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The Copper Advantage

Updated on August 21, 2013

Why Copper Plumbing?

For years I have done my own plumbing for the most part. As a "handyman" I have installed many types of plumbing including bathtubs, toilets, sinks and water heaters. I have run drains and installed septic systems. When I was a younger man, I once installed and serviced Rainsoft Water Conditioners.

Over the years, I have tasted water coming from many supply lines. Now water will have different tastes depending on where it is coming from. It may be city water or well water. There are many conditions that can make the taste of the water vary.

For drinking water, I would always recommend a reverse osmosis drinking pump. These are made with a series of filters and can clean your water to a very good standard. With the way the world is now and the chemicals coming through the ground into our water supplies, it is a very good idea to have a system that cleans what you drink to the utmost.

This hub is not about that though; it is about copper.

With all my years and experience with plumbing, I recommend copper water pipes. Yes there are disadvantages. They make a plastic piping now that when it freezes it won't break. It is simple to install, but my opinion is: copper tastes best!

I remember the old galvanized pipe; it tastes terrible. The plastic tastes like plastic. P.V.C. is what they call it; but copper tastes clean and cold. It may just be my opinion, but copper is the best.

So you don't know how to install copper water pipe? Here is a step by step guide. It may be just a bit more difficult than P.V.C., but well worth it.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Click thumbnail to view full-size

Items Needed To Install Copper Water Pipe

There are some basic items you will need to install copper water pipe.

Most homes use a basic 1/2 inch tubing, but check closely; yours may be another size. Find the exact route you want to run. Keep in mind that copper doesn't bend and it is best to make as few turns as possible. Measure and buy the copper sticks, 90 degree and 45 degree angles you will need. You may just need couplers for fitting two sticks of copper together. You may also want a brass water shutoff valve within the line.

Other items you will or may need:

  • A small torch with propane or Mapp gas. I like Mapp gas because it gets hotter quicker.
  • Solder
  • A pipe cutter
  • Flux
  • Emory cloth
  • A clean rag
  • A small pail of water.
  • A couple pieces of bread

Sweating Copper

The basics:

First shut off your water. Sometimes a valve may not be the best and you may have just a bit of water coming through. I will tell you an old trick to solve this. You use the piece of bread. When you are ready to solder the copper, shove a small piece of bread in the "dripping" end. It will soak up the water until you are done and will dissolve causing no harm within your pipes.

Cut your pipe to desired lengths. Clean the outside with the Emory cloth and wipe with the rag. Cover it with flux and put the fitting over it. Make sure and ream the inside of the outer fitting with the Emory cloth too and wipe clean.

Heat the pipe with the torch and have your solder ready. When the flux starts "bubbling" it should be hot enough. Touch the solder to the joint and it will "suck the solder up. Go around the joint. After your done, wet the rag and wipe the joint.

You are done. Finish the rest and turn your water on slowly and check for leaks.

I am not much for making videos and I already have all my plumbing done, so I am sharing a video I found on "how to". It is a good one.

If you have any questions that I didn't cover please comment or write me and I will try to answer.

May any plumbing "nightmares" you have be fixed.

Copper tastes best-try it, you'll be glad you did. Also, for cold weather climates it is a good idea to put heat tape around your pipes.

© G.L. Boudonck

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    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA


      I agree! Even though copper can be a pain to replace it is, IMHO, still the best option for running water. I've heard conflicting stories regarding PVC vs. PEX, vs. copper, etc. In the end, most remodeling contractors are still using good ole' copper. Thanks for the reminder that old school is in many ways, the best school.


    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 6 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      You don't need to do them alone.Froggy to the rescue--lol

    • profile image

      Maria Ruiz 6 years ago

      Thanks, Froggie, now I will be able to do my water problems all alone. Great Hub! Blesses.