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What Are Plumbing Fittings?


So let’s talk about plumbing basics today. When we say plumbing, we refer to any conveyance of liquid waste, potable water or gas in a commercial, industrial or residential property. The plumbing system is mainly composed of two sub-systems which are the clean water system and the drainage system. Now both these sub-systems are comprised of pipes and tubes of different sizes and materials. And to make the installation of the system successful, plumbing fittings are also utilized.


1. Elbow

This is a fitting used between two tubing or pipes to allow either a 22.5, 90 or 45-degree change in direction. Its ends are usually socketed, threaded or butt welded. When its two ends vary in size, it is called a reducer or reducing elbow.

2. Coupling

A coupling is a type of fitting that’s used to connect two pipes together. The size of the pipes may not be the same.

3. Union

A union is a fitting that’s akin to a coupling, except for its design that allows convenient and quick disconnection of pipes. This is usually used for fixture replacement or maintenance. Generally, unions are made up of three parts: the male end, the female end, and the nut. There are two different types of unions, too. These are the dielectric unions and rotary unions. Dielectric unions are used for pipes that are made from dissimilar metals like galvanized steel and copper. Rotary unions are the type the let one of the three components to rotate.

4. Reducers

As we have mentioned above, reducers are types of fittings that allow the pipes to adapt even if they have different sizes.

5. Olets

Olets are used in branch connections where reducing tees aren’t accessible. Some configurations of olets include flanged, lateral, socket –weld, nipple, butt-weld and swage nipples.

6. Tee

The tee is among the most common types of fittings used in plumbing systems. It is used to split or combine the flow of liquid in the system. You’ll recognize it easily because it’s shaped like a letter T, with two outlets that are angled at 90 degrees. Tees are available in different finishes, sizes and materials.

7. Cross

Cross fittings are also known to plumbers are 4-way fittings. These usually have three outlets and a single inlet, or vice-versa. Oftentimes, they have female threaded or solvent welded socket ends. Cross fittings are commonly used in fire sprinkler systems.

8. Cap

The cap is a kind of plumbing fitting that’s usually gas or liquid-tight. It is used like a plug only that it connects on the male thread of a tube or pipe.

9. Plugs

A plug is a fitting that is used to close off a pipe’s ends. It is comparable to a cap but you should note that it fits inside the fitting it is paired to.

10. Nipple

A nipple is just a short stump of pipe that has threaded brass, steel, CPVC or copper. It has external male pipe threads on both ends that are used to connect two other plumbing fittings. A nipple is commonly utilized in hoses as well as used as a valve for pipes and funnels.

11. Barb

A barb is a fitting used to hook up a tubing or flexible hose to pipes. It typically features a male-threaded end that’s used to connect with female threads.

We hope that you now know what plumbing fittings are. If you are experiencing plumbing issues at home, just call the best North Lauderdale plumber. Douglas Orr Plumbing provides reliable plumbing services in North Lauderdale FL including toilet repair, sewer line inspection, leak detection, backflow prevention, drain pipe unclogging and many more! Call us at (305) 240-6731to schedule a service!

Learn the basics of home plumbing. Watch this video from The Home Depot!

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