How Long Should You Wait to Turn Water on After Soldering?

For people who are not experienced plumbers, doing your own plumbing work can be a little nerve-racking. After soldering, you may be concerned about turning your water on too quickly and ruining the joint causing water to leak all over the place. So, how long should you wait to turn your water back on after soldering?

You only need to wait at least 30 seconds after soldering to turn your water on. While this is the very least amount of time that you have to wait, most people recommend putting your tools and equipment away first, then turning the water on just to be sure that the solder has had time to cool completely.

Thankfully, you will not have to wait a long time at all to turn your water on after fixing the plumbing problem. Keep reading the article to find out more information about this important topic.

How Long Should Solder Cool Before Turning on Water?

When it comes to the plumbing in your home, you want to make sure everything is done, correctly. One loose or busted joint could cause a great, big mess and even a huge expense. 

That is why it is very important to know how long you should wait to turn your water on after soldering your pipes. If you turn the water back on too soon, then you could cause the joint to crack, and we already know what that will turn into.

After soldering, you only need to wait 30 seconds after the heat is removed. Some people recommend that you wait anywhere from 2 to 3 minutes before turning your water back on, but it is not critical that you wait this amount of time.

Thirty seconds will be plenty of time for the solder to harden, and you will not have to worry about leaky pipes unless the soldering job is not done, properly. 

Since you do have your tools to clean up, though, it would not be a bad idea to just go ahead and put them all away, first, and then turn on the water. This is not necessary, of course, but it will definitely give the soldering an ample amount of time to completely harden. 

It is also recommended that you do not blow on the joint to cool down the solder or move the joint to see if it has set up, at all, even after the 30 seconds is up. Disturbing the solder can ruin the joint causing you unwanted problems. 

Simply turn your water on after the wait and do not bother the joint. As mentioned earlier, the solder should hold up fine, unless the soldering job was done poorly. 

How Do You Harden Solder?

As mentioned above, you do not have to wait very long before you can safely turn your water back on. This is because solder hardens and cools very quickly. 

There are no specific safe ways your can harden your solder up to make sure that it is completely set. Just let it cool naturally, otherwise you risk weakening the joint.

Solder begins to harden the very second heat is removed. Just because it has hardened in one second does not mean that it has cooled in one second. It is important not to confuse the two.

If you turn your water on immediately after soldering because the solder has hardened, the abrupt change of temperature will cause the joint to become damaged

Sometimes it can be hard to be patient, but remember you only have to wait 30 seconds to a minute! 

Can You Solder a Wet Joint?

Soldering and water do not go together. Since it is necessary that you solder at extreme temperatures, as soon as the solder comes into contact with any water, it will immediately turn to steam and cause the joint to crack or defective. 

So, no, you cannot solder a wet joint. It can be difficult to keep the joint that needs to be soldered dried, but it is a must if you want to fix your plumbing issues.

Luckily, if you are working with a wet pipe, there are only a few simple steps you need to follow to keep things dry. 

Here is how to keep a wet joint dry for soldering:

  • Turn your water off. You will want to do this by cutting off the main valve by your water meter. This will ensure that there is no chance of water flowing through the pipes while you are in the middle of making repairs to your plumbing.
  • Dry any remaining water. Using a dry cloth, wipe any visible water away from your working area. Since you want to make sure that you are keeping moisture completely away while you are soldering, you will need to buy Plumber’s Bread or any product similar to it. Plumber’s bread is what is used to prevent moisture from coming through to your soldering area.
  • Get your supplies ready. Once you have everything dried, you will need to have all of your supplies sitting, ready to use. Prepare the pipe and fitting, and then place the fitting onto the pipe, making sure that everything is assembled correctly and tightly. 
  • Apply heat to the joint. Now, use a torch to begin heating the joint. You will want to begin heating slowly and gradually make the flame on the torch larger while you are moving the flame all over the joint. This will help you to get an even amount of heat all over the fitting.
  • Begin soldering. Since most people will use copper joints, you will want to warm it up until it starts to turn green. Once you have noticed the green color, place the end of your solder to the joint. This will test the temperature to see if the joint is ready. If the solder melts when it is applied, you can begin soldering.

There are two different ways that you can solder the joint.

  • Apply solder to the top part of the joint and let it melt down around the seam of the joint.
  • Solder around the seam and let it melt down. 

Sometimes, there is no way that we can wait for everything to dry before we begin repairs. Hopefully, this guide will be a great help for you if you are in this situation. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, even though plumbing can be a bit scary if you are not an expert, it can sometimes be essential that you do the work yourself. It would also be practical and cheaper if you are experienced with soldering.

It is extremely important that you know how long you need to wait before turning your water on after soldering do that all of your hard work does not go to waste. 

You only need to wait at least 30 seconds after soldering to turn your water on. While this is the very least amount of time that you have to wait, most people recommend putting your tools and equipment away first, then turning the water on just to be sure that the solder has had time to cool completely.

Thankfully, after putting in the hard work to fix your plumbing issues, you can turn your water back on in just a matter of seconds and get back to using it like normal.

Sources

One Project Closer

Quora

Do It Yourself

DIY Chatroom

Alexander Berk

A bit about myself: I am a certified international welding engineer (IWE) who worked in different welding projects for TIG, MIG, MAG, and Resistance Spot welding. Most recently as a Process Engineer for Laser and TIG welding processes. To address some of the questions I frequently got asked or was wondering myself during my job, I started this blog. It has become a bit of a pet project, as I want to learn more about the details about welding. I sincerely hope it will help you to improve your welding results as much as it did improve mine.

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