Copper Pipe and Fittings, Types of copper pipe and fittings

Copper Pipe and Fittings speaks to types of copper pipes and fittings and why use copper pipes and fittings.

Copper is an all metal pipe that come in two basic types, rigid known as hard or stick copper or rolled, also called soft pipe.

For most new residential plumbing, most plumbers use rigid copper. For remodel plumbing, with a lot of existing framing in the way, you might consider soft copper, but only if local plumbing codes won’t allow CPVC or PEX pipe. Soft copper will kink very easily as you unroll or bend it to fit a corner. The biggest use of soft copper is in HVAC systems.

Copper Grades for Copper Pipe and Fittings

Copper pipe comes in different thickness for different uses. Over time, copper dissolves from the inside out, and as it does it creates pinholes. The thickest copper will last longest before it springs a leak. Copper thickness grade are indicated by different coloured lettering on the side of the pipe.

Red lettering designates the pipe as type M, the thinnest and most common grade in residential use.

Blue lettering is designated as type L, and indicates a medium grase or thickness and is more expensive.

Green lettering designates the pipe and is the most thick of pipe and is the most expensive and is not used in residential plumbing.

Copper Sweat Fittings for Copper Pipe and Fittings

Fittings orient a pipe in the direction you want it to go, and for copper pipe they come in two types. Sweat fittings both in copper and brass and push on fittings.

Sweat fittings attach to pipe using the old tried and true methods of solder, flux and flame.

Push on fittings grab the exterior of the pipe and eliminate the time and effort sweating requires.

The most common types of copper sweat valves are gate valves, boiler drain valves, ball valves and ball valve with side drain valve.

Copper fittings come full sized or as reducers used when you need to change the diameter of a supply pipe.

T-fittings divert the flow of water at right angles to its flow and are used to run water from one line to another or to a fixture.

For sweating copper together with copper, use common couplings or unions. Some sweat fittings can be made only in brass, such as fittings with drains, street fittings, in-line threaded taps and drop –ear elbows.

Both 90 degree and 45 degree angle fittings change the in line direction of water flow.

How To Size Water Lines Copper Pipes and Fittings

Make the main line from the municipal supply to the house 1 inch. Don’t reduce to ¾ until after the main turnoff valve which must be a full flow ball valve.

Make all lines in the house ¾ inch except those running to a single fixture which can be ½ inch.

For each additional full bath, run ¾ inch line from the main cut-off ball valve and control it with a full size ball valve. For hot water at the additional full bath, run a separate ¾ inch line for it from the water heater.

If a second full bath is at a remote location from the first full bath, consider adding a separate water heater at its location to shorten the run of the hot water line. You can do the same for the kitchen at a remote location.

Local code requirements may vary and it is suggested you always check your local codes.

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