Many plumbers and heating installers are now using the Kopex Pipe-prep instead of wire wool to prepare copper pipes before joining them. This prevents the potential contamination of water supply pipes and whilst it is not a requirement of The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations, the use of Pipe-prep is a useful safeguard against contamination risk.
It is important to ensure that materials that are used for plumbing installations and repairs, including materials and fittings, are of a suitable standard and are installed safely and correctly. For example, solder that is used for joining copper pipework together for central heating systems and gas supply pipework contains lead and cannot be used to join copper pipework intended for conveying hot and cold water – lead-free solder must be used instead.
Preparing copper pipe for soldering has traditionally involved the use of wire wool to smooth out any burrs. Whilst not illegal, this method can potentially carry the risk of contamination through rust and infiltration of wire wool strands into the pipework. Now, however, responsible plumbing professionals use the Kopex Pipe-prep tool instead.
Copper forms an oxidised coating over time and this can prevent proper contact of joints, whilst burrs and indented metal can mean too little surface area actually reduces the area to make proper contact with. These and other factors like dirt on the metal surface may lead to inconsistent joints and high failure rates and added costs. Pipe-prep solves all these problems, taking less time than conventional pipe cleaning and preparation techniques with the added health and safety advantages. It is a combination tool that deburrs and cleans copper pipe ends. It flattens and smoothes burrs, maintaining the integrity of the material and producing the right shape for subsequent joining.
Details of water fittings and materials that meet the requirements of the Water Regulations form a database called the Water Fittings Directory which is regularly updated by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS).