How to use push fittings

Updated February 21, 2017

Push fittings make connections in household plumbing water pipes very quickly with no soldering. Fittings for copper and plastic are available and some brands do not require tools for installation or removal. Copper push fittings can be used on either types of pipe, although tools are required to secure and remove them. Sturdy and watertight connections are made simply and quickly with fittings that enable disconnecting the joints just as easily.

Cut plastic PVC pipes with a ratcheted PVC pipe cutting tool, and copper pipes with a pipe slice for smooth cuts. Pipes cut with a hacksaw have frayed burrs on the ends that break down the rubber rings inside push fittings.

Push a PVC pipe insert into both ends of plastic pipe that will be joined. These inserts add rigid stiffness to joined sections. Copper pipes are sturdy enough to not need any inserts.

Hold a plastic push fitting against one pipe so that the end of the pipe is even with the inside end of the locking sleeve on that side of the fitting. Mark the pipe with a pen at the collar on the outside end of the fitting. This shows how far the pipe will push into the fitting. Mark the other connecting pipe in the same way.

Loosen the twist sleeve locks on plastic push fittings by turning them counterclockwise by hand. Push the pipes into the fittings as far as possible, one at a time. Be sure the marks on the pipes are even with the ends of the fitting. Turn the locks firmly clockwise to tighten them.

Loosen copper push fitting locks by hand or use an adjustable wrench. The lock sleeves come all the way off of copper push fittings. Place a lock sleeve on both ends of pipe to be joined.

Slip a collar ring over both pipe ends. Use brass collar rings on plastic pipe, and copper rings for copper pipe. Hold the centre of the push fitting against the end of one pipe and push the lock toward the centre. Twist the lock on by hand. Hold the other pipe end against the other side of the centre, push the lock toward it and twist it on. Grip the nut edges on the centre with adjustable pliers and twist each lock on firmly with an adjustable wrench.

Remove a plastic fitting by twisting the locks open with counterclockwise turns. Push the outer collar toward the centre of the fitting as you pull the pipe out. Remove copper fittings by holding the centres with adjustable pliers and twisting off the locks with an adjustable wrench.

Things You'll Need

  • Copper pipe slice tool
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • PVC pipe inserts
  • Adjustable pliers
  • Adjustable wrench
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About the Author

Jonra Springs began writing in 1989. He writes fiction for children and adults and draws on experiences in education, insurance, construction, aviation mechanics and entertainment to create content for various websites. Springs studied liberal arts and computer science at the College of Charleston and Trident Technical College.