Joining Different Pipe Materials With Push-to-Connect Transition Fittings

Joining Different Pipe Materials With Push-to-Connect Transition Fittings

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When installing or repairing a plumbing system, you may arrive at job sites that have a preferred pipe material in mind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll avoid dealing with other pipe types during the project. 

When you find that you need to connect to a different pipe, push-to-connect transition fittings are a good choice. Here’s why. 


When you need to switch to a different kind of pipe during remodels and repairs, push-to-connect transition fittings provide the flexibility required to make secure connections and are available to join a variety of piping and sizes, with each end of the fitting designated for the different pipe materials. Some examples include: 

  • CTS Transition Fittings
    In service and repair applications, you will most likely encounter different types of CTS pipe, including PEX, CPVD, PE-RT, HDPE, copper, etc. This is one of the most common plumbing fittings on the market and is used regularly to connect two types of CTS pipe.
  • PVC Transition Fittings
    As the main waterline enters the home or commercial space, a transition fitting can be used to connect PVC pipe to other piping systems that are compatible with higher temperatures and higher PSI ratings. This is similar to lawn sprinkler systems, which can also use PVC and require a transition fitting to switch from smaller pipes within the system's structure.
  • Polybutylene Transition Fittings
    Polybutylene production stopped in 1996 when the popular product began failing sooner than its predicted life expectancy. Now issues such as leaks and breakage are commonly seen with polybutylene pipe, which means homeowners either have to completely repipe their home or introduce a new piping material to the existing plumbing system when repairs are needed. These kinds of transition fittings can help you replace or repair this old pipe type and switch to your preferred type of tubing.

Easy, fast repair

Threaded adapters are most often used to transition between pipes. Depending on the kind of pipe material used, you may make a glue joint or sweat joint on each pipe, then thread the adapter to connect. This process is not only cumbersome and slow; it also creates an opportunity for three leak points.

In comparison to this traditional method, transition fittings allow quick and secure repairs for several challenges, including copper pinhole leaks, as well as replacing brittle polybutylene pipe or broken CPVC with PEX. And by using push-to-connect transition fittings, you don’t need to use special tools, harsh glues or soldering, making this a simplified process for better efficiency and reliability than other methods. With quicker installations, you can service more calls and waste less material, putting more money in your pocket. All while maintaining peace of mind that your connection is sound.

To make pipe transitions even more streamlined, brands such as RWC’s SharkBite have incorporated color-coded collars into their push-to-connect transition fittings to make the job as seamless as possible with a quick, tool-free transition. For example, gray collars on SharkBite fittings support connections with polybutylene pipe, white works with PVC pipe (compatible with Schedule 40, 80 and 120 PVC), and tan is designed to work with CTS pipes. It’s important to note that SharkBite push-to-connect fittings with a tan-colored release collar are not suitable for use with polybutylene or PVC material and are intended for use with PEX, copper, CPVC, PE-RT or (CTS SDR-9) SDR-9 HDPE tubing. Polybutylene and PVC tubing both have a larger inside diameter than the CTS tubing types, so the tube liners included with these fittings will not adequately support them. While the standard push fittings may insert on the pipe, it is not a fully secure or warrantied connection.

Having transition fittings on hand that are compatible with multiple pipe types allows you to complete projects efficiently, ensuring you can get the job done with the products you trust — no matter what the existing pipe is. Be prepared for any kind of pipe you encounter in the field with push-to-connect transition fittings. 

About the Author

Jeff Long is the senior product category manager at RWC — a market leader and manufacturer of water control systems and plumbing solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications.


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