Pipe Joining Methods ? Water Piping

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Pipe Joining Methods

The next few paragraphs will go over the different ways we, as plumbers join pipe and fittings together. In each description we will list the different plumbing systems and which pipe joining methods apply and finally, the benefits and drawbacks of each.

?This is the process of joining pipe by melting a filler metal with a low melting point into a joint. When the filler metal cools it bonds the two pieces of metal together. In plumbing this technique is mostly done with copper piping. Soldering is used on all three plumbing systems water, waste and vent piping.

Brazing is very similar to soldered joints in that a filler metal with a melting point lower than the metal being joined is used to fill a joint between two base metals. Brazing is done primarily on water piping and more specifically on water services or larger diameter piping. It is a much more forgiving technique.

Threaded pipe and fittings as they relate to galvanized water piping is a dying joining option. It will always be used for repairs or on specialized fittings i.e, flange fittings but it is not a preferred installation.

(Polypropylene piping) Although this technology has been around since the 60s it?s had an extremely tough time gaining widespread use. Fusion technology is used when the plastics being joined can?t be joined using cement. The basic procedure is as follows, a device/tool is used to heat the fitting and piping to a certain temperature melting a thin layer of the polypropylene plastic, the pipe is inserted into the fitting making sure the pipe hits home. After a certain time, usually around 15 to 20 seconds the pipe and fitting can no longer be manipulated and the fitting cures. The pipe and fittings actually fuse into one piece along the area of contact ensuring a positive seal.

A mechanical joint is any method joining piping or fittings by way of a coupling that uses compression of a rubber gasket to ensure a water tight seal. Two examples of mechanical joints are flanged pipe and fittings, grooved pipe with couplings or fittings that have a rubber gasket which sits inside the groove and the rubber is compressed filling the groove and sealing the joint.

1The science behind soldering is very old and has literally stood the test of time.

1The science behind soldering is very old and has literally stood the test of time.
2There is a learning curve but it isn?t steep by any stretch so it?s fairly easy to learn.
3The joints are fairly strong and water tight if done properly.

On larger diameter copper piping (3? and up) there is quite a bit of room for human error. Has the piping been cleaned properly (using flux)? Does the person doing the installation have enough experience using heat or torch control to heat the joint properly and uniformly? Capillary action draws the filler metal into the joint, if the bottom of the joint gets too hot you can draw the solder down to the bottom of the joint leaving a gap at the top.

The piping materials and filler metal are expensive. With owners, installers and consumers being so cost conscious these days copper can be cost prohibitive.

On larger diameter copper piping (3? and up) there is quite a bit of room for human error. Has the piping been cleaned properly (using flux)? Does the person doing the installation have enough experience using heat or torch control to heat the joint properly and uniformly? Capillary action draws the filler metal into the joint, if the bottom of the joint gets too hot you can draw the solder down to the bottom of the joint leaving a gap at the top.
The piping materials and filler metal are expensive. With owners, installers and consumers being so cost conscious these days copper can be cost prohibitive.
If proper heat or torch control is not observed the hard copper can be annealed (softened) if too much heat is applied.

Benefits

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