What are Compression Fittings?
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What are Compression Fittings?

Even if you aren’t quite sure what they are, there is a pretty good chance that you have come across compression fittings before. For the most part, they are used by plumbers to join smaller flow diameter tubes and pipes together. They can also be used for things like temperature probes.

Knowing more about these versatile adapter fittings will make them even more valuable. They come in a huge array of sizes and designs meant to fit a spectrum of uses. Read on below to find out more about compression fittings and how they are used.

How Does a Compression Fitting Work?

Tightening compression fittings are very simple to use. Even better, they are quite simple to understand at a basic level, making them the kind of accessory that virtually anyone can use. Basically, a compression fitting, whether used for plumbing or technological purposes, has three parts. There is the tapered nut with threading, the tapered insert (or the body), and the slim brass ring known as the ‘ferrule’ or ‘olive.’

When the night starts to be tightened, the olive then gets compressed between the fitting and the nut. The result is that the olive ring starts to compress over the pipe or accessory’s outer diameter. This creates a tight seal, ensuring that the fitting remains secure.

What are Compression Fittings Used for?

Because there are different kinds of compression fittings out there, it helps to know what they can be used for. The less common of the two is used to connect accessories to thermometers and other digital temperature readers. This gives devices like that greater versatility depending on the environment.

The more common use of compression fittings is in plumbing. They work to connect lengths of plastic or copper tubing and pipework to one another or to threaded components like valves. Because they are simple and straightforward to apply, while also providing good strength and reliability, they are used in a litany of applications. They are also good in confined spaces where soldering just isn’t feasible without there being considerable risk.

Compression Fitting Sizes

Just like other connectors or fittings, there are plenty of different sizes to choose from when it comes to compression fittings. When choosing the right fittings for a project, the goal is to ensure that they are compatible with whatever they are being joined to. For that reason, they need to have a diameter that is broad enough to fit over the male connector.

Generally speaking, the choice of diameter is going to range anywhere from 4mm to 54mm. Compression fitting diameters will match the diameter of the connector or tubing, the most common sizes being 15mm and 22mm. If possible, it helps to have a variety of compression fittings available to provide superior adaptability in virtually all situations and settings.

Compression Fitting Materials

For the most part, you won’t have to fret too much when it comes to the material choices of compression fittings. They generally are either made from copper or brass and for a specific reason. Those two materials are both resistant to corrosion and have great strength all without incurring high costs. You can find stainless steel and plastic, but those might be a little less cost-effective.

Copper and brass fittings are also ideal in the plumbing world for joining plastic tubing and copper pipes together. For plumbing applications, fittings need to be airtight so that there is no moisture getting through the connector. Soldering has been used to create this seal but that requires special tools and can be very impractical when there is limited space to deal with.