Types of Copper Fittings

Written by timothy sexton
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Types of Copper Fittings
Many different types of copper fittings are available. (plumbing image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from Fotolia.com)

The array of dimensions involved in the process can make fitting copper pipe into the right fitting a cause for great frustration. The size of a plumbing pipe refers to its nominal size, but the frustrating part of this is that the nominal size is neither the pipe's outside diameter nor its inside diameter. The nominal size is always the outside diameter plus 1/8 inch. This means you have to buy fittings based on knowing this calculation to avoid a return trip to the store.

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Sanitary Tees

The sanitary tee as well as the sanitary tee with side inlet fittings are used to join straight pipes with a branch entering at 90 degrees. A steel pipe adaptor can be used to join copper pipe to steel pipe while the cast iron adaptor allows copper pipe to be joined to cast iron pipe.

Closet Bend

A closet bend refers to the fitting located between the closet flange and sewer lines running from the toilet. This fitting is used to fasten the toilet bowl to the floor. A closet flange is fitted to the closet bend.


A Y-branch is used for connecting pipes that enter at an angle to a straight pipe. A street elbow fitting is usually threaded internally at one end and externally at the other end. This allows pipes to join at connecting angles with a serviceable curvature large enough to eliminate potential clogs.

Cleanout, Coupling and Slip Coupling Fittings

A cleanout fitting can be placed at the end or the bend of a pipe. This fitting allows you to get easier access to the inside of the pipe. A coupling fitting joins two same sized pipes together for a straight run. A slip coupling joins two pipes of different sizes in a straight run.

Drum Trap

A drum trap can be connected to the bathtub drain at the bottom of the fitting. The side inlet will then be attached to a drainage pipe.

1/8th or 1/4th Bend

A bend of either 1/8 inch or ¼ inch can be used similarly to a street elbow fitting. The difference between these bended fittings and the street elbow fitting is that the bend will not have threaded ends.

Flare Fittings

Copper tube flare fittings allow a joint to be made by flaring one end of a tube while placing a fitting on the flared end. Flared fittings can include male and female adaptors, an elbow fitting, union fitting and tee fitting.

Sweat Type Fittings

Copper tube sweat type fittings require soldering to be secured. A capillary action takes place when the soldering paste is heated to form a seal. Among the sweat type fittings are cap, tee, coupling, elbow and male and female copper-to-steel adaptors.

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