Selecting The Right Pipe Fittings

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As an amateur working on your personal plumbing issues, you might have already dealt with existing pipe fittings. However, when it's time for new fittings or you're making changes to overall pipe layout, you'll need to start thinking wisely about the selections you make if you don't want to cause problems. These fitting tips will enable you to select the right pieces for your plumbing project.

Double-Check Measurements

Knowing what your pipe sizes are before choosing fittings seems obvious, but many beginners go by sight or memory. To avoid more work for yourself, ensure that you properly measure pipes and pipe openings with a tape measure or another measuring tool before you get fittings. 

Take Care With Material Choice

It's smart to think about which materials you're going to be joining or working with when you select a particular fitting. If you've got older copper pipes, for example, it's unwise to use a fitting that is made of steel. That's because those two metals, when joined, can experience galvanic corrosion which will degrade them both. That could ultimately be the cause of leaking later on. A copper or PVC fitting may be more appropriate. If you're insistent on steel pieces, first use a dielectric union which made specifically for these instances.

Get The Proper Type

Part of the trickiness of selecting fittings on your own is that you might be questioning which type to use. Luckily, your own plans may dictate which fitting type is best. If you're trying to divert some water into another line, a T-shaped or "tee" fitting is suitable. If you're hoping to change the way water is flowing in a corner, rather than a tee you may want an "elbow" fitting. If you'd leave a pipe open for later or just want to cap it off, a cap fitting will work.

Avoid Overtightening

When the time comes to screw the fitting onto a pipe, you may want to do so very tightly. You might think that will make the fit more secure. However, remember that you may need to unscrew the fitting to clear a clog or deal with another problem. In some cases, overtightening pieces could actually increase chances of leaking. Screw the fitting in just enough to ensure that it's done all the way and then stop. If you're worried that leaking could happen, use some plumbing tape around the fitting instead of overdoing it with your wrench.

Fittings are easier to select when you've been doing plumbing work for some time, so if you make mistakes, be patient with yourself. Keep talking with retailers and your own plumber to get more information about getting the right fittings for your needs.