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In this blog we shall have a look at the plastic push-fit pipe connections and the benefits they can offer. Used in heating and cooling plumbing systems and available from manufacturers such as John Guest Speedfit, Polypipe Polyplumb and Wavin.
Pipes have been around for millennia, from the Roman lead piping, through the middle ages with the use of ceramic, lead, steel and wooden piping, all being used in one form or another right up to the Victorian era. It's only in the last hundred years that we've seen radical changes in pipe material with the introduction of copper piping in the 1930's, plastic piping in the 1940's and cast iron the 1960's.
Plastic piping was invented in the 1920's, although not manufactured until the 1940's, and was widely used in the rebuilding of Japan and Germany. The traditional usage of copper piping is still with us today but plastic is now becoming the material of choice with an estimated 50-60% percent of properties having plastic installed.
The evolution of new manufacturing techniques and higher quality materials offer plastic products with improved functionality and easier fitting than their copper counterparts. The rising price of copper has also been an influential factor.
The push-fit connections seal themselves under water pressure by means of a rubber O-ring and toothed metal grab-ring. The associated pipe is cut to length, a pipe insert is placed in the end of the cut pipe for rigidity, then the pipe is pushed in to the connector and automatically locks in to place. A small twist of the outer connector rings finishes the connection on some brands. Many can be removed by hand and reused while some brands have a twist-lock device that prevents them being accidentally pulled apart.
There are a range of adaptors and connectors to ensure the pipework can be retro-fitted to copper pipe or pipes and threads of different sizes.
Other benefits include:
Yes, but not many relative to the benefits; the common 15mm and 22mm diameter copper tube sizes are replicated externally in plastic pipes but because of the thickness of the plastic, this results in a smaller bore. This naturally does reduce water flow slightly. Current regulations also mean the plastic piping cannot be used in certain re-circulating hot water systems and when connecting to a boiler there must be a minimum of one metre of copper pipe before connecting to the plastic system.
We hope you've found this post interesting but please do let us know if there's anything we should add – we'd love to hear from you.