Learn the Different Types of Plumbing Pipe Fittings
Dec 10, 2021
Plumbing fittings are used to connect pipe lengths, change directions, and provide access to pipes or drains. They come in as many materials as there are pipes—including plastic, copper, and iron—and have similar purposes, while others are only used in certain applications. Here are some common types of plumbing fittings to keep in mind for your next project.
Common types of pipe fittings
Plumbing pipes and fittings come in a variety of materials. Fittings join pipe lengths together and offset pipe around obstacles like electrical boxes. There are a wide variety of fittings to choose from, however the best one to use depends on what system you plan to install and the type of pipe you’ll be using.
Elbows are used to redirect pipe in another direction, often to avoid obstacles such as electrical boxes or switches. These redirections are called offsets. Elbows come in a range of angles, including 90 degrees, 60 degrees, 45 degrees, and 22 ½ degrees, and a reducing elbow changes the size of a pipe.
Elbows are used in all types of plumbing and available in all piping materials.
A cross-shaped pipe fitting has four openings. Though it isn’t used much in regular plumbing, it can be found in irrigation and sprinkler applications.
Bushings, or reducer bushings, go in one end of pipe to reduce the size of the opening. They allow for quick transition to a smaller sized pipe and often used in tight spaces. Concentric reducers narrow, or reduce, the size of the pipe in the center. If you look at the reducer head-on, you’ll see the smaller section forms in the center of the larger pipe. They are generally used for gas piping and vertical runs.
Eccentric reducers narrow the pipe to the side. If you look at the eccentric reducer head-on, you’ll see the smaller section lying against one side of the larger pipe. These are used when the liquid needs to stay on the same level throughout the pipe.
Bushings are used in all types of plumbing and available in all piping materials.
T-shaped tee fittings are used to create branch lines and connect three pieces of pipe, often in water supply lines. When describing them, plumbers give the line dimension, then the branch dimension. For example, a tee with one line at 2 inches, another at 1½ inches, and a branch line at 1½ inches would be called a 2” x 1½” x 1½” tee.
If both lines are the same size, the name can be shortened. For example, a tee with lines of 1 inch and 1 inch and a branch of ¾ inch would be called a 1” x ¾” tee. If all openings have the same size, it’s called a 1” tee.
Tees are used in all types of plumbing and available in all piping materials.
Couplings are used to join two pipes together. They slip over the pipes’ exterior, and join two pipes with a stopper in the middle that prevents them from going all the way through. They are often used when repairing a section of pipe.
A reducing coupling, or reducer, joins two pipes with different sizes.
Couplings are used in all types of plumbing and available in all piping materials.
Adapters allow you to join two different types of pipes such as female iron pipe, male iron pipe, and straight threaded.