Identify type of pipes and if they can be soldered?

27 Oct 2007
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United Kingdom
Hi all,
I am in the process of refitting my bathroom.
I recently had my boiler replaced and the plumbers were moaning about the pipes. They used compression fittings to join copper pipes onto these other pipes.
The pipes are silver and apparently much harder than copper.
The compression fittings had to be done up really tight before they would stop leaking as the plumber said that the olives don't bite into the pipe like on copper pipes as they are much harder than the copper pipes.
I'm sure that it's not stainless steel as they are not really shiny, but they aren't really dull and don't look like mild steel and aren't lead.
I have read loads on the internet and have read about galvanized steel pipes?
Anyway, long story short - is there anyway of finding out what they are and if they can be soldered as the compression fittings were a real ba***rd to stop leaking and I'd rather do it with soldered joints.
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What method was used to connect these pipes on the original installation??

This will give a very good clue as to their composition!!
Will a magnet stick to the pipes?.
If they are not leaking now then ther is no need to alter them.

Can bet they will be stainless.

Was used in the roaring 60s when copper was in short supply due to some crisis somewhere anyway enough history.

Try cutting it with a pipe cutter and will prob break wheel .

comp is ok put a touch of liquid ptfe on as well and need to tighten up hard to get em to grip.

seen them push off loads of fittings in a house when pipes freeze .Stainless too hard so it tends to pop fittings off.
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With pete on this Stainless steel as it is same size as copper. And its not shiney
Blimey, you guys are fast, didn't expect a reply yet but had loads.

Anyway. I need to connect into it to add a radiator in the bathroom.

I have scratched off some paint and found that some of the old painted pipes are in fact copper and other bits are this other metal? Anyway they are connected with compression fittings and not soldered joints!
I have done the magnet test and they are not magnetic????
Does this help?
If the magnet test shown they are not magnetic then the old timers are correct with SS.

You can tap into the copper to solder or compression on stainless.

So, we have deduced that they are stainless steel?

I didn't know that stainless steel wasn't magnetic?

Now if they are SS does that means I can't solder them?

If they are SS is that good/bad. I have heard some comments about different steel pipes, some being good comments and some being bad and some being bad about having a mixture of steel and copper together.
The system has got inhibitors in it, so will there be a problem and would it be best to replace the lot in time or are they fine to keep?

Thanks again for your help - you are an invaluable resource to us DIYers.
If you can find the correct flux soldering is no problem!

There was one we used in the late 60s when I was a lad called "Phosphorite" cream soldering paste!
It contained phosphoric acid among other things so probably not availlable any longer!!

Personally i would opt for good quality compression fittings!!
Yep dont even attempt to solder it use compression ,horrible stuff we had a few estates with it and some of it rotted away by the early 80`s
namsag, are you thinking of the old mild steel tube? (Simplicity Elm I believe it was called by GKN). Used a lot during the copper shortage and is now rotting like old boots. Never come across stainless steel pipes rotting (yet).

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