About Copper Press Fittings
Press connection method has revolutionized the copper pipe installation by replacing traditional cleaning, fluxing and soldering with a quick and easy 1-step process. This process utilizes a press tool with interchangeable heads which compresses the press fitting (with integral O-ring) over the pipe, creating a leak-free connection. The primary advantages of the copper press method are tremendous savings in labor and time required to make a connection, especially on larger sizes. This system was initially pioneered by Viega (ProPress) and now available from brands such as Apollo (XPress), Nibco and others.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is the difference between Apollo Xpress, Viega ProPress and Nibco Press copper fittings?
A: In general, all three are interchangeable and have no significant differences besides some variations in individual fitting specifications.
Q: What kind of copper pipes are press fittings compatible with?
A: They are compatible with US standard K, L and M type copper pipes, both hard (drawn) and soft (annealed), made to ASTM B88 standard.
Q: Do Apollo XPress fittings leak during the pressure test if they are not pressed (i.e. connection is not complete)?
A: Yes, the Leak-Before-Press feature ensures that the fitting will leak during the air or water pressure test if not pressed. This feature not only offers peace of mind for the installer, but allows to repair an unpressed connection on the stop, without having to drain the entire system.
Q: Are O-rings inside the fittings lubricated?
A: Yes, they are lubricated with food-safe silicone oil. Keep in mind that if it’s necessary to lubricate the fittings in the field, use only clean water. Do not use any lubricants (especially petroleum-based) as they are likely to cause seal deterioration.
Q: Are there any special considerations when installing copper press fittings?
A: To ensure a proper seal, there must be a minimal spacing between the press connections on larger pipe/fitting sizes (min. spacing of 1/2" for 1-1/4" pipe; 5/8" for 1-1/2" pipe and 3/4" for 2" pipe). The outer surface of the copper pipe end must also be free from sharp edges which can damage the O-ring and compromise the seal.
Q: Can press fittings be soldered?
Q: How to make a press connection in a confined space?
A: It is advisable to pre-fabricate such connections and install afterwards.
Q: Can you rotate a press connection?
A: We recommend against this practice since it may require re-pressing the fitting and may compromise the connection.
Q: Should copper pipe be reamed for a press connection?
A: While it is not mandatory, it is always recommended to ream the copper pipe to reduce turbulence. Reaming inside the pipe reduces wear of the system, while reaming the outside will ensure that the pipe will not damage the EPDM O-ring. When using chop saw to cut the pipe, reaming is required on both inside and outside.
Q: What is the life expectancy of a press connection?
A: Apollo warranties XPress connections for a period of 50 years.