Plumbing Tips: A Guide To Fittings

Fitting is the generic name for the various parts that attach pipes together.

Fitting is the generic name for the various parts that attach pipes together. Fittings are threaded, barbed, soldered or glued to the pipes that are to be connected. All threaded fittings should be wrapped with a sealer such as Teflon tape or pipe dope to seal the joint and to lubricate the joint which makes the joint easer to thread. Pipe dope should not be used with sprinklers. Fittings are either metal or PVC and are bushings, caps, couplings, crosses, ells, female adapters, male adapters, plugs, reducers, side outlet ells and tees.

Bushings are small pieces that are used to connect two pipes of different sizes together. A standard reducer bushing has one male end and one female connection.

Caps are fittings that have a glued end or threaded end and the other end is closed off.

This fitting is used to cap off a pipe.

Couplings are fittings that connect two sections of pipe together. They may have glued ends or threaded ends.

Crosses are fittings that join four sections of pipe at one point and may have glued ends or female thread ends, except for PVC crosses, which are glued ends only. Crosses are not very common and may have to be special ordered.

Ells are fittings used to change the direction of pipe. Ells are commonly 90 degree and 45 degree although specialty ells are available in other angles. Ells look like an "L". There are PVC ells and insert ells. PVC ells have threads in both ends, threads in one end and a glued socket in the other end, or glued sockets in both ends. Insert ells have male threads and barbs, female threads and barbs, glue sockets and barbs, glue spigots and barbs, or barbs and barbs.

Female adapters, or sockets, are fittings that are used to adapt glued PVC to threaded or barbed connections.

Male adapters, or spigots, are fittings that are used to adapt from glued PVC to a male threaded end.

Plugs are fittings that are used to plug an unused fitting outlet. Many plugs have female threaded ends, although some have glued ends. Most of the time, threaded plugs are intended for a future connection at that particular area.

Reducers are fittings to change from one size pipe to another size pipe. There are two commonly used reducers, reducer bushings and bell reducers. Reducer bushings fit inside a coupling or other fitting on the large end and the pipe fits into the reducer bushing on the small end. The bell reducer has female threads on both ends and is generally not manufactured in PVC.

Side outlet ells are ells with a side outlet. Commonly these ells have two ¾" or 1" glued sockets and ½" side outlets have female threads. These fittings are commonly used in residential sprinkler systems.

Tees are the most common fittings and are used to branch a side pipe off a pipeline. Tees are available with all female thread sockets, all glued sockets or with opposed glued and side outlet with female threads. This fitting is shaped like a "T".

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