Copper pipe fittings are one of the most popular types of fittings that are used, and have been used for several centuries. In today’s guide we shall look in more detail at copper pipe fittings, including advantages, disadvantages, types and where you can find them.

What They’re Used For

Copper pipe fittings have many purposes both in the home, in commercial buildings and various other situations. Some of the most popular purposes for copper pipe fittings include water distribution systems, oxygen systems, chilled water mains, drainage and vent systems, heating systems and non-flammable medical-gas systems.

Types and Sizes

There are various different types and sizes of copper pipe fittings. There are two main types: rigid and flexible which can be divided into various other categories that all come in a range of sizes.

Rigid copper pipe fittings are what are most commonly used when building new homes or buildings. They are much neater in appearance, however are more difficult to install than flexible copper pipe fittings.

Flexible copper pipe fittings are most commonly used for repair work on already installed rigid copper pipe fittings.

There are then different thicknesses of copper pipe fittings: Type M (thin), Type L (medium-thickness) and Type K (thick). The medium-thickness copper pipe fitting is the most commonly used, particularly around the home.

All copper pipe fittings are put into one of three categories – 1 to 3. Category one pipe fittings are used for making bends and turns within pipes, while category two copper pipe fittings are used for joining or branching copper pipes. Finally, category 3 copper pipe fittings are used for couplings, slip couplings and more.

Sizes of copper pipe fittings range from 1/8 inch up to 12 inch diameters.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Copper Pipe Fittings

There are many advantages to copper pipe fittings, as well as disadvantages. Copper has become the most popular type of material to be used in pipe fittings thanks to its huge range of advantages in comparison to other materials.

Copper is very versatile and easy to work with as it has thermal conductivity, is resistant to corrosion and is highly durable. Copper can even be embedded within concrete.

Copper pipe fittings can be produced in a wide range of sizes so it makes it suitable for numerous applications. They are also renowned for their reliability, and consistently stand the test of time.

As we mentioned before, copper pipe fittings are very easy to use and as a result it can lower installation costs as it takes a lot less time to install. Copper pipe fittings can easily be joined using soldering or brazing. Copper is also rigid while at the same time being ductile making it possible to form it into various shapes.

There are however disadvantages to using copper for your pipe fittings. The main disadvantage is that copper is a lot more expensive than other popular options such as steel and plastic. This however is slightly justified for as installation is generally much cheaper.

Copper pipe fittings also do not work well in water with high acidity. Copper piping that is used for plumbing should not be used in areas that the water acidity level exceeds either side of 6.5 to 8.5 pH.

Copper also conducts heat very well, so this can be seen as a disadvantage because they can become very hot to touch especially when used for hot water. Copper pipes are also prone to bursting when subjected to low temperatures.

Frozen burst in watter copper pipe

Where Can You Find Them?

Copper pipe fittings are very easy to get your hands on. The best place to purchase them is from plumbing and heating supply stores. These places will have the widest range available, and can usually offer you made-to-measure copper pipe fittings.

Depending on what types of copper pipe fittings you require you can head to your local hardware store to find them. Most large hardware stores offer a variety of copper pipe fittings to choose from.

Finally, the internet can be a fantastic resource for your copper pipe fitting. There are dozens of websites that sell copper pipe fittings online and usually at a much lower price than if you were to buy them in a store. However, you will need to know what you are looking for prior to shopping online.