At home plumbing repairs can seem intimidating, especially when they involve joining or repairing a pipe. Push-Fit fittings, also known as Push-to-Connect fittings are east-to-install pneumatic accessories that work by pushing the tubing in to engage it—it’s like putting a cap lid on.
Pneumatic fittings are used for valves, control panels and a large variety of other domestic and industrial applications.
The basic of Push-Fit Fittings
Push-fit fittings are generally designed to be used with rigid copper, PEX and CPVC water pipes. Some small air fittings also work with polyethylene and other plastic tubing used in water filters, aquariums and ice makers. However, push fit air fittings usually can’t be used with flexible copper tubing and galvanized steel pipes.
There’s a large variety of push-fit fittings in the market; in fact, you can find air fittings for every kind of water-supply fitting in the house, including unions, tees, elbows, shut-off valves and hookup hoses for water heaters.
Majority of the plumbing codes permit these fittings inside ceiling and wall cavities, while some allow push-fit fittings to be buried in the ground after they’ve been wrapped in protective tape. So, if you’re planning to use push-fit fittings for large projects, make sure to check the usage restrictions with your area’s building department.
How do they work?
Push-fit pneumatic fittings grip the attached pipe with a stainless steel ring that has teeth inside the fitting while the O-ring(s) ensure a watertight seal around the pipe. However, if the edges of the pipe aren’t perfectly round or have dirt on the surface, it’s possible that the O-rings don’t make a tight seal and cause leakage. Similarly, if the pipe isn’t cut in a perfect square, it may not push in evenly inside the fitting. That’s why it’s important to use a tubing cutter to cut the pipe—never use a hacksaw!
How to install a push-fit fitting
Other than using an appropriate tubing cutter for the pipe, also make sure to measure the cut—remember that the attaching pipe will extend around 1 inch inside the fitting.
Next, you’ll have to ream and deburr the end of the copper pipe using a proper reaming-deburring tool to remove the jagged and sharp edges left by the cutter.
Use a deburring-depth gauge tool to indicate the depth of the fitting and then push the pneumatic fitting onto the end of the pipe to attach it.
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