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Different Types of Pipe Fittings

Nov 29, 2023

Various types of fittings used in plumbing systems.



Pipe fittings are used in plumbing systems to perform various actions such as uniting several pipes of similar or diverse sizes or to measure or regulate the flow.

Plumbing fittings are made of materials such as PVC, iron, copper, etc.

Here are the most common types of pipe fittings:

These types of pipe fittings are designed to reduce the flow size by reducing the size of the pipe. There are two types of reducers: concentric and eccentric.

Shaped like a cone with gradual decreasing around the pipe, concentric reducer is used to join two pipes on the same axis.

On the other hand, eccentric reducer – which resembles bells with offset lines – is used to join pipes of different diameters.

Elbow pipe fittings are easily the most popular types of plumbing fittings. They are used to change the direction of flow between two pipes and are generally available in angles of 22.5, 45, and 90 degrees.

Elbow pipe fittings are used on pipes of the same size, but if the pipes are of different diameters a variation of reducer elbow is fitted.

These types of pipe fittings are used to connect pipes with plain ends. As the name suggests, adapters help a pipe to become male or female depending on the need.

One end of the adapter is usually plain – with no male of female threads – and is glued, soldered, or welded to the plain end of the pipe.

Adaptors are mainly used for copper or PVC piping.

This plumbing fitting is used to connect two pipes of the same diameter, especially during the repair of broken or leaking pipes.

There are two types of couplings: the compression coupling and slip coupling.

Compression coupling is usually fitted between two pipes using gaskets or rubber seals on both ends to stop leakages.

On the other hand, slip coupling contains two pipes one of which is made to slip into the other up to a desired length to repair a specific section of a broken pipe.

This is a T-shaped pipe fitting with one inlet and two outlets set at an angle of 90 degrees to the main pipe. They are mainly used to combine the flow of two inlets to one outlet.

There are two types of tee type pipe fittings: equal tee, in which all the three sides of the T-fitting are equal, and unequal fitting, in which the sides are not equal.

These types of pipe fittings are designed to operate like couplings.

However, unlike couplings that cannot be removed after fitting, unions are easily removable when the need arises – making them ideal for planned future replacement.

A union is usually made up of three parts: male end, female end, and a nut that is used to join the male and female ends.

These pipe fittings consist of four openings in four directions, and are fitted at the meeting point of four pipes. They are mainly used for firefighting systems.

Cross type fittings generate more amount of stress on pipe as the temperature changes since they are positioned at the center of four connection points.

This is a type of plumbing fitting that connects two pipes using a screw or a similar device. It is usually made of rubber that is put into a metal steel clamp.

As the clamp tightens, it compresses the rubber to make a close-fitting seal.

Mechanical sleeve is best for fixing small misalignments in tough locations.

Valves are important mechanisms of a plumbing system as they help to stop and regulate the flow of liquid in its path.

There are many types of valves in the plumbing industry, including isolation valves, throttling valves, and non-return valves.

Isolation valves impound a part of the plumbing system to allow servicing or routine maintenance. They include ball valve, gate valve, and plug valve.

Throttling valves are designed to control the pressure and amount of liquid and are usually fitted near isolation valves.

They tend to wear faster compared to other types of valves due to the constant pressures exerted by the liquids on the mechanisms.

Non-return valves, also known as check valves, are designed to only allow the liquid to flow in a single direction and are often found in drains.

These types of fittings are used to close up pipe openings to allow inspection and repairs. They both operate in a similar fashion only that a plug has male threads while a cap has female threads that screw on the male end of pipe.

Plugs and caps are made of steel, copper, rubber, or plastic and can be glued, soldered, threaded, or welded into the pipe.

This type of pipe fittings is used to link hoses to pipes. It contains male threads at one end and a barbed tube – a ridged and tapered cone – at the other end.

It may also be designed with a type of clamp to keep it secure.

Barbs are made of brass if they carry hot water or plastic if they carry cold fluid.

Shaped like letter ‘Y’, these fitting types are designed to connect three pipes to allow the pipes vary their elevations and branch out into fresh water lines or drains.

Y-fittings are similar to T-fittings but their smoother angling helps to reduce friction and turbulence in water.

They are mainly used to connect a vertical drainpipe to a horizontal drain.

These fitting types are males of varying lengths and are designed to connect two valves instead of connecting two pipes.

They can be made of steel, copper, or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC).

Olets are used when standard sizes of pipe fittings are not suitable for a task. For example, olets are used where the inlet pipe is bigger than outlets in T-sections.

There are many types of olets, the most common of which include nipple olet, socket weld olet, elbow olet, butt-weld olet, flange olet, sweep olet, threaded olet, and lateral olet.

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Peter Lugaria is a seasoned journalist with a degree in Communications from Daystar University with over a decade of experience in reporting on the latest building materials, fixtures, and appliances.

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