Must Know Soldering Rules You Should Know for Safety
Soldering is a handy skill to have in your arsenal, whether you are a crafter, hobbyist, professional or just want to be able to make repairs around your home. There are dangers associated with the practice, however, so we have come up with this guide to basic safety rules to follow when soldering to ensure that your experience is as safe as possible.
First: What Are Soldering Irons?
Soldering irons are the tools used to perform the soldering. They are typically handheld and fairly lightweight. They work by melting a soldering wire (the solder) so you can manipulate it between materials to bond them together.
The majority of handheld soldering irons or guns will be supplied with a handy stand. These should always be used whenever you put your iron down to ensure that the heated tip does not contact anything flammable, roll onto the floor or accidentally brush against your skin.
Make sure when you buy your soldering iron that you do so from a reputable supplier – good quality irons will come equipped with auto shut-off features so that the tool cannot be accidentally left on for sustained periods.
Apply common sense – the tip of your soldering iron, along with the melted solder itself, will reach temperatures upwards of 200 degrees Celsius. Don’t touch either one, and take steps to ensure that the liquid metal does not drip on you or anywhere you don’t want it. You should use very small amounts of solder at a time, working over a heatproof mat. Always hold anything that is in proximity to the soldering iron tip with tweezers, clamps or needle-nose pliers.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) – wear gloves or gauntlets and an apron, and eye goggles are a must. Soldering wire can spit andit will cause blindness, irritation or other sight-related issues if it lands in your eye, which it could easily do when you are working closely to ensure precision.
Always consider the ventilation of your space when you are soldering. Make sure that you are using lead-free solder to minimise the toxicity of the fumes created, and ensure that the area is properly ventilated. Use a mask or an extractor fan if necessary.
Be sure to keep your workspace clear of anything particularly flammable, and ensure that you have a working fire extinguisher close at hand in case anything does ignite.
When working with gas or water pipes make sure that you have isolated the supply and that the pipes have been cleared of remaining gas/water. If you are working on electrical parts, make sure that your work is precise and correct before you plug in the equipment – a misplaced piece of solder can cause a short circuit.
First aid: always be prepared for the worst, no matter how confident and experienced you are. Keep a first aid kit close at hand, make sure that it is stocked with items that can be used to tackle burns and scalds, and check that you know how to use/apply those items properly.