When sweating or soldering copper pipe, we’ve been asked about using either propane or MAP gas. In truth, both types of fuel will get the job done. The main difference between propane or MAP gas is that the MAP is hotter. What that translates to is you will heat up the pipe quicker allowing you to solder faster.
The Case for MAP Gas Over Propane
If you can heat up the fittings quickly, you will actually be heating up less pipe area. This can make things better when working near valves.
Also, since lead-based solder is not code-compliant for domestic water systems, the tin and silver-based solder take a little more heat to get them to flow. MAP gets the job done quicker for this as well.
There needs to be caution exercised because most torch heads designed for propane are not compatible with MAP gas unless clearly indicated on the torch head. Make sure you understand which tools to use before attempting to switch from one to the other.
MAP Gas Defined
The name MAP comes from the original chemical composition, methylacetylene-propadiene propane. You basically have a stabilized mixture of methylacetylene (propyne) and propadiene.
MAPP gas was a trademarked name, belonging to The Linde Group which came out of the Dow Chemical Company.