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HOW-TO HOW-TO WORK WITH SMALL BORE COPPER AND PLASTIC PIPES Modern homes rely on piped

HOW-TO

HOW-TO WORK WITH SMALL BORE COPPER AND PLASTIC PIPES

HOW-TO WORK WITH SMALL BORE COPPER AND PLASTIC PIPES Modern homes rely on piped domestic hot

Modern homes rely on piped domestic hot and cold water and gas, as well as hot water for central heating.

This How-to guide will show you how to cut, join and fix pipe-work easily and neatly in above-ground installations.

WARNING

This How-To guide covers pipe-work for water and waste. Pipe-work for gas must only be carried out by a competent engineer and in compliance with CORGI and IEE regulations.

MATERIALS

To a large extent, these will depend on the job and the type of pipe used.

• Copper tube

• Plastic tube

• Fittings

• Pipe clips to suit pipes

• Screws for pipe clips, 32 x 4mm or 40 x 4mm countersunk (c/sk)

• Jointing paste, white and green for drinking (potable) water

• Plumber’s tallow

• Powerflow flux

• Wire wool, ‘O’ grade

• Solder, lead free for use with drinking (potable) water

• Kitchen towel

TOOLS

• Hammer-action electric drill, plus masonry and HSS twist bits

• Mini pipe cutter for pipes from 8–22mm

• Plastic/vinyl pipe cutter

• Blowtorch

• Heat shield pad

• Small brush for paste flux

• Junior hacksaw

• Adjustable wrenches, 250mm, 200mm

• Slip nose pump pliers

• Pozidrive No.2 screwdriver

• Claw hammer, 16oz

• Round file, medium cut

• Half round tapered file, medium cut

• Bradawl

• 4mm mild steel rod x 1m

• Bending springs, internal 15mm, 22mm

• Steel brushes for cleaning inside copper tube and fittings, 15mm and 22mm

• Steel tape measure

• Combination try square

• Small hand or dental mirror

• Chalk line

• Spirit-based pen, fine fibre point

• HB pencil

• Knee pads

F1
F1
F1
F1
F1

F1

F1
F1
F1
F1
F1

BEFORE YOU START

Do a sketch of your proposed project. Include measurements. List the type and number of each fitting you need. If you are new to soldering, buy an extra length of pipe and a few fittings with which to practice. Clear as much space as possible. If working in a loft, ensure good lighting and boards on which to walk and kneel safely and comfortably.

F2

F2
F2

COPPER PIPE

The most readily available is half tempered and therefore easy to work with and bend. For small-bore work, the most common sizes are 15mm and 22mm, available in 3m lengths.

TYPES OF JOINT FITTING

There are dozens of different fittings available. F1 shows the most commonly used.

1

equal straight coupler

2

reducing straight coupler

3

90 degree bend or elbow

4

obtuse elbow

5

equal tee fit

6

reducing tee

7

straight tap connectors

8

bent tap connectors

9

full crossover

10

stop end

11

reducer

Designation of fittings

For straight fittings with unequal ends, the larger end is given first (F2A). For tee fittings, first specify the ends on the run (larger end first) and then the branch (F2B). For fittings with either one end capillary or compression and an alternative other end, such as in male to iron, give the compression or capilliary first, such as Yorkshire 22mm x in male to iron.

In old properties with imperial size tubing, to join metric tube to imperial:

For in, use a 15mm joint For 1in, use a 28mm joint For in, special 22mm adaptors are required.

There are special compression fittings for joining copper to lead pipe. Mechanical joints – compression and push-fit – should be installed so that they can be inspected for leaks. A well-made solder joint, once it has been pressure tested, can be hidden and forgotten.

F3

F3

CUTTING COPPER PIPE

F3 CUTTING COPPER PIPE F4 With a saw: 1 Use a spirit-based fibre tipped pen to
F4
F4

With a saw:

1 Use a spirit-based fibre tipped pen to mark the pipe to length.

2 Wrap a piece of paper round the pipe as a guide.

3 Use a junior hacksaw to cut the pipe.

4 De-burr, using a round file inside and a half round file outside.

With a pipe cutter:

1 Mark the pipe to length.

2 Adjust the pipe cutter to closely fit the pipe. Tighten the knurled knob and turn the cutter until the pipe is severed (F3). 3 De-burr the inside of the pipe with a round file. Ensure all filings are removed.

JOINTING COPPER PIPE

There are three methods of jointing copper pipe: compression, push-fit and solder joints (F1).

COMPRESSION JOINTS

Compression joints are semi-permanent and are used for joining tubes together or for joining tubes to equipment. They require little skill to assemble or take apart and few tools. They can be made where water is present and are suitable for both plastic and copper tubing. Some compression fittings are available in chrome finish for work with chromed or stainless pipe.

Compression joints consist of:

1 A socket with a stop-end to take the tube, which has an external thread.

2 A compression olive (soft metal seal), which seats in the mouth of the socket.

3 A coupling nut that, when tightened, compresses the olive onto the tube to make a joint (F4).

F5
F5

To use compression fittings:

F6
F6

1 Cut the tube square and de-burr it.

2 Line the thread of the nut with a smear of jointing paste.

3 Slide the nut over the tube followed by the olive.

4 Insert the tube into the socket and tighten the nut by hand. Use spanners to tighten the nut by approximately 1 turns for 15-22mm pipe and one turn for 28mm pipe (F5).

Do not over-tighten the nut as you may cause the pipe to leak.

PUSH-FIT FITTINGS

These may be used with both copper and plastic pipe in 15mm and 22mm sizes. Those sold by HOMEBASE are semi-permanent and may be re-used. They cannot be used for gas, fuel oil or compressed air applications.

Push-fit fittings (F1 and F6) require little skill and very few tools. They are quick and easy to assemble and undo, while the joints can be rotated after connection, which makes assembly easy, especially in a tight situation. They can be made where water is present and are available for both copper and plastic pipe-work.

To use push-fit fittings:

1 Cut the pipe square and de-burr it.

2 Push the pipe fully into the fitting, using 30mm for 15mm pipe and 35mm for 22mm pipe.

3 Pull the collet back (F6) and onto the pipe, ensuring it is secure.

4 Insert the collet clip to ensure maximum grip (F6). A tamper-proof collet can be slid over the connection. Remember to slide it over the pipe before making the connection.

To demount a push-fit joint:

1 Remove the tamper-proof collet.

2 Remove the collet clip.

3 Set the adjustable spanner to the diameter of the pipe and slide it against the collet, withdrawing the pipe at the same time.

Connections to boilers:

A minimum 350mm distance between a boiler and push-fit connections must be maintained.

Plastic push-fit valves and taps are not suitable for central heating installations.

F7
F7

F8

F8
F8

SOLDER JOINTS

F9
F9
F10
F10

There are two types of solder joint: Yorkshire, which has a recess filled with solder, and End Feed, which is fed with solder at its open end.

Solder joints are cheap, small, neat and permanent. They can be made in a tight working area and, if made well, can be hidden and forgotten. They do, however, require more skill, care and attention to cleanliness than mechanical joints.

When jointing into existing pipe-work, there must not be any water present. If the pipe cannot be drained, use a compression or push-fit fitting.

SAFETY

When using a blowtorch, it is a good idea to have a fire blanket and fire extinguisher handy. Take extra care when working near old, dry timber.

Making an end feed joint:

1 Check for and discard any tube with dents or creases.

2 Cut the tube square with a junior hacksaw or tube cutter. De-burr the tube inside and outside.

3 Clean the exterior of tubes and inside of fittings with ‘O’ grade wire wool and a wire brush (F7). CLEANLINESS IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE.

4 Apply flux paste with a small, clean brush to the matting area of the fitting and tube (F8).

5 Insert the tubes into the fitting. Turn the fitting to ensure an even coverage of flux. Remove excess flux with kitchen towel.

6 Check the alignment of the fitting and tubes.

7 Protect the surrounding area with heat shield mats.

8 Apply heat evenly to the tubes adjacent to the fitting with a blowtorch. Move the flame all around the fitting until fumes appear from the flux (F9).

9 Apply solder to the ends of the fitting (F10). Use approximately 15mm of solder for 15mm fittings and 22mm of solder for 22mm fittings. Let the hot copper pipe and fitting melt the solder and draw it into the fitting by capillary action. Apply heat evenly and do not over-heat. 10 Wipe off excess solder with wire wool. Check with a mirror that there is a ring of bright solder all round the joints. Leave to cool. Don’t touch it with bare fingers – IT IS VERY HOT.

F11
F11

F11

Making a Yorkshire joint

1 Prepare, as in points 1 to 7 above.

2 The fitting already contains a ring of solder. Apply heat evenly over the joint and pipes until a bright ring of solder appears at the end of the fitting. Apply a little more solder and finish as above.

If solder does not run easily into a fitting, try applying more flux. If this does not work either, the fitting is misaligned or dirty. The joint must be re-made.

1 Heat the joint and pull or knock it apart. Use a heat shield pad or pump pliers.

2 Discard the fitting.

3 Reheat the pipe end and remove the solder with wire wool.

4 Remake the joint as above.

HINT

When connecting to fittings containing any sort of washer or ‘0’ ring, such as a drain tap, dismantle it before applying heat.

PLASTIC PIPE

Plastic pipe for above-ground domestic use is suitable for all domestic hot and cold water and central heating installations.

Do not use for gas, fuel oil or compressed air.

It is available in 15mm and 22mm sizes; in 25m and 50m coils; and in 2m and 3m straight lengths.

Joints may be either brass compression or plastic push-fit.

A special insert is pushed into the pipe to support the walls (F6). Make sure the insert is correct for the pipe and

fitting. A super seal insert with a secondary seal ‘O’ ring gives a better seal and security.

Using plastic pipe

When connecting to a boiler, a minimum of 350mm run of copper pipe must be installed between the boiler and the plastic.

If it is necessary to pass plastic pipe through a metal joist or bulkhead, insert a rubber grommet into the hole to protect the pipe.

Cutting plastic pipe

Cut with a handsaw and de-burr with a sharp craft knife. A far cleaner cut and better joint is made using a plastic pipe cutter (F11).

Bending plastic pipe

A bending spring is not required. The tube must not be over-bent or it will kink. Minimum bend radii are 75mm for

a 15mm pipe and 225mm for a 22mm pipe.

Supporting pipe

It is essential to support plastic pipe correctly by using plastic pipe clips.

Clip Spacing (in mm)

Service Temperature

 

20º

60º

80º

Pipe 15mm

Horizontal

500

400

300

Vertical

800

600

500

Pipe 22mm

Horizontal

800

600

500

Vertical

1200

1000

800

It may be laid in concrete, provided it is installed in a larger plastic conduit. The pipe and fittings should be removable for replacement and protected against frost.

Some pipe cleaners, inhibitors and descalents may have an adverse effect on plastic plumbing. Check the chemical manufacturer’s instructions.

Painting and chemicals

Use only water- or oil-based paint. Collet covers prevent paint getting into fittings. Do not allow contact with cellulose-based paint, paint strippers or thinners, solder flux or strong cleaning products.