Copper press fittings are safe and easy to install, but like other fittings, you do have to watch out for a couple of issues if you want to make the installation a success. These will seem very simple at first, and really, they are simple. However, they are also very easy to mess up, especially if you get overconfident and try to do too much work in too short a time.
Ensure the Fitting and Pipe Are Connected All the Way
The pipe has to be inserted all the way into the fitting. That sounds so ridiculously obvious, but it's a big part of why copper press fittings fail — and copper press fittings rarely fail, so that's saying something. When you connect a fitting and pipe, you have to do more than just shove one inside the other. The pipe will fit inside the fitting to a certain depth, which varies for each fitting type, and if you don't place the pipe far enough in, the connection can blow because it's just too loose and weak compared to a properly connected fitting.
Prepare the Pipe Before Fitting
The pipe also has to be prepared before going inside the fitting. This includes tapering and buffing the end of the pipe to protect the fitting and the fitting's o-ring from damage. If you don't taper the end, it can scratch the inside of the fitting and tear the o-ring.
Become Familiar With Fitting Color Codes
The o-rings in the fittings can differ based on the type of pipe system they are supposed to work with. Get to know these color codes so that you don't use fittings made for water systems in gas systems, for example.
Have a Specialist Install Them
Finally, if you've never worked with press fittings before and need to construct or repair a large, vital section of pipework in your facility, look for someone who has a lot of experience with the fittings. They are easy to learn how to use, but if you have some vital work that needs to be done now, this is not the time for on-the-job practice.
These fittings are much safer to work with than soldered fittings and require less training to begin to use. Still, you want to be sure the work is done right and that you don't inadvertently make a mistake while installing the fittings that could lead to a blowout.