Understanding Copper Pipework

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May 6, 2014
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The copper pipe is the most common metal used in the UK for the majority of domestic plumbing work. It is mainly used for the water supply to various appliances around the home. Walworth Plumbers use copper pipes and tubing.

The sizes are:

3/8 inch.
1/2 inch.
3/4 inch.
1 inch.
1½ inch.

Copper pipe come in three grades.
‘M’ grade copper pipe is found in standard home plumbing across the United States.
‘L’ grade, has thick walls and can also be found in homes, especially for pipework running through concrete and sometimes under the ground.
‘K’ grade is double extra strong and has limited domestic use.
K, L and M grades of pipes are hard.
In the smaller sizes already mentioned, the outside diameter of the pipe is typically 1/8 inch larger than the specified pipe size. A Walworth Plumber knows all the gradings.
Copper Tube:There are several differences between copper pipe and tubing. Tubing is normally used for air conditioning and refrigeration. It’s temper is soft and it is easily bent and shaped, although repeatedly bending, forming, and straightening, etc. will cause the tubing to become brittle and easily kink. Copper tubing has a true outside diameter relationship to its size. This means that 1/2 inch tubing has an outside diameter of 1/2 inch. The wall thickness is greater than ‘M’ grade pipe and less than ‘L’ grade pipework.Copper Fittings:
All copper fittings are made much like the copper pipework and are hard tempered. The hub where the pipe fits to braze is a little larger than the outside diameter of the same size pipe. Brazing is done usually using a propane or methylacetylene propadiene propane (MAPP) gas torch and solder wire. The hot copper will draw the liquid solder using a capillary action to fill the space between the pipe and the fitting. Flux is used to encourage the capillary action between the pipe and the solder.

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