Soldering Lead-Free Valves Takes Added Practice

December 1, 2017

Plumbing manufacturers have made great efforts to remove as much lead as possible to comply with regulations established under the Safe Drinking Water Act. In order to meet these requirements, most manufacturers have used brass alloys containing small amounts of silicon or bismuth to improve machability. In the following years, most plumbers learned how to effectively make joints with the new alloys, but sometimes it is not apparent how complete the fill is in joints unless they are tested.

A recently released NCPWB technical bulletin demonstrated how joints that appear to be correctly soldered could often be frayed. The bulletin’s author, Walt Sperko, provided examples of incorrect joints and guidance. Pre-heating the tube more than the casting is critical for no lead copper alloys. This is because casting’s thermal conductivity is much lower than copper.

Incomplete fill from under-heating

When the plumber does not spend enough time on heating the tube, the solder has a tendency to only partially fill the joint. While silicon-based alloys were found to be more difficult to wet properly, both proved insufficient with poor technique.

NCPWB members can also download the Soldering Procedure Specification resource SPS-107-1 to better understand the welding procedures for brass and lead-free alloys.

Related Articles
The PCA's new Plumbing Service Conference is a great way to learn how contractors have added plumbing service operations. The conference is filling up fast, so register now!…
The PCA's new Plumbing Service Conference is a great way to learn how contractors have added plumbing service operations.…
The PCA has partnered with Neptune Plumbing of Cleveland, Ohio to host the first PCA Plumbing Service Conference from September 20 -21, 2021. Similar to MCAA’s successful Fabrication Conference, the centerpiece of the Plumbing Service Conference will be a hosted facility tour of Neptune Plumbing’s commercial plumbing service operations. Registration is NOW OPEN for PCA, MCAA and MSCA members to attend. …
A Technical Bulletin just issued by the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau (NCPWB) addresses significant changes made in ASME Section IX, 2021 edition, that are of interest to mechanical contractors and piping fabricators. Opinions expressed in this article are Mr. Sperko’s, not the official opinion of ASME BPV Standards Committee IX. These changes become mandatory for new qualifications January 1, 2022. …

MCAA’s Safety Statistics & Awards program rewards MCAA members’ safety performance. All applicants receive a valuable benchmarking report. Those who qualify also receive a certificate of commendation. Applications are due March 15, 2023. Apply today!

The Construction Employers of America will host the 2023 National Issues Conference, May 2-4, in Washington, DC. The conference will host regulators and Congress representatives for their expertise and insight on various topics. Learn more and register at

Looking for the latest from @uponor and Morris Group International? Find it in MCAA’s Virtual Trade Show!

Top-notch PMs with 3+ years of experience will hone their skills in planning, scheduling, change order negotiation, job cost control, and a whole lot more at MCAA's Institute for Project Management. Click the link to learn more and sign up your PMs.

Load More...