Find the Right Fitting
Pipe fittings are used to connect pieces of pipe together. They help you run pipe where you need it to go, whether around corners, through ceilings or underground. The success of your project can depend on selecting the right size, materials and connectors for the function you need the fitting to perform. This guide will cover the materials fittings are made of, how they connect and how various shapes are used for different functions so you can feel confident you're using the right fitting for your project.
Shape, Material and Connectors
Selecting the right pipe fitting consists of combining the right shape, material and connection type for your pipe run. Pipe fittings come in a variety of shapes and materials, from elbows for diverting flow around corners to tees for splitting flows into multiple directions. While two different materials may often be connected together with special transitional connectors, it's best to match the material of the fitting to that of the pipes you are connecting whenever possible.
Materials for pipes and fittings include:
• Black and galvanized steel malleable iron
• Galvanized steel
Connection types include:
• Sweat fittings use solder as a filler material.
• Solvent weld fittings may be male (smaller) or female (larger), are smoothed walled and connect using quick
drying solvent cement.
• Push-to-Connect fittings, including SharkBite®, make installation quick and easy.
• Threaded fittings, which may be male or female. Female openings have threading on the inside of the fitting
and close around male connections, which feature the threading on the outside.
• Compression fittings use a threaded body, nut and ferrule to join pieces of pipe together.
• Flare fittings use a flare nut and flare fitting to connect the pipe to the fitting after the pipe has been flared.
• Crimp fittings use a ring tightened around pipe after the fitting has been inserted.
• Clamp fittings use a clamp tightened around pipe after the fitting has been inserted.
Refer to the table below for common fitting materials and the types of connectors used to join them.
|Black and Galvanized
Steel Malleable Iron
|Galvanized Steel||• Threaded|
• Solvent weld
There are two major types of fittings used in residential construction: pressure (supply) fittings and drain-waste-vent (DWV) fittings.
Pressure fittings utilize pressure to maintain flow. They are used above ground to connect the pipes that bring water to faucets and fixtures. They are available in copper, PVC, CPVC, PEX, polyethylene, brass, black & galvanized steel malleable iron and galvanized steel.
Fittings for each material are available in many shapes. Consult the table below to identify the supply fitting you need.
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Types and Applications
|Divert water to another line||Tee||• Straight Tees have three openings of the same
• Reducing Tees have at least one opening smaller
than the other
|Change the direction of a pipeline||Elbow||• Standard Elbows have two ends that accept the
same size pipe
• Street Elbows have one end to accept pipe and
another end that is the same size as the pipe
• Reducing Elbows join one sized pipe to another
• Drop Elbows have "wings" to attach to a wall
|Join pipe end to end||Couplings and Adapters||• Standard Couplings have female threads or open
sockets at both ends
• Reducer Couplings connect smaller pipes to
• Adapter Couplings connect soldered or glued
joints to threaded joints.
|Connect or disconnect pipe in the middle of a line||Union||• Necessary for threaded pipes
• Dielectic Unions transition from steel to copper,
block electrolysis and prevent corrosion
|Seal the end of a pipe||Cap||• Fits over the end of a pipe
• Can be used for incomplete jobs to restore water
|Seal a fitting with a plug||Plug||• Fits inside a fitting|
|Connect one type of pipe to another||Transition||• Connects pipes of different materials together, such
Drain-waste-vent fittings, or DWV, use gravity to move used water and waste out of your home. The fittings are designed to keep waste flow moving downwards efficiently by changing direction gradually. The fitting you select determines the slope of the system. The general rule is ¼" per horizontal foot of pipe.
Refer to the table below to determine the fitting you need.
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Use This Fitting
Types and Applications
|Change the direction of flow||Elbow||• Elbows are available in 90°, 60°, 45° and 22 ½° turns|
|Connect a toilet to the main drain||Closet Flange||• Fits into elbows including closet elbows and closet bends
• Flange anchors to floor to
|Join two lines together||Wye||• Used to bring branch lines into a run
• Wyes have a 45° angle to flow through the system
|Be able to clear out clogs easily||Cleanout||• Male plug connects into an adapter fitting
• Should be placed in a convenient location for easy access
|Prevent gases from coming into my home||P-trap||• Creates a seal by trapping water in the fitting's arc|
|Divert and remove water||Tee||• Sanitary Tees have a directional sweep in the branch to direct water,
waste and air
• Long Turn Tee Wye have an extra long sweep to improve the
removal of used or waste water
• Vent Tees (and elbows) have abrupt 90° angles for fittings used only
in the venting side of the system.
Flexible couplings can be used to connect, adapt, reduce, plug or cap plumbing pipes of almost any size or material. They are easy to install and useful in all types of in-house plumbing, sewer and drain applications, especially when making small to medium sized repairs or modifications to older plumbing systems. You'll find a wide assortment of strong, leak-proof flexible couplings for any plumbing application at your local The Home Depot store.
SharkBite® push-fit fittings and valves connect copper, CPVC and PEX pipe in any combination−without soldering, clamps, unions or glue. Perfect for do-it-yourselfers and contractors, SharkBite's innovative push-fit design makes pipe installation quick and easy. It's the ideal solution for any plumbing repair or new installation. You'll find a wide assortment of SharkBite products available at your local The Home Depot store.