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Pipe fittings are a plumber's trusted friend, for they are the connections that help maintain continuous flow. Fittings with exterior threading are known as males, and those with interior threading are females. For everything to work properly, pipes and their fittings must be compatible materials, so match accordingly with brass, chrome, copper, galvanized, PVC, and stainless steel.
If using PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) piping or fittings, a copper crimp ring adapts all components. Elbow pipe fittings are usually at 45 or 90 degrees, and nipple fittings extend straight connections. Female threaded caps and male threaded plugs are used to close off pipes.
Other common pipe fittings that you may need for your plumbing are couplings and unions. Regular couplings connect pipes that are of the same size, reducers connect different sizes, and compressions are used to prevent leaking from the connected valve or appliance. Unions are used to easily detach pipes for repairs. With just a little practice, you'll soon be an expert.