Soldering is a classic technique to connect two metal pieces and is used by plumbers all over the world. But it requires some special tools and there is a large room for error if done incorrectly. Although it is the only route to take for solving some particular problems, some plumbing problems can be solved with alternative options.
When it comes to connecting copper pipes, engineers have invented quite a lot of alternatives to soldering. These solutions require small, inexpensive and a set of much safer tools. We have dug deep into the market and found some of the best ways to connect copper pipe without soldering, that we will share with you today.
In this post we'll cover:
How to Connect Copper Pipe without Soldering
Soldering copper pipes with water in them is a tough job. That’s one of the prime reasons we are heading forward to those alternatives.
Regardless of how you try to connect copper pipes without soldering, your goal should be to obtain the result of soldering, i.e. gaining a watertight connection. We will show you two types of connectors, how they work, and which one is the best for a certain scenario. This way, you will know which one works best for you.
Compression Fit Connectors
This is a type of metal coupler that has been on the market for quite some time now. It can connect two copper pipes without any soldering involved. The only tool you will require is a pair of wrenches.
Connecting the Compression Fitting to the Copper Pipe
To secure the connection with a copper pipe, there is an outer nut, and an inner ring too. First, you have to slide the outer nut through to your main copper pipe. The size of the nut should be big enough so that it can run the copper pipe through it. Mention your pipe size to your retailer while purchasing these connectors.
Then, slide the inner ring. The inner ring is a relatively thin, but sufficiently strong to take a substantial amount of force that will be coming its way, shortly. When you put the connector fitting in its place, slide the ring towards it, followed by the outer nut. Hold the fitting with one wrench and tighten the nut with another.
How does it Work
As you might have guessed already, the outer tightening on the outer nut is transferred directly to the inner ring. The inner ring compresses in size and shape which translates to a waterproof connection.
Things to Remember
A downfall of this type of connector is that you don’t know when to stop tightening the outer nut. Many people over-tighten the nut which cracks the inner ring and ultimately, the waterproof connection can not be established. So, don’t overdo the tightening process.
Although being relatively newer technology, the push-fit connectors have quickly made a name for themselves with their brilliant waterproofing solution. Just like the other connector, no soldering is required here and on top of that, you don’t need even a single tool for this one.
Connecting the Push Fitting to the Copper Pipe
Unlike the compression fitting, there are no metal nuts or rings involved in this one. Take one end of your copper pipe and push it inside one of the openings of the push fitting. The pipe bottoms out with a snapping sound if you’ve done it right. And that’s pretty much it, the connection is done.
How does it Work
The push fitting connector uses the gripping technique of rubbers to establish a waterproof connection. There is an O-shaped ring inside of the fitting which is typically made of neoprene rubber. The ring succumbs the pipe and wraps it completely securing a watertight joint.
Things to Remember
Push fittings work best on a beveled edge. You can use a pipe cutter to get a beveled edge. Although there is no tightening process, the rubber material can be damaged if the copper pipe is overheated somehow. It is more prone to leaking than the compression fittings.
Both of the ways mentioned above works perfectly in obtaining a watertight connection on a copper pipe. Sure, they don’t have all the benefits of a soldering connection using a butane torch or through another way. But considering how safe, easy, and cost-efficient these methods are, they are surely worth a try.
Although we can’t announce any one of them as the better one, we believe that the push fittings might be suitable for most users. Because they don’t need any wrench and you don’t run the risk of over-tightening the nuts to a point where it is practically useless.
However, if you’re someone who has worked with these things before and you can tell when a tightening is just right, you should go for the compression fittings. These will provide you a better leakage free connection and you won’t have to worry about the heating issue as well.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.