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Plumbing Push-In Fittings and Connectors

Plumbing Has Evolved from Steel to PVC to PEX Tubing

© 2011 by Kelly R. Smith

Photo of Kelly R. Smith

Copper Pipe for Plumbing

Plumbing push-in fittings and connectors

This article was updated on 06/06/21.

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Have you ever had a water leak at a convenient time? Probably not; in my experience it’s when nobody’s home, you’re home but snoozing, or you’ve got guests or God forbid, winter time frozen . Murphy's Law a its finest.

Regardless, making a phone call to your local professional plumbing serviceman is not going to result in an inexpensive day. He’ll charge for the estimate, for the repair, and probably because it is an emergency.

In the best case scenario you find yourself in the middle of a renovation project. This gives you the perfect opportunity to upgrade your plumbing. Traditionally, you would have had to deal with cutting PVC pipe and mating it all together with the messy primer and glue.

Before that, it was leak-prone steel pipe, various couplings, and Teflon tape. By the way, there is no Teflon tape. DuPont owns Teflon® and it is not in plumbing tape. Calling it that is a marketing ploy. Whew knew?

Other traditional plumbing skills are sweating copper pipe and attaching it all with flux, solder, and a propane torch. This is still a great skill to have for making repairs, but the newer PEX tubing is much simpler.

PEX tubing revolutionized plumbing for the homeowner DIY-type, especially when working in close quarters. PEX tubing as far as residential plumbing is concerned is best suited for new construction or makeover projects.

More Innovation: Push-In Plumbing Fittings

These clever fittings are almost too good to be real. They can be used in conjunction with PEX, galvanized steel, copper tubing, CPVC, and PVC. They tend to work properly right out of the gate; no more finding and tightening up leaking joints, which is the bane of traditional pipe fitting.

Installation is astonishingly basic — first measure, then cut, stick together, and you are good to go. There are many top-notch manufacturers of reliable fittings, but they all work on the same basic concepts.

For example, John Guest Speedfit is very popular, as well as Cuprofit, Elkhart, and Hepworth. Whichever brand you go with, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Each might have its own peculiarities; some require a twisting motion.

Keep in mind that it is important to mark your pipe to be sure that you can push the pipe completely into the fitting. Whichever type of pipe you are using on your project, ensure that after you cutting you remove all burrs and rough edges.

An additional advantage using push-in is that a lot of your fittings may be taken apart and reused. As a caveat, always inspect your o-rings and replace any worn or degraded ones. In fact, as long as you are there, it is a good practice to change them all out.

After all, o-rings are cheap. Whenever you connect to PEX tubing, special liners will be needed because this is a soft, not rigid material.

Best Applications for Plumbing Fittings

Typical residential plumbing is not the only place where using these fittings might be beneficial. Other areas of application include recreational vehicles (RVs) and in marine environments, such as boats.

There is more to it than just simple pipe connectors, Push-in shut-off valves, elbows, end caps, and union tees are also available to round out the connection connection.

They’re also becoming more popular on compressed air systems and fluid systems such as residential water filtering systems, reverse osmosis systems, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners, and drink dispensers.

Finally, as with other projects, it will behoove you to reference your local building code and find out if you need to pull a permit. If so, be sure to do so. Some plumbing remodeling jobs will require inspections and a license. But using Plumbing push-in fittings and connectors will always make the job easier, especially on DIY projects.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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