About Copper Fittings
Copper pipe fittings have a variety of applications ranging from hot and cold water plumbing to hydronic heating and many others, in residential, commercial and industrial settings.
Types of connections in copper plumbing fittings Male sweat, Street and "Ftg"
- all refer to a connection equal in size to a copper pipe. If a copper sweat fitting has any of the above in its description, it can be soldered inside a regular female sweat copper fitting.
Female sweat, SWT and "C"
refer to a copper female sweat connection. A female sweat fitting accepts the equivalent of the copper pipe, which is "Street", "Ftg" or male sweat.
Male or Female NPT (MNPT or FNPT), MIP or FIP threaded
are often simply referred to as Male or Female threaded and indicate that a copper pipe fitting has external (MNPT) or internal (FNPT) threads and can be connected to an equally threaded fitting or pipe respectively.
Copper fitting types Elbows
are used when installer needs to make a sharp turn, create an offset, go around an obstacle or stub out of the wall or floor. Copper elbows come in 90-degree and 45-degree options with the former being the most popular. Copper street elbows have a regular female sweat connection on one side and a "street" (or male sweat) on the other.
are designed to join two equal or unequal copper pipes together. Standard type copper couplings have an internal stop (dimple or rolled) to prevent the pipe from sliding past the center of the fitting. Slip couplings do not have a stop and can freely slide over the pipe.
separate the flow through the main water pipe into (2) smaller or equally sized pipes. The top (middle) of the copper tee can be used to branch off the existing line to a fixture or to connect a drain valve, expansion tank, control, etc.
are installed over the ends of the copper pipe either temporary - for pressure testing purposes, or permanently - to cap off the existing line.
allow for easy transition between threaded pipes and fittings and copper plumbing fittings. They are either male or female threaded and can be regular sweat type or "street" (male sweat).
The term equal fitting
indicates that all inlets and outlets of the fitting are the same size and provides a more intuitively simple description of the product. In plumbing, the word "equal" is commonly omitted and if the product description says 1/2" Copper Tee, it means that it's a 1/2" C x 1/2" C x 1/2" C equal tee.
The term reducer or reducing fitting
is used to describe a copper fitting which helps to transition between a larger and a smaller diameter pipes (or fittings). For example, a 1" x 3/4" reducing coupling allows to reduce from 1" copper pipe size down to 3/4".
Copper fitting is connected to a copper pipe using soldering method. Materials needed to solder the pipe and fitting together are:
- Pipe cutter - cuts the copper tubing to a desired length.
- Deburrer (optional) - most modern pipe cutters have a built-in deburring blade.
- Wire brush - cleans the inside of the fitting and removes a thin oxide layer, exposing bare, shiny copper.
- Abrasive mesh cloth or sanding paper (fine to medium coarseness) or abrasive mesh cloth (specially made for copper pipes) - to clean the exterior of the pipe.
- Flux (soldering paste) - chemical compound used prevent the copper from oxidizing during soldering and remove any fat residues from pipe/fitting surface.
- Solder - use only lead-free solder for potable water lines or regular for heating-only applications.
- Propane or butane torch and a striker - the later can be be built into the torch on some models.
Copper fittings cross reference by manufacturer:
Frequently asked questions:
Q: What does "C" and "FTG" mean?
A: "C" refers to female sweat connection in copper fittings, while "FTG" refers to male sweat connection. For example, a 1/2" C x 3/4" MPT (Male Threaded) fitting would have a 1/2" female sweat connection on one side and 3/4" male threads on the other. Similarly, a 3/4" C x 3/4" FTG elbow would have female sweat connection on one side and male sweat on the other.
Q: What type of fittings are these?
A: They are called "wrot (wrought) copper fittings".
Q: Are these fittings compatible with copper pipe and fittings from my local plumbing supply or a home improvement store?
A: Yes. They are also manufactured to the same dimensional standards using the same (or better) copper allow and have the necessary NSF certification for use in drinking water systems - residential or commercial.