What are pipe fittings and how do they work

Australian Pipeline Association

Not entirely sure what a pipe fitting is? Confused as to whether you really need to know what a pipe fitting is?!

Well, rest assured we can simplify things for you and give you the heads up on what exactly you need to know.

You’ll be grateful for having a clear idea of the pipe fittings relevant to you just in case.

What are pipe fittings?

Pipe fittings are the parts that connect the sections of pipe together, or to other components in inline, offset, multiport or mounting configurations.

You can buy pipe fittings from home improvement stores and plumbing shops. For more information check out : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piping_and_plumbing_fitting

Within your home, you’ll find existing pipe fittings everywhere once you start to look:

  • Sprinkler systems
  • U turns under the bathroom sink
  • In the water lines needed for your washer and dryer

Pipelines (made from a variety of materials including steel, copper and CPVC) are assembled in pieces with pipe fittings.

The combination allows water and gas lines to run wherever you need them to go – around corners, over ceilings or under your home.

The connection

You may be wondering how exactly pipe fittings connect to the pipes themselves. In fact, there are two ways that this can be done:

  • By Threads – used for metal pipes
  • By slip fit – generally used for plastic pipes

Threaded pipes can be screwed together, whilst slip fit pipes have sleeves that slip into one another.

Threaded and Slip Fit pipe fittings are further divided, into male and female connectors.

  • Male Threaded Pipe Fittings: the threads are on the outside and designed to screw into the inside of a pipe end of larger diameter with internal threading
  • Female Threaded Pipe Fittings: these threads are on the inside and are designed to receive male threaded fittings
  • Male Slip Fit: these do not have any threads and simply fit into the female sleeve which is slightly larger
  • Female Slip Fit: again, these do not have any threads but are designed to receive the narrower male slip fit.

With any type of pipe fitting, it’s always crucial that the ends are slightly larger than the rest of the pipe.

This ensures that connections can be achieved without the risk of narrowing the inner diameter of the pipe which would affect the flow’s consistency.

Australian Pipeline Association

Always Check

It’s important with any pipe work you may be doing to always exercise caution. Check local laws and always consult with local water, telephone or cable company for work that needs to be carried out underground.

You’ll also always need to use the right material for the job. There are specific types of pipe that are approved to carry pressurized air and gas, whilst others are ideal for drinking water.

Choosing the correct material for your pipe fittings ensures safety and efficiency.

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