If you’re looking for a simple, quick way to make a neat, clean-cut copper pipe, all you need is some hot water. But what does this mean? Well, copper pipe heats up when it’s in contact with the water and the surrounding air.
To prove this point, take a look at the tank in fish tanks – tanks that have been exposed to numerous hours of sunlight are heated from the inside by means of sunlight and heat transfer (this is true even if they are covered with opaque glass).
The fish do not die because of too much heat. Fish can also exist under high temperatures without suffering thermal problems as long as their habitats are well designed or made with insulating materials such as sand.
If water is used as a heat conductor and if the pipe is located in an environment where the heat can escape, then there is no fear of fire or explosion. If you don’t want to try this method, you can use a hacksaw to cut copper pipes.
Things You Need for Cutting
1. A large metal container – About 11 gallons should do the trick. Choose one that’s not rusty. This should be at least three times bigger than your copper pipe (if it’s a smaller diameter). If it’s too small, your water is going to heat up fast and evaporate before reaching boiling point temperature.
2. A device that is able to hold the steel, plus a garden hose. Make sure your hose is long enough and has at least three female threads on its end. Then make a small hole in the corner of the container and insert your hose into it.
3. A bucket filled with tap water. Do not use hot water or you may burn yourself! Let the pitcher fill with cold water before starting to cut copper pipe (do not use room temperature water as it will ensure that this process does not work).
4. An adjustable wrench for turn taps that are too tight for you to turn them with your hands alone (approximate size 1/2 inch)
5. A hacksaw
- Insert your copper pipe into the hole in the container and tighten it down with your adjustable wrench. Make sure there is at least an inch of space from the top of the container to where you’re holding your copper pipe. You don’t want water to splash out and get on you, or get into contact with electrical wires or any flammable materials that are nearby.
- Connect the hose to any tap which will supply water (do not use a hot water tap as that may spurt out hot steam). Twist on a tap and make sure that it’s turned all the way off.
- Fill up the bucket with water (if it’s an older electric water heater, you’ll have to add some vinegar as well, to prevent it from rusting). The water should reach about five inches from the top of the container (you can measure this with a ruler).
- Twist on the hose and turn it on at the same time that you do this. Make sure there is always some water flowing through your copper pipe. This will continue until your water reaches a boiling point or until you turn off the hose.
- Place a thermometer in the container (place this thermometer on the side of the container away from where you’re holding your copper pipe). Set a clock to read off this thermometer, so that you know when to turn on your hose and the water will continue flowing until it reaches boiling point. It takes about 30 minutes to boil.
- Once the water has reached boiling point, turn off your hot tap and remove the hose from your copper pipe as quickly as possible, in case it still has some heat from contact with electrical wires or flammable materials nearby and you burn yourself or set fire to something else.
- Once your water has cooled down completely, you can soak your copper pipe in a container with some vinegar, to prevent it from corroding.
- Remove the copper pipe from the container and once you’ve finished working on it, replace it back in the proper place and turn on at least one tap to flush any remaining hot water through the pipes. If there are any leaks, you should take care of them immediately (this is especially true if there are gas lines nearby).
- Replace your tape at regular intervals (every six months is a good goal).
- 10. If you think that you’ve found the age of your pipes with this method, replace them immediately.
- Pre-soak your pipe for at least three hours before beginning this process if it is dry and old. For pipes made of plastic or rubber, it’s a good idea to pre-soak them for 24 hours.
- Make sure that you’re in an area with a proper ventilation system in place (if your water heater is located in an attic, the fumes from it’s exhaust may set fire to combustible materials on the floor below). This is especially important if you plan on doing this kind of work more than once.
- Never twist off a copper pipe’s handle when it’s not totally wet! Do this before attempting any work on your pipes!
- After the work is completed, make sure that you have turned on one tap at a time and flushed out any remaining water through the pipes. This process is called “flushing” and it’s important to do this to prevent any poisonous gasses which may have been released from building up in your pipes.
Another helpful video on How To Cut Copper Pipe In Tight Space