Back in the day, lead pipe was very common when it came to plumbing but luckily times have changed for the better. It is not only the art of plumbing that has advanced but also plumbing materials and its equipment. Nowadays copper pipe is very common and it comes with many advantages. Not only is it light in weight and fairly cheap but it is also very easy to work with. Thanks to this, even the handy novice can sometimes handle minor plumbing jobs. And if not – just call the professionals. There are however one negative to copper pipe and that has to do with galvanised pipes and water cisterns. Copper pipes can sometimes cause the zinc coating on them to disappear.
Buying Copper Pipe
If you are looking to purchase some copper pipe, it is often sold in lengths of 2 or 3 meters but you can, off course, purchase shorter or longer pipe as well. Pipes are best bought from a plumbers’ merchant. When it comes to domestic plumbing there are some sizes that are very common; 15 mm, 22 mm and 28 mm and these are known as ‘smallbore’. One thing to keep in mind is that if you order pipe by the ‘mm’ it is the outside of the copper pipe that is measured. Here is the tricky part – if you order it by the old system where they used inches, they are actually talking about the inside of the pipe. Make sure not to mix them up or your measurements will be incorrect.
Cutting Copper Pipe
When it comes to cutting smallbore copper pipe, you can either use a hacksaw or a pipe cutter. If you choose to use a hacksaw, it will need to be fitted with a very fine blade as a blade with coarse teeth will most likely get jammed. It is important to keep the cut square and if you need to, draw a line around the pipe before you start. Once cut, the outside will show a ‘burr’ and you will have to remove this. Use a flat file on the outside and a round one on the inside. If the buss is not removed, you can easily cut yourself on it and it will be very difficult to do a good job with the fitting. The negative with using a hacksaw is that it will produce a very fine dust of copper and you will need to make sure this does not go into the pipe. Another negative is that it tends to flatten the pipe slightly. A pipe cutter on the other hand will give you a way neater cut but it will leave the burr on the inside. This also has to be removed and you use the reamer on the pipe cutter for this.