Types of Plumbing Torch


There are several types of plumbing torch available today. The classifications are based on the amount of heat these plumbing torches generate, and accordingly, the type of plumbing job they perform. Working with copper pipes, especially in its repair and replacement, takes a lot of practice and experience, and sometimes, the purpose of the tool is not recommended for the kind of results needed. But some plumbers, who have been around the block for quite some time, have been known to use less recommended methods with care, and produce faster results.

The Head Torch

The kind of head torch you use determines the amount of heat the torch can generate. The wider the spout, the more evenly spread the heat is. This type of head torch is called the rose-bud torch, due to the kind of flame it releases. This tool is perfect for bending metal pipes and is sometimes used to heat rusty bolts and nuts to expand the metal and clean it at the same time.

A narrower kind of head torch is the welding torch. This torch is used to join two pieces of metal together by using a filler metal that can be melted by the torch. The seal made by using a filler metal is as tough as the alloy used and it is also an airtight and watertight seal. In plumbing repairs, sometimes a section of a pipe will need to be replaced if the damage is too great; but for smaller leaks and damages, spot welding is all it takes.

The third kind of head torch has the narrowest aperture for the flame. Concentrating the heat into a thin but intense rush of heat is perfect for cutting metals. The cutting torch begins the job by heating the metal with the flame until the borders of the metal piece glows. After this, the cutting torch is only needed to supply fuel for the heat, but the heat is already generated by the metal itself.

The Fuel You Use

Heat classifies the types of plumbing torch, but the fuel determines how much heat the plumbing torch can produce. Remember that torches are used to wield together, cut, or bend metals, and the heat that the fuels produce are very high.
  • Using a mixture of propane and air can produce a flame that burns at around 3,630 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • A propane-oxygen mix used as fuel can reach temperatures as high as 4,530 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • The oxygen-acetylene mix burns the hottest, at 6,330 degrees Fahrenheit.

Precautions When Using Plumbing Torches

Whenever a torch is needed in plumbing, many precautions must be taken. One precaution unique to plumbing is that the repairs are often with copper pipes. Copper transmits heat very well, and using a plumbing torch to replace or repair a copper pipe is not as simple as it sounds. Even with the lowest possible settings for heat for any type of plumbing torch, fire is always a danger, and with copper, the fire can start anywhere along its length.

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