Can I solder in the house?

I need to learn how to solder tonight. I bought an iron, flux, latex gloves, and paper masks.

I am aware that common flux (and the one i bought) contains lead which is toxic and cancerous.

I've seen most people suggest to solder outside, however it's cold lol.

I could setup a table in the garage, however, not only would this be uncomfortable, I doubt keeping my electronics in the cold of my garage is a good idea. (It's 48 degrees outside right now).

I am also concerned about potential smoke setting off the fire alarm (experienced solderers: does it emit a ton of smoke?)

Obviously, the safe answer is to solder outside, however do u think it's ok if i solder in my house.

20 Answers

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  • Tony
    Lv 7
    4 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    First, there is NO Lead in flux. Lead can be found in a "Tin-Lead" solder, but tin-lead solder is getting harder to find. More and more they are getting away from lead. Any solder marked with ROHS (Removal Of Hazardous Substances) means a solder contains no lead. It's become an environmental issue.

    Second, lead does not cause cancer, it causes brain damage. So don't eat the stuff.

    Third, soldering outside in the cold - the cold will not affect the electronics adversely, however static electricity (referred to as ESD - or Electro-Static Damage) can. The biggest problem with soldering in cold environments is the solder iron won't be able to maintain temperature unless it's one of those with temperature controlled heating elements. AND the cold board will be more difficult to solder, so don't set up in the garage. Don't solder on vinyl or plastic work surfaces. Avoid cardboard and paper. ESPECIALLY avoid styrofoam. TONS of ESD there. Don't use tapes - especially scotch tape (the clear stuff). Masking tape is not good but not terrible.

    As for fumes from soldering - you're right, you don't want to be directly breathing the fumes and smoke from the soldering process, however it won't kill you. A small muffin fan set near the work piece, blowing away from you will tend to draw the smoke away from you instead of allowing it to rise in your face. Knowing this - even I don't have a fan. Why? Just because. No special reason, just that I haven't gotten around to doing that yet. One day I probably will, but generally, soldering in my basement workshop - hasn't killed me yet. And my brain still farts normally - I mean "Function" normally.

    As for the final part of your question - no, smoke from soldering won't set off the smoke detectors. Not unless you decide to melt a whole spool of solder all at once. You mentioned latex gloves. Not necessary. Can produce some ESD, but I wouldn't expect a lot. The WORST thing you can do is sit on a rug with a plastic rug protector and sit there in socks. You'll be generating over 20,000 volts of static electricity. You WILL be blowing out your electronic devices long before you even power them up.

    Research ESD before you start. It's worth understanding, and knowing what to watch out for. I've been playing with electronics for many years. I have a work surface on my workbench that aids in preventing ESD from having any negative effects on my electronic circuits. The paper mask is probably not necessary. You're not going into surgery.

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  • 4 years ago

    I solder where I want to solder, the kitchen bar, on a small table in the family room, in the garage, out on the patio if it is warm enough. I have never noticed any smoke but I know that smoke is possible. I am not dead, my smoke alarm has never gone off, My house is still standing, and my two dogs are still alive. I do not wear gloves, I do not wear a mask, I do not wear goggles , I do not run a fan. I solder what I need to ,then put it away.

    One thing I always do though is make sure I scrub my hands, arms, and the area I was soldering at extremely well with a disinfectant soap and solution after each time.

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  • 4 years ago

    For soldering electronic/electrical circuits one must use rosin flux. (acid flux will eat up the circuits over time)

    Typically a 60/40 solder is used for electronic work. (60% zinc / 40% lead) the lead is in the solder, not the flux!

    The more zinc, the better the solder for electronics! It takes a lot of soldering to be effected by soldering fumes! So have a go at it! Liquid rosin flux works the best for electronics because it will minimize the contact time with the soldering iron and help prevent over heating your components.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/19899661

    Remember to heat your work and let the work melt the solder. Do not let just the soldering iron melt the solder or you may end up with a cold solder joint! Have fun!

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  • elhigh
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    Tony gets the star. His is a good answer.

    No lead in flux. Not a problem.

    The cold of the garage wouldn't affect your electronics at all. Tony's comments about electrostatic discharge are right on too, so do be aware of that.

    I will argue about the smoke detector, though. I've set off a couple, but I admit I was doing a LOT of soldering, I was directly under the detector and it had fresh batteries. Your mileage may vary.

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  • 4 years ago

    Flux does not contain lead .

    The solder that you have might have lead in it the packaging will tell you if it has .

    Both the flux and the solder if it has lead in it give off toxic fumes so do the soldering in a well ventilated area .

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  • M.
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    I have an idea that you are going to solder something related to electronics or wiring in an electronic device. There is only one kind of solder that should be used for electronic devices, and that is rosin core solder. Rosin is the "flux". It is a special, non-corrosive flux, that is necessary for electronic soldering.

    You stated that you bought flux. I assume that it is paste flux. Most paste flux is acid flux. This is for soldering copper water pipes and other NON electronic applications. Also, flux does not have lead in it.

    What kind of solder do you have?

    What exactly will you be soldering?

    How many watts is your soldering iron?

    Source(s): Electrical/electronic repair since the 1960s
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  • 4 years ago

    Solder contains lead. Flux does not. A bit of soldering isn't going to harm you.

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  • 4 years ago

    i'm confused. You have the material to solder but you've never soldered anything? Instead of posting this question on this site, go to youtube and watch a short video on the subject

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  • Jim W
    Lv 7
    4 years ago

    This is not a problem. If all you do is a few minutes of soldering at a time it should not set off the fire alarm. As to toxic fumes I suggest a ventilation fan that uses a very fine filter or exhaust to the outside.

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  • John
    Lv 6
    4 years ago

    You need to provide a good ventilation ,cause gas of the solder is extremely harmful for the longs .It's recommend using safety glass ,gloves and a fan that suck the air right from top of the table that you work .

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