I am used to working with PVC and CPVC, but these are copper pipes that I am thinking about adding in a water cooler that needs a water line. My question is, obviously I can't use the CPVC scissor like cutters to cut copper piping, so how would I cut the copper piping to add in a tee with 3 connections - one that goes up, one down to continue the flow as normal, and one that will come out that I can connect to the water cooler?

Thanks in advance all!

3 Answers 3


All depends on you. You can cut the pipe with a hacksaw, Sawzall, a copper tubing cutter like these: enter image description here enter image description here You might have to cut a length of pipe out to fit your valve. You could also use a piercing valve.

I don't endorse these products although good.

  • 2
    I will add that you should (must by code in my locale) ream the cut pipe to remove the internal burr created by the cutting process. Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 15:53
  • Since you don't know which tool to use (it's OK, that's why you're here), here are some instructions: 1) put cutter around pipe. 2) tighten cutter until blade just touches pipe. 3) rotate cutter in a complete circle around pipe. 4) Tighten cutter blade slightly. 5) repeat 3 & 4 until you've cut through.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 18:26
  • I'll add that I used a larger pipe cutter like the first image in a tight space (under a kitchen sink) and the result wasn't great. I couldn't make full revolutions, so there was a bit of pipe remaining that I bent off. This slightly changed the shape of the pipe end, requiring a lot more screwing around to get the compression fittings on. I suggest the smaller cutter if you're low on space. Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 19:17
  • I certainly wouldn't endorse a piercing valve! Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 0:04

Got too long for a comment but after cutting the pipe with a pipe cutter or hacksaw and reaming this process can improve your odds of a good leak free joint.

Since you are new to copper I will leave this comment to help you get a good sweat joint. When sweating copper pipes use plumbers cloth or a light sandpaper to clean the varnish off the fittings. The pipe has to be dry to get a good seal on the solder. I will pull the crust off white bread and pack the pipe on both sides to prevent moisture from getting to the joint and causing a leak. Flux the joint and use a non-lead solder, heat the joint and apply the solder. You are looking for it to wick into the joint and leave a slight filet of solder. With the joint completed and your shut off valve installed pull the aerator off the closest faucet and flush the bread out. I use this method with repairs and never have had leaks but have seen problems from 1 drop of water in the past where they used fernco hubs to seal the leak and they later failed. I use this procedure and repair with no leaks.


It is definitely worth learning to solder if you're going to do a lot of work with copper pipe, but if you only work with it once in a while, the slip on type fittings such as Sharkbite work very well with less chance of error. Even if you're proficient with solder, the slip on fittings have a big advantage for maintenance - you can work on wet pipes.

Slip on fittings are much more expensive than solder fittings but if you're doing just one or two fittings well worth the extra cost.

I find that a good tubing cutter is preferable to a hacksaw when using these fittings, because the tubing cutter makes it easy to make a perfectly square cut. I won't recommend a brand due to site policies, just ask around about what brand is best.

A fitting such as the Sharkbit slip tee fitting can be installed in just a few minutes to install a water cooler:


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