How Push-Fit Pipe Fittings Are Revolutionizing Plumbing for Professionals and Homeowners
Alex "Solar Girl" Steele
Most homeowners prefer to call up a professional plumbing service when water issues arise on their properties. You might think you can handle a small leak or wonky pipe, but one small oversight can result in a disaster that ends in a flooded basement or bathroom floor. These days, although it’s still best to leave most matters to the professionals, people are finding it a little easier to manage small repairs around their homes thanks to innovations in the way fittings are produced and installed. Push-fit pipe fittings have changed the plumbing industry over the past couple of decades, making it easier for professionals and homeowners alike to make quick upgrades and necessary repairs. Read ahead for more information how push fittings have changed the plumbing game!
For a long time, most people relied on plumbers to do specific tasks that the average homeowner just wouldn’t have the skills for, like solvent-gluing CPVC and PVC pipes or soldering copper. Traditional pipe-fitting methods can be risky for an untrained person to attempt, because they open up an opportunity for further damage to plumbing infrastructure. What seems like one small oversight during the project could cause bigger problems in the long run. For example, if PVC pipe is cut on a rough angle and not adequately smoothed out with sandpaper, one little plastic burr could result in clogged pipes or a leaky pipe that needs to be replaced sooner than necessary. Another common issue homeowners run into when trying to make their own repairs is due to timing - the fast-acting cement glue used to connect PVC pipe is pretty unforgiving, so hesitation before connecting pipes can ruin an entire project. The primer and cement used to fuse PVC is also a strong solvent which can be harmful if breathed in, so proper ventilation is key. There is a lot to consider when weighing your options for DIY plumbing work, so if you absolutely can’t leave it to a professional, push-fittings are a safer option.
While calling in a pro is still certainly the best option whenever you’ve got water-related issues on your property, push-fit pipe fittings have made it easier for people without a specialized plumbing background to make small fixes with relative ease. Not only are these little wonders easy to install without heat or power tools; they also are as secure and strong as traditional welded fittings, and come in all the standard sizes that copper or PVC pipes do. They can typically withstand just as much PSI pressure as their traditional PVC and CPVC cousins, meaning they fit well in most many household plumbing applications. Unlike solder or some PVC cements, push-fittings can be used in areas that can’t be completely dried. They are even reliable enough to seal away inside finished walls and ceilings! With tiny metal barbs inside the fittings, pipes fit snugly one-way and can’t slip out of place. Beyond the metal teeth is a rubber o-ring that forms a watertight seal against the pipe, preventing any leaks. It’s truly impressive how the ingenuity of simple physics has done away with decades of messing with power tools and harsh chemicals!
These little appliances have plenty of advantages, but there are some things to be wary of if you’re trying them at home. Because of the way the fittings are built, you cannot dry-fit to test angles or sizes before you make the final connection. Once you push the pipe into the fitting, it’s stuck that way! The only way to disconnect pipe from a push-fitting after it’s been secured is to cut the pipe off, so be sure you’ve already measured and double-checked the joint before you push the pipe into the fitting. Another key take-away from working with push fitting involves ensuring proper joint seals. While the rubber o-ring at the end of the fitting is secure against water, even a small amount of debris around the outside of a pipe can compromise the integrity of the watertight seal and cause leaks. So, always be sure that the pipes you’re using with push fittings are clean and free of any imperfections on the surface that will be meeting with the rubber seal.
If you fancy yourself a novice plumber, don’t be afraid to give push-fittings a try for your next DIY project. But if you find yourself standing in a puddle after the fact, call up Aqua Wolf Plumbing, and we’ll set things right!