How to Use Copper Tubing for Air Lines

Copper mirror on white image by Sophia Winters from

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch diameter copper pipe
  • Pipe cutter
  • Brush
  • Fitting
  • Flux
  • Flux brush
  • Propane torch
  • Wrench
  • Solder

When setting up your shop, you may want to hook up an air compressor system which allows you to use a multitude of tools and machines. When it comes to the pipe to choose for this system, care must be taken. "Don't use PVC pipe," the Family Handyman advises. One of the dangers is that oil which is present in the system can react with the plastic, causing the PVC to weaken and break down, unable to withstand the system's air pressure. And when the PVC begins to break down, it can actually shatter. Copper is long-lasting and well able to handle the pressure of the air lines. Best yet, installing the copper pipe is something you can do yourself.

Cut the copper tubing to length with a pipe cutter. Clean the inside of the pipe with a wire brush. Clean the inside of the fitting as well.

Apply flux to the ends of the tubing. Use a flux brush. Fit the pipe inside the fitting. Seat it as deeply as you can.

Sweat the pipe. Use a propane torch to heat both the pipe and the fitting, activating the flux. Keep heating the pipe until the flux has filled the gap between the pipe and the fitting.


  • Non-solder fittings can be used as well. Make sure that you apply them properly.