Brazing Certification Protocols
- Who requires brazing certification?
- How do technicians maintain their brazing certification?
- Don’t have your certificate & pulled on the job site by a TSSA Inspector?
- Core brazing fundamentals you must know!
- What are the TSSA approved ORAC brazing parameters?
Log Sheet Template to download
- Individual Technicians Log sheet with Companies Log sheet showing all technicians (download)
Who Requires Brazing Certification?
Any, and all, technicians that are brazing copper, brass or steel tubing/piping/fittings on HVAC equipment and systems are required under TSSA to possess current valid Brazing Certificates for the materials and sizes they are using. Failure to adhere to these requirements could result in suspensions and fines. TSSA achieves this by regularly inspecting/auditing job sites and contractor shops for compliance.
If the system being installed has a capacity of 3 tons or less of refrigeration, or 5 tons or less of Air conditioning, you do not require a Brazing Certificate. It does not require inspection and the employee doing the brazing does not require a brazing certificate. The person doing the brazing still has to be a registered Apprentice or a licensed Journeyperson under the Tradesman Qualification Act.
How do technicians maintain their brazing certificate?
Once a technician receives their TSSA Brazing Certificate, maintaining it in good standing is fairly straight forward if he/she adheres to the following basic guidelines by keeping an up-to-date logbook of at least 6 months.
Your Brazing Certificate never expires assuming you:
- Remain employed by an ORAC Member (for non ORAC Member Technicians it expires 1 year from your test date)
- Certificate is generally transferrable if you move to another ORAC Member, have your original Brazing Certificate copy, and possess your “up-to-date” Log Book.
- While on job site carry original copy of your TSSA Brazing Certificate for appropriate materials and sizes
- Brazing certification is contingent on the ORAC Member Contractor following the ORAC Quality Manual.
- While on the job site carry your individual “Up to Date” Log Book showing brazing activity to your qualified range within every six (6) month window
- Your employer also maintains a log book showing they regularly verify brazing certification experience and knowledge for all their technicians.
Your technician should know the following details of their certificates:
- Certification date
- Material specification for base metals
- Specific joint size
- Specific filler metal spec, class, F-number, product form
- Brazing flow positions
- ORAC member name
Don’t have your certificate pulled on the job site by a TSSA Inspector because you:
- Don’t have your brazing certificate with you or it shows you aren’t certified for the materials, size or filler you are using.
- Are in breach of your individual log book maintenance responsibilities.
- Can’t answer the TSSA Inspectors basic brazing questions like:
- What material is that tube/pipe and coupling?
- What size is that tube/pipe material?
- What filler alloy material are you using?
- How many filler alloy rods will you braze in that joint?
- Which filler alloys are you certified to use?
- What is basic melting temperature for that material?
Core brazing fundamentals you must know!
The ORAC Approved Brazing Procedures that your employer is using and your TSSA Brazing certificates are only valid for specific sizes, materials, alloys and fillers you need to know which ones are appropriate!
1) Make sure you know which one(s) you’re certified for! Approved brazing sizes are:
- 1-3/8” OD covers 1-5/8” OD or less
- 2-1/8” OD or less
- 2-5/8” OD or less
- 3-1/8” OD or less
- 4-1/8” OD or less
2) There are many different filler alloys available but your certification and the approved procedures your company is using are as follows:
- For Copper to Copper joints use BCuP #5 filler rod without any flux.
- There are 9 compositions in the market so use the correct one.
- For Dissimilar Metal joints (copper/brass or copper/steel) use BAg #5 with the appropriate flux.
- There are 43 compositions in the market so use the correct one. Some contain phosphorous which would cause steel joints to become brittle.
- There are many fluxes in the market but appropriate one is defined by the manufacturer of the BAg #5 filler you are using (different BAg #5 manufacturer could mean different of flux)!
3) For joint to be as strong as the base material the Filler Alloy Penetration must comply with the TSSA Standard which is:
- 80% of the joint depth and around the full perimeter
- This is more then you will hear from the 3T rule because it also includes hydraulic/hydrostatic considerations which the 3T rule doesn’t.
- To achieve this penetration, ensure the joint clearance is appropriate and use correct volume of filler rod per joint:
- Suggested minimum of 1 full rod for 1-3/8” diameter joints
- Suggested minimum of 1.5 full rods for 2-1/8” diameter joints
- Suggested minimum of 2 full rods for 2-5/8” diameter joints
- Suggested minimum of 3 full rods for 3-1/8” diameter joints
- Suggested minimum of 4 full rods for 4-1/8” diameter joints
4) Copper tubing gets soft/weak (called annealing) if it’s overheated and/or cooled too quickly. This increases the risk of a blowout/rupture during use at higher pressures.
- To avoid experiencing this problem:
- Ensure the joint is uniform and equally heated and don’t overheat it!
- Don’t quench the joint by dumping water or applying a wet rag to it after brazing but rather let it air cool.
5) The raised bulbous shoulder that a lot of Mechanics and Contractors like to see is not required and serves no useful purpose!
6) Be aware of relationship between material specific temperature limits to avoid melting a joint and guaranteed leaking/test failure.
- Brass melts @ 1652ºF to 1724ºF
- Copper melts @ 1981ºF
- Steel melts@ 2500ºF to 2700ºF (depends on carbon content) Lower Carbon = ↑ Temperature
- Bag #5 melts @ 1225ºF - 1370ºF
- BCuP #5 melts @ 1190ºF to 1475ºF
- Air Acetylene Swirl Combustion flame ≃ 3450ºF
- Oxy-Acetylene neutral flame ≃ 5900ºF
7) The normal brazing positions that are used in the field are horizontal, vertical up and vertical down.
- Our testing protocols don’t use vertical down because we assume that if you can pass vertical up then you could pass vertical down.
What are the TSSA Approved ORAC Brazing Parameters?
All of the ORAC brazing procedures have specific associated specifications, samples have been produced in accordance with those specifications, and these samples have been sent for independent laboratory testing. Based on the successful results of this testing, TSSA has certified the ORAC brazing procedures. These below links are to the TSSA Certified brazing procedures and qualification records.
Please Login to Website to Access Brazing Procedures Specifications (BPS) & Brazing Procedure Qualification Records (PQR)