If you ask us, it’s crucial that homeowners have at least a basic knowledge of how plumbing works.
This helps you diagnose your own plumbing problems, and can help you realise when it’s time to call your local emergency plumbers!
Our Masterful plumbers in Brighton have talked at length about the types of pipes you’ll find in your typical house. We’ve also written about plumbing fixtures on occasion, as well as what you can do to prolong your plumbing.
However, one topic we haven’t fully divulged into is pipe fittings. Until today, that is.
Read on to learn about the different types of fittings – and why understanding the difference matters.
Our plumbers in Brighton explain types of pipe fittings
If you break it down, you can consider the basics of all plumbing being split into two parts:
Pipes are pretty straightforward – they’re the things that carry water from the mains to the plumbing fixtures in your home.
Pipe fittings on the other hand are how these pipes are connected and joined to one another.
It may sound simple – just like pipe materials however, the truth is there are a lot of different types of pipe fittings out there, each with its own unique installation method, strengths and weaknesses.
Today, our Brighton plumbers will be going over some of the most common types of fittings, including…
Couplings are the most basic fitting type, used to connect two pipes that have the same diameter and are of the same type.
In particular, couplings are used when your plumber needs to extend the length of your piping.
Additionally, they’re also occasionally used to repair burst or leaking pipes.
As the most basic fitting type, couplings are available in a wide variety of sizes, materials and threading.
In addition to “regular” coupling, there’s also compression coupling (which can be tightened) and slip coupling (which slides right over, and is secured with glue).
Cross fittings are shaped like – what else? – crosses.
With four separate openings, these fittings can connect four different pipes together – think of it as four-way intersection, but with moving water instead of cars!
As the meeting point of four different pipes, crosses tend to experience far greater pressure than other types of fittings.
As such, they tend to be made thicker, and out of tougher materials than other types of fittings.
Have your pipes hit a wall? Do you need to change the direction the pipes go? If so, elbows are the way to go.
That’s because pipes are only ever made in straight sections. To work around corners and existing pipes, we need fittings like elbows to change the direction your pipes go.
Imagine a regular coupling, but bent in the middle. Essentially, that’s what elbows are.
Elbows come in a variety of different angles, depending on what your property and plumbing layout needs.
With one side that’s wider in diameter than the other one, adaptors are the coupling of choice for when your plumber has to connect to differently shaped pipes together.
Adaptors are made in a wide variety of sizes to accommodate for the different sized pipes you’ll find in the typical home. If the job calls for adding a new fixture like a sink or tap, there’s a good change adaptors will be on your shopping list.
Barbs are a special type of adaptor that connects hoses to pipes, with the smaller side usually featuring a barbed tube, which helps keep the hose in place.
Another type of adaptor are reducers. Like the name suggests, reducers make a flow smaller, thus reducing water pressure and volume.
5) Tees and wyes
So you need to divert water from a pipe. How do you do that? Simple: with a tee or wye.
Like the name suggests, tees are t-shaped fittings that allow a third pipe to branch of. Just imagine a couple, but with an outlet on the side, allowing a third pipe to shoot off at a 90-degree angle.
A wye is essentially a tee, but with a less severe angle, usually coming in at 45-degrees, though others are available.
How do you fit two pipes that handle large volumes of water and high water pressure? With flanges, that’s how!
Almost always made of metal, flanges are commonly used in industrial plumbing. Pipes are threaded or welded to the flanges, which are then sealed together using heavy-duty bolts.
You won’t often find flanges in your home – usually, the only one on your property will be at the point where your plumbing connects to the water main.
Imagine a coupling, but with the ability to freely adjust the flow of water, and even cut it off entirely.
Essentially, that’s what valves are for.
Isolation valves completely stop the flow of water once you turn the lever, while throttling valves control the pressure and flow. In our experience, throttling valves tend to wear out faster than isolation valves – a strange trend, for sure!
Fittings come in a variety of different materials:
- PVC glue
- Stainless steel
While each common type of fitting (as well as the material it’s made of) has its own strengths and weaknesses, in our experience, the vast majority of problems don’t come from the fittings themselves, but from the way they’re connected.
Depending on the material your fittings are made of, as well as the pipes themselves, our Masterful plumbers in Brighton may need to change up the connection method we employ.
In modern houses, many of the pipes (and therefore, the fittings that go with them) are made out of PVC.
This has the advantage of being lighter and considerably cheaper, while also offering similar durability and completely eliminating the risk of rust.
Incidentally, it also eliminates the usage of welding to make fittings.
As such, PVC pipes use glue to hold fittings together.
The thing with glue however is that over time, it can lose its hold – especially if the fittings and pipes in question carry a lot of hot water.
Over time, this makes the glue brittle, which may result in leaks. Worst case scenario, it may even result in the fitting failing altogether, flooding your house!
While PVC is now the most common type of material in plumbing, metal pipes and fittings are still in demand for certain applications.
Not to mention, many older homes use metal piping – this is especially true for a suburb like Brighton, which is characterised by its vintage houses and heritage overlays.
As a result, it’s often cheaper to only replace some sections of metal piping instead of the entire system, meaning demand for metal pipe fittings and adaptors remains.
These pipes are connected to their fittings by welding.
The problem with welding is that over an extended period of time, the welds can suffer from the same problems inherent to metal pipes – namely rust.
Need a plumber in Brighton?
You need Watermaster Plumbing!
Problems with your plumbing? Is your plumbing in need of a desperate upgrade?
Whatever the reason, you’ll want to ensure that your plumbing receives only the best workmanship.
That means using strong pipes, with the proper fittings and connection methods – as anybody who’s ever had to deal with an unexpected plumbing emergency can attest, dealing with a burst pipe or leak isn’t fun!
Thankfully, you can rest easy with Watermaster Plumbing on your side.
Our emergency plumbers in Brighton are experienced, highly-trained and licensed.
Most importantly, we make it our mission to lead the entire plumbing trade to a new standard of customer service!
Once you experience Masterful plumbing, you’ll never need to call anyone else!