Knowing what to ask for when you head the Home Depot or the Lowes or-even better-a locally owned and operated hardware can put directly on the path to self-righteousness. Not that kind that owned and operated by hypocritical ministers, priests and reverends, but the self-righteousness that comes with accomplished a heretofore difficult task so very easily. Pipe fittings are numerous and complex and you can get a headache the size of Glenn Beck’s ignorance if you have to keep heading back to the Home Depot or the Lowes or the local hardware store because you were too confused to get what you really need the first or second time.
Couplings: Couplings are pipe fittings that serve to join two straight pieces of pipe. You can make the transition from a bigger pipe to a smaller pipe by using reducers. Know what it means when you are faced with the choice of a coupling with a stop, coupling without stop and reducing coupling and you will be able to do the easiest pipe repair all by your own bad self.
Elbows: A classic episode of King of the Hill finds Texas conservative (I know; it’s an oxymoron) Hank Hill face to face with a Mega-Lo-Mart (read: Wal-Mart) employee who insists that all pipes are straight. Hank Hill responds by telling the clueless employee to look behind him at the ell-pipes that do, in fact, bend. Bend pipe fittings include the full scale 90-degree as well as the 45-degree.
Caps and Plugs: Caps and plugs are what you use when you decide you don’t want water pouring forth. You cut through the pipe at the end of its run and adhere a cap or plug that stops the water flow.
Tees: The pipe fitting know as a tee is so-called because its shape resembles the latter T. Tees area available in straight fittings as well as reducing fittings.
Nipples: Seriously. Yes, there is a pipe fitting that you will cause you to have to say the word nipple in the hardware section. Fortunately, that’s much better than saying it in the electronics section. Nipples are a type of pipe fitting that are less than a foot long and threaded at both ends.
Unions: Unions are pipe fittings that allow disassembly of threaded pipes. Unions are typically used for repairing appliances like a water heater.
DWV Fittings: Drain-waste vents is what the letters stand for. Most of these types of fittings are designed to look differently than water pipe fittings. Because drain water doesn’t get the advantage of home water pressure pushing it along, the pipes are designed with Newton in mind: gravity will take care of it all. These pipes feature curves as gentle as an afternoon drive through the English countryside so that the waste continually moves away from your house and toward, well, you know.
Bends: Bends are like elbow joints for DWV pipes. That is to say that bends are used to change the direction of the flow of drain water. The smallest type of bend will redirect the flow just 1/16 of 360-degrees. Other sizes bends include 1/6, 1/5, and 1/ are like elbow joints for DWV pipes. That is to say that bends are used to change the direction of the flow of drain water. The smallest type of bend will redirect the flow just 1/16 of 360-degrees. Other sizes bends include 1/6, 1/5, and ¼.