When it comes to plumbing DIY, it doesn’t have to feel like a different language. There are some commonly used pipes, connectors and valves that will fit in a regular domestic plumbing system, it’s just a matter of identifying them. Here’s a breakdown of common pipe connectors and joints.
Solder-ring fittings have a ring of solder built into the fitting which melts when heat is applied from a blowtorch or heat gun, joining the pipe to the fitting. This makes them easier to use than other joints as no extra solder is required. They offer the most unobtrusive forms of connection.
Brass compression fittings and fittings don’t require any heat because they don’t require any solder, making them simpler to seal. The threaded sections fit onto the pipe with the nut tightening the connection, and grab-rings or ‘olives’ help create a watertight seal. Chrome compression fittings have similar qualities but offer a different finish.
These work on a similar principle to metal compression joints except that the materials are plastic, and a rubber seal is used instead of an olive, to create a watertight seal. They are simply pushed into the joint and the seal fits tightly against the side of the pipe. Then they can be hand-tightened. They are generally seen as being much quicker to fit than the alternatives and don’t need any special tools to fit them.
Solvent glue or ‘cement’ is used to seal these joints. It may be used to join PVC and ABS pipes. Make sure that the cement you’re using is suitable for the particular pipe you are using.
Different connection types
There are a range of different connector shapes that can be used in domestic plumbing. Some of the common shapes include elbow fittings, tees, inserts, straight connectors, stop ends and braided connectors. Each type performs a different function, for instance the pipe insert help create an extra seal, flexible connectors are great for inaccessible areas, and elbows are used to change the direction of the pipes. Straight tees join pipes at 90 degrees and stop ends terminate pipe runs.