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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Sugarloaf, PA
    Posts
    60

    brazing vs. soldering

    I am just starting to learn the trade, so please bear with me. On brazing lines vs. soldering, the instructor told me that ALL connections should be brazed using at least 15% silver, if not 45 % silver. However,the book states that it is OK to use 5 % stay-brite silver solder for things like the line dryer since you don't want to expose it to the type of temperature that comes with brazing. Also, it states that it would make the line dryer easier to replace at a later date. I was under the assumption that when changing the line dryer, you normally cut them out?? And with the solder, the the instructor says stay with brazing. Any thoughts from the people who do this everyday?? Thanks for any help you can give.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Montreal, Qc.
    Posts
    761
    I heat and remove the drier whenever possible.
    If you do it quickly it can be done in 1 motion.
    I use Sil-Fos 5% most of the time. On tx and roto-lock valves I use Easy-Flo 45.
    I use an Acetylene Turbo Torch for Sil-Fos and Oxy-Acetylene for the Easy-Flo.
    There are some copper piping jobs which specify 15% Sil-Fos so I use it when I have to.
    It is slightly more ductile than the 5% but I've yet to get a leak on a joint I've brazed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
    Posts
    11,347

    *

    i use 15% for everything

    even brass to copper as well as steel to copper

    i used to use staybrite but its a pain in the arse and probably not as strong as 15% IMO



    .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    East central Indiana
    Posts
    477
    I know a lot of people who use silver solder. I think it's called "Stay Bright # 8" or something like that.

    I even know people who have changed out compressors using that stuff.

    I haven't been in the trade long, but I absolutely hate that stuff. Here's why:

    1. You have to use that flux stuff. The sticks I use don't require any of that stuff. Really, I don't even think you have to sand the copper, but I do it anyway.

    2. It only works with reallly tight fittings. With the brazing sticks, you can fill in pretty noticable gaps. You can even patch holes in condenser coils with it.

    3. I have seen a lot of solder joints where too much of that stuff was used, and it flows INSIDE of the pipe and obstructs flow. Never seen that problem with brazing rods.

    And finally, let's not forget the real reason why you shouldn't use silver solder is because when other HVAC guys drive by and see you using that stuff, they will make homosexual jokes about you

  5. #5
    You can use 15 or 5% on most anything except heat sensitive things like TXV's w/o removable powerheads. (Even then best use Staybright 8 or similar. Flows around 800'f vs 1200 for 15 and higher for 5) Your right, cut out dryers as any heat applied forces out moisture trapped in the dryer.

    15 flows much better than 5. I love 15% but its VERY expensive. I would suggest 5% on cu/cu. All other dissimilar metals use 15.

    Note, when brazing in dryers/accumulators/mufflers, etc, do not over heat and burn off the cu coating on the steel. You will cuss. Don't forget to wrap TXV's or service valves with wet rag or that fancy paste stuff.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    East central Indiana
    Posts
    477
    One more thing to consider:

    Uncle runs a supply house. Whenever he sells equipment, he makes notes on his computer about possible "red flags".

    Such red flags may include

    1. contractor reeked of booze

    2. contractor used old 10 seer coil

    3. contractor didn't use suction drier

    and so on. One more red flag is

    contractor used staybrite

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,642
    never unbraze a drier, it will boil the moisture back out into the system.

    solder is for plumbers.........

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Last moon off of Pluto
    Posts
    49
    This is an excellent question asked by anyone. You would assume any tech would know the difference but recently had a call back for an istallation done 2 years back...everything was soldered...not brazed...what a mess. The homeowner knew what was up and we ate the whole thing. Which was good because we all made a big deal about it at the shop.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    East central Indiana
    Posts
    477
    Quote Originally Posted by t527ed View Post
    solder is for plumbers.........
    Don't forget girls and homosexuals

    But seriously, though, people will think less of you for using it

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Posts
    33
    Quote Originally Posted by t527ed View Post
    never unbraze a drier, it will boil the moisture back out into the system.

    solder is for plumbers.........
    On that note, I never unbraze compressors either. If there happens to be refrigerant trapped in the oil, it can rapidly build pressure and create an explosive situation with oil and refrig, similar to compressor terminal venting, seen it happen to someone recently.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    East central Indiana
    Posts
    477
    Quote Originally Posted by lmark View Post
    On that note, I never unbraze compressors either. If there happens to be refrigerant trapped in the oil, it can rapidly build pressure and create an explosive situation with oil and refrig, similar to compressor terminal venting, seen it happen to someone recently.
    If you cut the compressor out, then how do you get the new one back on? Seems like the compressor uses funny size pipes, like 7/16 for discharge. Would be hard to find couplings.

    Or do you just use suage tools?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Minneapolis
    Posts
    60
    If you torch out a compressor just remove the schrader valve cores, no pressure build up.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,448
    Quote Originally Posted by thump_rrr View Post
    I heat and remove the drier whenever possible.
    If you do it quickly it can be done in 1 motion.
    I use Sil-Fos 5% most of the time. On tx and roto-lock valves I use Easy-Flo 45.
    I use an Acetylene Turbo Torch for Sil-Fos and Oxy-Acetylene for the Easy-Flo.
    There are some copper piping jobs which specify 15% Sil-Fos so I use it when I have to.
    It is slightly more ductile than the 5% but I've yet to get a leak on a joint I've brazed.
    Never heat the drier to remove it. If there are contaminates trapped in it you will put them back into the system with the heat.
    "It's always controls"

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