If you’ve ever been in a position where you’ve had to replace the “trap” or U-turn under the bathroom sink, run gas and water lines to install a dryer or washer, or build your own sprinkler system, chances are you’ve probably dealt with pipe fittings. Whether copper, steel, plastic ABS or CPVC, pipe hose fittings allow the lines to run under a house, around a corner, over a ceiling or anywhere else you want them to go.
Typically, pipe hose fittings connect pipes in two ways: by slip fit or by threads. Plastic pipes are slip fit or threaded, while metal pipes are threaded. As their name suggests, threaded pipes need to be screwed together to connect, while slip fit pipes take advantage of sleeves that slip into each other. They’re organised by female and male connectors in the following manners:
- Male threaded feature exterior threads which are made to screw into the inside of a pipe with a larger diameter with internal threaded.
- Female threaded feature interior threads which are made to accommodate male threaded fittings.
- Male slip fit don’t feature threads, but instead slip directly into larger female sleeves.
- Female slip fit don’t feature threads, but instead accept narrower male slip fits.
To keep a consistent flow, the ends of pipe fittings are always slightly larger than the rest of the pipe in order to accommodate connections without narrowing the inner diameter. You’ll find various types of fittings categorised by pipe material, outer and inner pipe diameter, slip or threaded and male or female.
When buying pipe fittings, make sure you check both ends, and see the type of connector types they have. One end might be female threaded, while the other male threaded. Plastic fittings can have one end threaded while the other male slip. They can also have matching ends. Basically, there’s a wide variety to satisfy every need possible.
One more thing to pay extra attention to is the material they’re made of. Depending on the job, the preferred materials can vary. Make sure you always use materials rated for the job. Moreover, they might need to be approved to carry pressurised gas or air, potable or non-potable water. For instance, PVC is frequently used for sprinkler systems and above-ground drainage applications. On the other hand, ABS is considered as more heavy-duty and is used for sewer and underground drainage applications.
You can find pipe fittings in home improvement stores and any store that sells plumbing materials and online. You’ll find most variety online, and you can easily find out more about all the specifications certain fittings have, and whether they’re right for the task you’re tackling or not.