Does one tool work best in every application? A hammer can pound any nail in the house, but a pneumatic nail gun gets the roof shingled faster. For the HVACR technician, the right tool for soldering and brazing pipe — an air-fuel or oxy-fuel torch — depends on the type and diameter of the pipe, its location, and considerations related to cost, safety, convenience, and ease of use. This article will examine those factors, as well as clarify some technical issues.
The American Welding Society (AWS) defines soldering as a joining process that takes place below 840°F and brazing as a similar process that occurs above 840°. In actual practice for copper systems, most soldering occurs at temperatures of 350° to 550°, while most brazing occurs at 1,100° to 1,500°, depending on the temperature requirements of the flux and filler.