Copper pipe and fittings have been used in homes and buildings for decades. Copper is not a cheap material but it is highly recommended for use in certain projects. Since there are dozens of different types of copper pipe fittings, consumers should have no problem finding the perfect fitting for whatever a project calls for.
Copper is one of the most popular material used for piping in homes and businesses. A system of copper pipes and fittings directs water from a given source to outlets such as sinks and bathtubs. Fittings are used to direct lengths of pipe around corners and make connections to and from other pipes.
There are a wide variety of different copper pipe fittings on the market. These fittings fall into three general categories. The first category of fittings are used to make bends and turns. The second category of fittings are used to join lengths of copper pipe together or branch off lengths of pipe in different directions. The third category of pipe fittings are used as couplings, slip couplings and caps or to join copper pipe with a pipe of a different material.
Specific methods are used to connect lengths of pipes to fittings and water sources. The classic method to join copper pipe with copper fittings is soldering. This involves brushing a flux material on the receiving ends of a length of pipe and its fitting, joining the two, and applying solder to the seam with an blowtorch. This method produces a watertight seal if done correctly. Another method of joining copper pipe to a fitting is compression. Nuts slide over the outer side of a pipe followed by a sleeve, the pipe slides into the end of a fitting and gets covered by the sleeve. The nut gets tightened and a seal is formed.
SharkBite is a brand of copper pipe fittings that is popular, effective and easy to use. Using a SharkBite fitting involves no solder. A seal is formed simply by pushing a length of copper pipe into the fitting. A ring with teeth grabs the pipe and a specially designed O-ring presses between the wall of the fitting and the pipe making it watertight. Another benefit of this type of fitting other than its ease of use is the fact that it is easily removable.
The cost of a particular copper pipe fitting is heavily dependent on the size of the pipe it will connect to and the actual type of pipe fitting that will be used. The cost of copper in general is high; consumers should be aware that a copper pipe fitting will usually be much higher than a similar fitting made of any other material. The only downfall to SharkBite fittings is that they are not cheap. A typical fitting of this brand will generally run about $5. Using them on a whole project can be quite costly.