As of 2010, the vast majority of homes in America are equipped with natural gas. Natural gas runs through plumbing in our homes to provide heat sources to appliances such as water heaters, ovens, stoves, dryers and heaters. Although all of these appliances can be replaced with electric types, gas is still very common. For do-it-yourself types and professionals alike, the types and sizes of pipe fittings can be confusing.
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Nipples are essentially a length of pipe with male thread on each end. They come in many lengths and sizes. The function of a nipple is to connect any type of fittings that are some distance apart. Nipples exist that are nothing but threads on each end, or they can be 10 feet long. Remember that when you connect a nipple to a female thread, you should always clean the threads first and wrap the thread with yellow Teflon tape, not the white tape. It also does not hurt to put a little pipe dope on the female threads before connection.
As the name implies, angle fittings are used to change the angle of the gas line that you are running. They consist of a very short length of pipe with female threads on each end. They come in many different angle measurements: 22.5, 30, 45, 60 and 90 degrees. When attaching these fittings to nipples or other threaded pipe, it is important to clean the threads and optionally apply a little pipe dope.
Gas valves come in many different varieties. The basic purpose of the valve is to allow or disallow the flow of the gas through the plumbing system. Three examples of gas valves are as follows:
Ball valve--A ball valve is a short segment of pipe with female threads on each end. In the centre of the pipe is a nylon ball with a hole through it in one direction. A handle attached to the nylon ball allows users to turn the ball to allow the flow of gas or to stop it with only a quarter turn.
Screw Valve -- A screw valve is typically used in water plumbing because it can handle much higher pressure, but can also be used in gas plumbing. It also is female threaded on each end and has an internal hole to allow gas to flow through. A screw handle on top of the valve allows users to lower a stopper into the hole, effectively sealing off the gas flow.
A reduction fitting allows one size pipe to be connected to a smaller pipe. These types of fittings will be used to connect a main gas line to something like a gas fireplace.
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