What Are Compression Fittings in Plumbing?


Compression fittings are a kind of fitting used in plumbing. They can be used to join two thin-walled pipes. Compression fittings can also be used to join plumbing fixtures such as faucets, drains, and heaters with pipes.

Fixtures can also be connected to valves, which are used to direct the flow and pressure of water, using compression fittings.

Compression fittings can be used in any plumbing setup in the bathroom or kitchen where solder joints are not possible. Compression fittings are commonly used in hot and cold water faucets, dishwashers and refrigerator connections, bathroom sinks, and so on.

How Does a Compression Fitting Work?

Compression fittings have three main parts. On one side, the pipe that is being fitted is slid into a nut-like structure. The nut is fitted into a ring-like structure. On the other side of the fitting is a seating or receiving end into which the ring is fitted.

Thus when a compression fitting is installed, the nut is tightened from one side. This puts pressure on the ring-like structure, which gets compressed and tightly fitted into the receiver, forming a water-tight connection.

Compression fittings can be made of different materials, such as plastic, copper, and brass. The type of compression fitting that one uses depends on the material of the fixtures or pipes being joined and the water pressure expected in this connection.

What Is a Compression Fitting Used For?

Compression fittings offer a number of advantages because of which they are preferred over soldered joints in certain contexts.

One of the significant contexts in which compression fittings offer a clear advantage over soldered joints is in those plumbing systems with confined or compact spaces.

It can be challenging to create a soldered joint in such spaces as it may be a fire hazard or damage the existing plumbing system. A compression fitting allows a safe and convenient way to create the fitting in such parts of the system.

Compression fittings are reasonably simple to install and one does not need any professional plumbing experience to do so. As a result, compression fittings are majorly preferred in do-it-yourself appliances and plumbing systems.

Besides ease of assembly, compression fittings also offer ease of removal and disassembling. This is perhaps the most significant advantage that compression fittings offer.

As a result, this type of fitting is used in appliances and plumbing scenarios that require regular maintenance and disassembly due to daily wear and tear, such as kitchen appliances, bathroom sinks, etc.

Compression fittings are also used for hydraulic appliances in industrial settings due to their ease of disassembly.

Do Compression Fittings Fail?

Compression fittings have their disadvantages which makes them likely to fail and leak in certain contexts.

Firstly, compression fittings cannot be used in any plumbing setting that is not entirely static. The slightest bit of movement can lead to the parts of the compression fitting loosening up and the connection becoming a leak.

For instance, the connections to a fridge can often get pushed up against the wall behind the refrigerator if not appropriately placed, and the regular movement can lead to the compression fitting loosening up.

Compression fittings are also not suitable for joining pipes to increase their length in the middle of the plumbing system, as the daily wear and tear will soon lead to the connection becoming loose.

How Do I Stop My Compression Fitting From Leaking?

To avoid leaks in compression fitting, it is essential to follow some simple guidelines during the installation process.

One has to choose the suitable material for the compression fitting based on the water pressure and the material of the fixtures.

Before installation, one has to take care that the compression fitting components are well lubricated. It is important not to overtighten the compression fitting during installation.

Many leaks in compression fittings can be fixed by loosening the fitting and then tightening them more than before. If this does not work, then the fitting needs to be replaced.

Bottom Line

Compression fittings are fittings used in plumbing setups that require easy assembly and disassembly or where soldering is not possible due to lack of space.

Though they are easy and convenient to use, they are not suited for connections that experience frequent movement, as regularly moving the compression fitting can lead to leaks.

In case of a leak, the compression fitting can be fixed by loosening it and then tightening it more than before. Otherwise, the compression fitting needs to be replaced.

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