Plumbing with copper pipe
For hot and cold water supplies and heating, copper is now the most common form of pipework in houses. Adapters are readily available to make a connection to other materials possible. Adapters are also available to overcome the size difference between imperial and metric gauges.
With the ready availability of copper pipe and fittings from DIY stores, many plumbing jobs are now well within the scope of the Do-It-Yourselfer. Whether you want to add an outside tap, change the position of the sink or repair a damaged pipe, there are only a few simple techniques to master. It will then be possible to carry out a wide variety of plumbing work.
There are two main types of connection for use with copper pipe.
These are the more expensive to use but are also the easiest. They can make DIY plumbing less daunting since they have no soldering involved. Because of this, it is possible to fit them to pipes which are wet. Despite draining off a section of pipe to work on, it’s not uncommon to get a dribble of water at the joint being worked. This will not cause a problem with compression fittings but can prevent a soldered joint from working. They are, however, considerably bulkier and more obtrusive than soldered joints.
Capillary or solder joints
The fittings are made of slightly larger diameter copper which fits exactly over the pipe. Applying heat and running a band of solder into the ends of the joint makes a watertight connection. The solder is drawn into the gap by capillary action, hence the name. The use of this type of fitting has become more extensive with the introduction of connection pieces preloaded with solder. They are much less expensive than compression fittings and also far less obtrusive since they are almost the same size as the pipe itself.