Push fit pipe fittings are a type of plumbing fitting that are designed to be easily installed without the need for special tools. They are also known as push-to-connect fittings, quick connect fittings, or SharkBite fittings. Push fit fittings are commonly used in residential and commercial plumbing systems to connect pipes together, and they are often used as an alternative to soldering or threading.
In this article, we will discuss push fit pipe fittings in detail, including their design, how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and whether or not they require special tools for installation.
Push fit pipe fittings are made up of several components that work together to create a watertight seal between pipes. The most common types of push fit fittings are made from brass or plastic, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate different types of pipes and applications.
The main components of a push fit fitting include the following:
Body - The body of a push fit fitting is the main component that connects to the pipe. It is usually made from brass or plastic and has a tapered end that fits inside the pipe.
O-ring - The O-ring is a small rubber ring that sits inside the body of the fitting. It helps to create a watertight seal between the fitting and the pipe.
Collet - The collet is a small ring that sits inside the body of the fitting and is responsible for holding the pipe in place. It has several teeth that grip onto the pipe when the fitting is pushed onto it.
Release collar - The release collar is a small ring that sits on the outside of the fitting body and is used to remove the fitting from the pipe. When the collar is pushed down, it releases the teeth on the collet and allows the fitting to be removed from the pipe.
Push fit pipe fittings work by using a combination of mechanical pressure and O-ring compression to create a watertight seal between pipes. When the fitting is pushed onto the pipe, the tapered end of the fitting compresses the O-ring against the inside of the pipe, creating a seal.
At the same time, the collet inside the fitting grips onto the pipe and holds it in place. This creates a secure connection between the two pipes that can withstand high water pressure and temperature.
To remove a push fit fitting from a pipe, the release collar is pushed down, which releases the teeth on the collet. The fitting can then be easily removed from the pipe by pulling it off.
There are several advantages to using push fit pipe fittings, including the following:
Easy to install - Push fit fittings are very easy to install and do not require any special tools or equipment. This makes them a popular choice for DIY plumbing projects and for professional plumbers who want to save time and labor costs.
No need for soldering or threading - Push fit fittings do not require soldering or threading, which can be time-consuming and messy. This also eliminates the risk of fire hazards and toxic fumes that can be associated with soldering.
Watertight seal - Push fit fittings create a watertight seal between pipes that is reliable and long-lasting. This reduces the risk of leaks and water damage, which can be costly and time-consuming to repair.
Reusable - Push fit fittings can be easily removed and reused if necessary, which can be useful for plumbing projects where changes or modifications may be needed.
Compatible with different types of pipes - Push fit fittings are compatible with a wide range of pipe materials, including copper, PEX, PVC, and CPVC. This makes them a versatile option for many different plumbing applications.
Quick installation - Push fit fittings can be installed quickly, which can be useful for plumbing projects that need to be completed in a short amount of time. This is because there is no need to wait for the fitting to cool down after soldering or threading.
No special skills required - Push fit fittings can be installed by anyone, regardless of their plumbing skills or experience. This makes them accessible to homeowners and DIY enthusiasts who want to tackle plumbing projects on their own.
No risk of damage to pipes - Push fit fittings do not require any heat or force to install, which reduces the risk of damaging the pipes. This is particularly important for fragile pipes, such as those made from PEX or PVC.
Space-saving design - Push fit fittings have a compact design that allows them to be used in tight spaces where traditional fittings may not fit. This can be useful for plumbing projects where space is limited.
Cost-effective - Push fit fittings are often more cost-effective than traditional fittings because they require less labor and do not require any special tools or equipment. This can be particularly beneficial for large plumbing projects that require a large number of fittings.
While push fit pipe fittings have many advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider. These include the following:
Not suitable for high-temperature applications - Push fit fittings are not suitable for high-temperature applications, as the O-ring may degrade over time and cause leaks. This means that they are not recommended for use in hot water systems or steam pipes.
May not be suitable for high-pressure applications - Push fit fittings may not be suitable for high-pressure applications, as the teeth on the collet may become worn or damaged over time. This can cause the fitting to loosen and lead to leaks.
Limited range of sizes - Push fit fittings may have a limited range of sizes available, which can make it difficult to find fittings that are compatible with non-standard pipes or fittings.
May require additional support - Push fit fittings may require additional support, such as brackets or clips, to prevent them from becoming dislodged or damaged over time.
May not be suitable for all types of pipes - Push fit fittings may not be suitable for all types of pipes, such as those made from galvanized steel or cast iron. This is because these types of pipes may have a rough or uneven surface that can prevent the fitting from creating a watertight seal.
Push fit pipe fittings do not require any special tools for installation. They are designed to be easily installed by hand, without the need for any soldering or threading equipment.
To install a push fit fitting, simply follow these steps:
Cut the pipe to the desired length, ensuring that it is clean and free from debris.
Insert the pipe into the fitting until it reaches the stop. The stop is the mark on the fitting that indicates how far the pipe should be inserted.