How to install a compression fitting on plastic tubing

You might want to install a new water pipe and wonder how you can connect two pieces of pipe. Compression fittings are often used for this as you just need a wrench for this. Let’s go over this and see how you can install the compression fitting so that you can have a pipe that doesn’t leak.

What is compression fitting?

Plastic tubing is often used for water pipes. Connecting plastic tubes has to happen in the correct way to avoid leaks.

 This is why compression fittings have been introduced. A fitting is a piece that is wider than the plastic pipes. It goes over the pipes and connects them. 

These are a lot easier to install and allow plumbers to work faster. Furthermore, you can do it with very few instructions.

Compression fittings are cheap and you can reinstall them if you made a mistake.

Here is how to install a compression fitting on plastic tubing:

You have to take the length of the fitting into consideration when you measure the pipe. The fitting has to slide deep enough over the pipe so that you don’t have a leak! 

Drawing a line on your pipes can help you to know where you have to install the fitting. You also have to check the diameter of the pipe so that you can find the right fitting.

-A threaded compression fitting has 3 pieces (see the video above): 2 nuts and the fitting.

Prepare your pipe by cutting it properly. There are tools on the market to make this easy. Make sure to cut straight and avoid damaging the pipe. Use the calibration tool to make the pipe round again.

Once this is done, you simply slide the two pieces of the compression fitting over the pipe and use two wrenches to tighten the nuts. Once this is done, you can add the second nut and tighten this one as well. 

It can be challenging to know how much you have to tighten them. Don’t overtighten the nuts as they can break.

Check if everything has been installed properly and that the pipe is completely inside the fitting.

Once you have installed the compression fitting, you can let some water flow through the fitting to test it. There are special devices that allow you to increase the pressure of the water. Plumbers use these to test new installations.

Make sure to add enough support for the water pipes. They can move around if you don’t add enough wall clamps.

This installation process is quite straightforward just avoid the following mistakes:

-Get the right compression fittings for your pipes. They have to be wide and long enough.

-Make sure that you install the fitting completely over the plastic pipe. If you don’t do this, the fitting can slide off the pipe once water pressure is added.

-Don’t overtighten or under-tighten the nuts. 

-Test the installation before you cover the pipes with drywall.

To conclude, we can state that installing a compression fitting is quite easy to do. These fittings are great as they are strong and cheap but still easy to install. Even if you have made a mistake, it is possible to remove the fitting and start over again.

Just make sure that you check if the fitting has been installed correctly. Adding water pressure with a special tool can help you with this. It is important to avoid leaks and cracks in the pipe. 

Alternative options: slide-on or push-to-connect fitting

Recently push-on connections such as Sharkbite have been introduced. These make it easy and fast to connect copper pipes. You just have to slide the pipes in the fitting.

Make sure that the pipes are clean and that no residue is found inside of them before using the fitting. Once this is done, simply slide the fitting in place.

Some of these fittings provide an indication if they are properly installed. This makes them even easier to install than the compression fittings as you don’t need tools and you get a visual verification that everything is properly installed. 

Some plumbers don’t like this type of fitting as they argue that it is less strong. While this is true, they can be a quick and easy way to repair a broken pipe. If you want to use this system behind walls and under floors is up to you. Read the instructions carefully before you start and check your local plumbing code to see what is possible. 

Push-on fittings can be more expensive than compression fittings. They are also newer so we don’t have a lot of data on how long they last. Compression fittings have been around longer and have proven their durability.

The cost of a Sharkbite fitting will vary depending on the size. They typically run from $2 to $8, with the average costing about $4. It is important that you check if the connection is being made and test the fitting. 

To conclude, we can state that installing compression fittings is quite easy. These fittings allow you to connect plastic pipes without the need for a lot of expertise or advanced tools. It is important that you test the installation though. 

These fittings can be used for water pipes for your fridge, garden, or even house. They are very durable and easy to replace. Installing them can be somewhat challenging as you have to find the right way to tighten the nut. If you overtighten it, you can break the plastic pipe. If you don’t tighten it enough, the fitting can slide off the plastic pipe and this can lead to leaks.