Copper Pipes and Connectors

Plumbing refers to a system of pipes that allows water into and out of a building or a structure. The term itself comes from a Latin term, plumbum, which is commonly known as lead.

Here is a piece of history on plumbing.

The first plumbing systems were installed to get rid of human wastes. In the Indus Valley, which is found in western India and Pakistan, most shelters had assembled drainage for waste disposal by the year 2500 BC. Moreover, a palace on the island of Crete had pipes to supply the dwellers with drinking water by about 2000 BC. The ancient Romans used lead metal for their pipes. In addition, their old systems still have installed iron pipes and older houses have lead pipes for their water and wastes, respectively.

However, present-day plumbing make use of copper pipes for central heating pipe-work and for water feeds. However, the use of modern plastic pipes, brass, and even steel are also slowly taking place.

Why is copper popular in modern plumbing?

Many plumbers and manufacturers have discovered some advantages of copper over lead and iron pipes and these are:

1. Copper costs low as compared to lead and iron.

2. Copper does not corrode relative to iron.

3. Copper is non toxic relative to lead.

4. Copper is easy to work with and relatively soft as compare to both lead and iron.

5. Copper pipes are manufactured in an array of sizes:

a. between 8 and 10 mm – for micro-bore heating systems

b. between 12 and 15 mm – for connections to appliances and individual taps

c. 22 mm, 28mm, and 35 mm – to overcome pressure drop

Moreover, trade outlets may keep stocks between 3 and 4 meters while those DIY or Do-it-yourself outlets may stock sizes between 1.5 and 2 meters.

Below is some information on connectors:

1. Connectors are typically fitted to the size of pipe. The main styles, which cater for needs for pipe-runs are:

a. straight connector

b. connector with 90-degree bend

c. T-shaped connector

Normally, they are made to connect to pipes that have the same sizes or different sizes at each end.

2. Connectors can be made to integrate modern pipes that have sizes in meters to copper pipes that have bigger sizes to outside screw threads such as used on sink taps and/or iron pipes.

The two basic types of connectors used for linking copper pipes are:

a. Compression connectors

These are used as internal rings, which are compressed onto the copper pipe. In addition, end nuts are tightened onto the body of the connector.

These connectors can be reassembled and dismantled easily. Also, if a pipe run is to be dismantled, the end of the pipe can be cut so that the end nut can be removed. Then, the connector can be reused again with a new set of olives.

b.   Solder  connectors

These types of connectors are made to provide a fit that slides into the pipe that is made of copper. To do this, the joint is usually heated. Then the gap between the connector and the pipe is filled with  solder  through capillary action.

There are connectors that assemble a ring made of  solder  into the body, while others are made of  solder  and copper and need to be integrated around the exposed gap after heating the pipes or connectors.

Unlike compression connectors,  solders  are not reusable. They cannot be dismantled and disarranged too.

This article is made to provide you with basic information on copper pipes and connectors. I guess we can leave the plumbing to the plumbers themselves!