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#162365 - 03/07/05 11:46 AM Plumbing solder same as electric?
jolene Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 49
I have an old roll of solder but without any label on it, so I may have originally bought it for electricity. It is a thin gauge. Do you know if plumbing solder and electricity solder are the same or if electricity solder can be used for plumbing? Thank you.

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#162366 - 03/07/05 12:30 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
kframe19 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 8537
Loc: Virginia
Electrical solder often has high amounts of silver in it to help with the connection.

As to whether they can be used interchangably or not, I don't know.
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#162367 - 03/07/05 12:36 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
JasonB Offline
Sharp -Shooter
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/27/04
Posts: 14273
Loc: Cape Spencer, New Brunswick, C...
The solder itself is the same, or close. The old stuff you have is probably 60/40 or 50/50 solder.

For electric work, you should use a much finer (thinner) rosin cored solder. Your plumber's solder requires the use of acid flux, which will do bad things to electric components in time. Electric solder is like a tube (very small tube) filled with a special "rosin" flux, non-corrosive. Pick some up at your local hardware store. Be sure it says "Rosin cored", then you don't need to worry about fluxes.

J
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#162368 - 03/07/05 01:08 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
jolene Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 49
Well I actually want to use the solder for copper pipe plumbing (with flux). I did try a couple of joints and they look ok, although I noticed that the blow lamp actually makes the solder burn (causing small flames), whereas the other solder (thicker type) doesnt cause those flames. I ranf the plumbing supplier and they say that electrical solder is "thinner" and is "different".

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#162369 - 03/07/05 01:22 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
Old rolls of thicker solder were usually 50/50 solder which has half lead. The solders were changed to less or no lead to eliminate and reduce lead from the environment. Flux inside a flame will flare off; such electrical solder with flux core is usually heated with a solder iron, so doesn't flare then. They both will join metals, but burned flux might leave holes for water to seep after it has been soaked for a while.
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#162370 - 03/07/05 01:56 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
stateline Offline
Handyman

Registered: 01/29/05
Posts: 789
if the solder is real old, the flux inside is probably dried up anyway and will just make a mess.
Rosin core for eletrical work.
Acid core for auto raditors,brass and copper stuf
solid core--lead free with a can of flux for water pipes and anything for human use


Edited by stateline (03/07/05 01:58 PM)

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#162371 - 03/07/05 02:44 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
jolene Offline
newbie

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 49
Well since I don't want to take any chances (I have a complete ofch system to instal) I will be going back to the suppliers (again) and get 2 or 3 proper solder rolls - last one I got there was 3,5 % silver, which I suppose is normal for plumbing. Anything for peace of mind. Thanks.

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#162372 - 03/07/05 03:00 PM Re: Plumbing solder same as electric?
HeatPro Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/30/04
Posts: 28022
Loc: South New Jersey
Silver-bearing solder is a quality solder for drinking lines. Silver helps make soldering easier. There are other types like 95/5 that has no lead, but flows more 'watery' and faster, so requires practice. There are still lead-bearing solders available for non-drinking purposes:

http://www.oatey.com/apps/catalog/showprod.asp?ctg=7&subctg=0&Submit1=Go+to+Product+Catalog
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