slightly fidgety method.
A second type of solderless fitting is the clamp-on or pro-set fitting. These are premade and contain an O-ring. A special tool enables the fitting to be clamped onto the copper pipe which then creates a watertight connection with the O-ring. This type of joint is strong and quick to make but it requires specialist tools.
Push-on fittings are a third type of connector. These feature both an O-ring and a steel ring that has angled teeth. When these are pushed onto the pipe, the teeth ‘bite’ and the O-ring creates a waterproof seal.