Home Improvement

An introduction to copper pipe fittings

Copper pipe fittings have long been a preferred choice in the plumbing and heating industry and have gained a reputation for their durability, versatility and longevity. These characteristics make them an ideal choice for various applications.

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Why use copper pipe fittings?

Copper is highly resistant to corrosion, which means copper pipe connectors maintain their integrity over time. Copper is easy to shape and install, making it a favourite choice among plumbers. It also has a high melting point, which is a critical factor in building regulations within the industry. In the US alone, 1.9 million metric tons of copper were used in 2022.

Types of copper used

Copper pipe fittings typically use two types of copper: soft copper and rigid copper. Soft copper is ideal for tubing and offers exceptional flexibility, allowing it to be easily bent to the desired shape. This type of tubing is specifically designed for refrigerant lines for split-system air conditioners and heat pumps.

Rigid copper is the preferred choice for water pipelines. These pipes are typically connected using copper pipe connectors, as copper pipe connectors cannot be bent. Copper pipe connectors, such as elbow fittings, are used to go around corners or avoid obstacles.

Different types of copper pipe fittings

Copper pipe fittings come in various types to suit different needs. Some of the most common types are:

Compression fittings

These fittings are ideal for joining copper pipes without the need for soldering or welding; instead, they use a threaded nut and ferrule to create a secure connection.

Flare fittings

Flare fittings are used in gas lines and HVAC systems. Flare fittings use a threaded connection to secure the pipe, to create an all-important gas-tight seal.

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Press fittings

These fittings use a press tool to create a tight connection without soldering or threading. They are often used when a quick and reliable connection is needed.

Soldered fittings

Soldered fittings, such as couplings and elbows, are connected to copper pipes by soldering with a torch to create a strong, leak-free joint. They are commonly used in the plumbing and heating industry.

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