- January, 2018
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Plumbing Blowtorch Best Practice
Soldering copper pipe requires the use of a plumbing blowtorch and a gas e.g. Propane or MAP//Pro. The main hazard with soldering is fire and soldering has the three fire triangle requirements for fire:
- Heat from the torch
- Fuel from the gas and surrounding material
- Oxygen from the air
Always keep a fire extinguisher within easy reach when soldering to help minimise the risk of fire and injury.
MAP//Pro & Propane Gas – Safety First
To minimise risk, DO NOT IGNITE THE PLUMBING BLOWTORCH if you smell, hear or suspect gas is leaking from the blowtorch or gas cylinder. Move the plumbing blowtorch and gas cylinder outside to a well ventilated area away from any ignition or heat source and disconnect the torch from the gas cylinder.
Minimising risk to users of the plumbing blowtorch and property is a legal requirement under Health and Safety Law.
By following Best Practice, risk can be reduced. Importantly when working with gas and a plumbing blowtorch there will be a risk of fire so ensure that a fit for purpose and up to date fire extinguisher is within easy reach when soldering.
12 Steps to Minimising Risk
- Prior to use – read & follow instructions
- Select correct plumbing and correct gas for the job
- Do not modify, reengineer or disassemble a blowtorch
- Check conditions of vents, seals & threads
- Connect cylinder to torch outside building
- Keep Fire Extinguisher within reach
- Wear correct Personal Protective Equipment
- Protect surrounding areas when soldering
- Keep away from children and pets
- DO NOT leave torch and gas unattended
- Disconnect after use
- Transport safely and disconnected
Why Does Torch Tip Get Hot?
The liquid gas inside the cylinder needs latent (hidden) heat through the walls of the cylinder to vaporize and turn into a gas. Prolonged use of the torch or use in cold surroundings makes the vaporization process more difficult. If the transformation from liquid to gas is getting insufficient heat via the cylinder walls the the pressure of gas supplied drops and the tip gets hot. Let the cylinder warm up naturally without any assistance and recommence the job when the cylinder is warmer.
Is it Safe to Use Torches Upside Down?
Many torches have anti-flare devices built in. This device is designed to stop the liquid gas in the cylinder reaching the combustion part of the torch. Do not use the torch upside down for long periods.
How Long should Torch Last?
All products get dropped, knocked, bumped and degrade with normal use, wear and tear. A plumbing blowtorch is an engineered & complicated product.
NEVER USE A BLOWTORCH IF YOU SUSPECT IT IS DAMAGED OR BLOCKED.
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