Shopping for fittings is kind of like putting a puzzle together. Which one goes here, which one goes there, is that a corner piece? To help you navigate through the different options, we developed a guide, but if you still have questions, give us a call at 866-766-3435. Our experts are always happy to help!
Which Type for Which Pipe?
Are you using Flexible PVC, Kink Free, or Black Vinyl Tubing? Which one you have will depending on which type of attachment point your fitting will need to have.
- Slip: These fittings are smooth inside and out and work with PVC tubing. Most often, the tubing sits inside the fitting, but sometimes it may go over. To create a watertight seal, PVC Cleaner & Cement is used.
- Insert: Also known as barbed, these ones are perfect for Kink Free or Vinyl. They are smooth on the inside and ribbed on the outside to create tight seal. The tubing fits snugly over the fitting and is secured with a Stainless Hose Clamp. When selecting your hose clamps, we recommend getting one size larger than your tubing. This gives you enough wiggle room to secure it over your connection.
- Threaded: These fittings are a bit different since they do not attach direct to tubing. Instead, this type screws together with a female pipe thread (FPT) fitting sitting atop a male pipe thread (MPT). A good example of this type of fitting is on a pop bottle, where the cap has a FPT and the bottle has a MPT. Because these types of fittings do not require PVC glue or hose clamps, it is an easy way to connect your plumbing to your pump or other equipment.
Fitting Options to Fit Your Needs
With so many different options to choose from, you are sure to find what you need to plumb your feature. To help with your shopping, fittings are labeled according to which types of attachments are on the end (e.g., Slip x Slip or Insert x MTP).
- Coupler: Couplers have the same size and style of fitting attachment at each end so they can join two pieces of tubing, two MTP fittings or two FPT fittings together. A Rubber Coupler can be used to provide a quick disconnect for PVC tubing; however, the connection may not be as sturdy as using slip fittings and PVC glue.
- Adapters: An adapter has a threaded side and the other is a slip or insert fitting. These are great for attaching your tubing to your equipment or creating a quick disconnect in your tubing.
- Reducers: These fittings will allow you to change between sizes of tubing or fittings. For example, if you are connecting a 2" PVC tubing to a 1" male thread, you will want to use the Reducer Bushing (Slip x FPT) in the 2 – 1 size. You know this is the one you need because the "Slip" attachment and "2" are listed on the left, whereas the "FPT" and "1" are on the right.
- Step-Down Fitting: Step-down fittings have tapered insert fittings allowing you to connect vinyl or kink free tubing. To maximize flow efficiency, cut off the step that is immediately before the diameter size you need. Step-down fittings are found on equipment such as the SolidFlo Pumps, AllClear Pressurized Filters, and PowerUV Clarifiers.
- Check Valve: Designed to keep water moving in one direction – towards your waterfall! This will prevent water from backing into your pump and causing damage.
- Bulk Head: These create a leak proof seal on liners, tanks, drains, waterfall boxes, etc. Simply thread the two sections together to lock the bulk head in place.
- PVC Union: This is another way to create a quick disconnect in your plumbing. The benefit to this option is that you can attach two pieces of PVC tubing without using a threaded adapter.
- Ball Valve: Used to reduce the water coming over your feature if the flow rate is a bit higher than you would like. Use cation if you add a ball valve as reducing the flow rate can put extra back pressure on your pump. The best option is to size a pump that best fits your feature. If you are in the market for a pump, check out this article on sizing pumps or call our experts for some suggestions.
- 90° Elbow: If you have tight corners that your flexible tubing cannot make, then an elbow may be needed. Elbows can reduce the flow rate since the water loses energy as it makes the turn, so you'll want to limit use if possible.
- Tee: Great for branching your tubing into two lines. Just keep in mind that you will be adding 90° turns with this fitting.