There is a significant difference between a pro and an amateur solderer. First of all, the pro solderer has tremendous experience and probably soldered copper pipe a hundred times, if not more. On the other hand, amateur solderer maybe never before using a heat gun on the copper pipe. In fact, many professionals love to use a pencil torch instead of a heat gun. But today, we will talk about how to solder copper pipe with a heat gun. After all, why not use the equipment you have and save some money by doing it like a pro?
First, you need to have a decent heat gun that is at least capable of doing 300 celsius. Most of the decent heat guns can do much more than that. So having a proper heat gun is the first step. After that, it is a perfect thing to use a temperature guide. The temperature guide will help you not to burn things down and actually destroy the pipe. However, I am not sure if you can destroy the copper pipe with a heat gun. Maybe it can if you have a mighty heat gun.
You will also need a lead-free solder. Lead-free solder is used because it is always good to be on the safe side and use lead-free solder. If you use any other type of solder, wear a mask. Your health is way more important than some pipes. Also, you will need to get flux paste, some wet cloth, and some dry cloth to clean sweat from your head. Just kidding, but if you are the first time doing copper pipe soldering, then there may be some sweat on your forehead.
The most important thing is to place a copper pipe on something that will not burn. The heat mat is what professionals use, but bricks, stones, or anything you can’t burn is good enough.
Step By Step Copper Pipe Soldering
After you have prepared everything you need, you need to use some cloth to clean the pipe ends. You can buy special fabric for pipe cleaning. You need to remove all the dirt from the pipe. You want to have pipes as shiny as it gets. After that, you can use fittings. There are many different types of fittings. If they ait clean wipe them too, any dirt needs to be removed, or else there may be problems later on.
After you wiped everything from the pipes and fitting, use the flux. Place it at the end of the pipe. Make sure all around the pipe is flux. Also, add some flux inside the fitting. Flux will make sure that the pipe will easily get inside the fitting. Place both pipes in the joint. It would help if you were sure that pipes are pushed all the way in. And that’s about it. The excess flux that is on the pipe and fitting needs to be removed. You can use paper or cloth to remove excess flux.
Now place the pipes on a heat mat or whatever you use to hold the pipe while you’re heating it. Make sure you don’t use a material that burns. Now you are ready to heat the pipe. Use the heat gun on the pipe; it will take a couple of minutes to heat the pipe at the proper temperature. Usually, it takes longer with heat guns that have low-temperature power. Anyway, you want to get the temperature to 180 celsius or a bit more than that. If you don’t have a temperature guide that monitors temperature instantly, then you can watch the pipe changing color. Maybe some smoke coming from the pipe is a good enough sign that the pipe is ready for lead-free solder.
When you touch the pipe with a solder watch if it is melting, if it is melting, then you are ready to do the soldering process with a heat gun. Use a heat gun from one side and imply solder on others. Get it all around the pipe. Repeat process on both ends. In the end, apply more flux to the joints. The pipe is extremely hot, do not touch it. Use the wet cloth to cool it down. Leave the wet cloth on the pipe for some time.
When the pipe is cold, you should clean it. Make it shiny; you can use various clothes to do that. In the end, carefully inspect the joints and make sure that you can see solder all around them. That’s a great sign that joints are well connected and soldered.
As you can see, using a heat gun is a good way to solder copper pipes; however, doing it with a pencil torch is much faster. The process is almost the same. I can highly recommend using a heat gun that is capable of doing at least 500 Celsius, or else heating the pipe may take longer than expected. One of the recommendable heat guns on the market is, without a doubt Dewalt heat gun.