Should You Be Using Copper Compression Fittings?

Copper piping is very popular for plumbing, because of copper’s resistance to corrosion. When you are fixing, changing or rearranging copper pipe, you can cut the existing pipe and solder it together. Soldering, or sweating, copper pipe is the best way to connect two pipes together, or to connect pipes to fittings, because the seal is permanent and strong. However, if the area you are trying to fit together needs to be removable, you should choose copper compression fittings.

If you have an appliance you might want to remove in another five or ten years, copper fittings are the way to go. For example, sinks, dishwashers, toilets, and even refrigerators are all potentially stylish items that will need to switched out when you are remodeling and updating your home. Copper compression fittings allow for easier removal and installation of appliances.

Copper fittings utilize pressure to hold two separate pieces together. If installed properly, it will seal the seam and it will not leak. They come in many different varieties and have many different sizes and uses. There is a one used specifically for flexible, or “soft” temper copper piping, called a flare fitting. This allows you to apply pressure to the malleable soft temper piping without kinking or damaging it.

They are comprised of three parts: the compression nut, the compression ring, and the compression seat. These come together in much the same way a bottle cap is screwed on; the threaded compression seat links to the threaded compression nut and twists closed.

It is important when using copper fittings not to tighten them too much; overbearing pressure can damage the fitting or bend the pipe, making them unusable or leaky. Compression fittings are single-use only; once attached to a pipe, it is usually attached for good. If improperly installed, you must cut the piping around the fitting to remove it and purchase a new copper compression fitting.