Understanding Compression Pipe Fittings

Pipe fittings piled upPipe fittings have a broad application in plumbing, industrial and electrical systems. They are used to connecting pipes and change their direction. The fittings are carefully chosen to ensure performance, safety and compatibility.

Compression and other stainless steel pipe fittings appear similar but are different. With compression fittings, the sealing is created by force whereas threads and mechanical connections are used for sealing in other fittings. Here are some points to help you further understand compression fittings.

How does a compression fitting work?

A compression fitting consists of a ferrule or inner ring, a connector and a compression nut. When the nut is correctly tightened, the inner ring presses against the pipe with sufficient force to get rid of excess space found in the joints. This inhibits leakage of liquids and gas in the pipe.

Categories of compression fittings

Compression fittings have two basic categories: non-manipulative (type A) and manipulative (type B). Type A fittings are easily installed and need no particular pipe modifications. They are typically used in water connections. Type B fittings, on the other hand, need belling or flaring of the tubing and are usually used in gas lines.

Benefits of compression pipe fittings

One of the main benefits of compression fittings is that they eradicate the need for welding or soldering, making them quick and straightforward to use. They also require no distinct skill for installing and disassembly. Furthermore, they can be taken apart and reconstructed without damaging the connection. Compression fittings can be used in high heat or potentially flammable areas because they are neither soldered nor welded.

Resist the temptation of over-tightening the nut when assembling your fitting as this might damage the inner ring and pipe. Do not tighten the nut further once it stops turning with acceptable force. The fastest way to recognise a compression fitting is to look for a seat inside where the pipe fits. These fittings are however not suitable for use with bent pipes.