Copper pipes remain popular for a number of reasons, notably, the fact that they are durable, strong, corrosion-resistant, and eco-friendly. There are a number of instances where it is necessary to join copper pipes together, and there are several ways to do so.
Traditional joining methods
There are several traditional methods for joining copper pipes. Some are heat-based whilst others are regarded as ‘flameless’. The three that involve heat are soldering, brazing, and welding.
Soldering involves the use of soldering irons and a metal filler material known as solder. The fillers must melt at temperatures of below 840°F. When the solder melts, it becomes like a glue that is attached to the two parts, essentially ‘sticking’ them together. The solder solidifies as it cools, creating the bond.
Brazing is similar to soldering in many ways. However, it requires higher temperatures than soldering and uses different filler materials. It does, though, create more solid joins.
Welding is another step up from the other two methods and involves using very high temperatures to melt and join two pipes. It can sometimes also involve the use of a filler metal. Welded joints are extremely strong, but welding requires specialist skills and equipment.
Another traditional method, often used where open flames or high heat are not practical, is the flared joint. This involves ‘flaring’ one end of one of the pipes, then using a special fitting that goes into that end and fits into the other. This method is fairly straightforward and creates leak proof seals.
There are also a number of more modern methods that involve the use of special connectors or fittings such as push-to-connect fittings.
Copper pipe connectors
Copper pipe connectors are a popular non-flame method for joining copper pipes. Specialists such as Watkins and Powis offer a number of products when it comes to copper pipe connectors and can provide advice as to which will best suit your needs.
In summary, there are several methods available for connecting copper pipes. Each has its pros and cons and is more suited to certain applications.