I am just redoing my shower room. I will be having plumbing for both
shower and sink behind a false wall with no access, as this will be
I am ok with doing traditional solder plumbing, but know it will be
much faster if I use push fit fittings. However I am concerned at
having these in an inaccessible place in case of a failure.
What does the group think?
If you are OK with one method and not OK with another method I suggest you
employ the method you are OK with.
As for plastic push fit plumbing reliability I don't believe there is a
reliability issue for competently made joints.
If they're done properly (eg, not using a hacksaw to chop the pipe...)
they should be completely reliable but I have to say that personally I'd
feel happier with soldered fittings behind a false wall. But soldered
fittings can fail too if not done properly (eg from flux corrosion)
If you google this group you'll find a wealth of info on this (though a
lot of it relates to hacksaw abuse by a certain member of this group...)
In message , Jim
I the building in which I work they seem to have problems with a push
fit leaking around once every nine moths or so. This is after a couple
failures after first occupying the new building and the maintenance
department spending a weekend double checking all accessible
connections. There are probably thousands of such connections in the
building so the probability of failure is still quite small and there is
no guarantee that the joints were made in a competent way in the first
My personal preference would be to use a single length of plastic pipe
jointed directly at the shower valve with a compression fitting, that
way you only have one possible point of leak.
If you are talking about using copper pipe with plastic pushfit
fittings, I wouldn't, I always use a joint that has the same or greater
strength that the pipe to be joined.
I have no personal experience of using push fits - I have only used
solder and compression joints - but a relative who runs a plumbing/
electrical contractors business told me recently that he has had bad
experiences with JG Speedfit connectors on a block of flats he
plumbed. He was sure that they were done in accordance with the
instructions - he did some himself, others were done by trusted
employees. The call-back rate for leaks was unnacceptable to both the
occupiers and himself. He said he will never use JG Speedfit again,
and is wary of all push-fits now, despite the speed (and therefore
Why would a plastic pushfit fitting be any more reliable when fitted to
a plastic pipe than a copper one? I'd have thought that intuitiuvely it
would be the reverse.
Incidentally, as a separate issue in general do people consider copper
pushfits to be any better than plastic, or is the difference just cosmetic?
I've used plastic pipe for showers etc even in "inaccessible"
locations. I'd make the pipe runs continuous with no joins from somewhere
accessible to the shower fittings, and pressure test it all before
covering over and tiling.
You might like to look at
nothing's inaccessible if you have a large enough hammer :-)
In article , Lobster
Take 2 lengths of copper pipe & join in the middle with a plastic
pushfit coupling, then apply stress to the length by bending. The
plastic joint will see all the stress and will ultimately leak or break.
Do the same with plastic pipe and the bending stress will be distributed
throughout the pipe and joint so it is less likely to fail.
I'm not saying people go about bending and stressing joints
intentionally but I think it's better practice to have a joint that is
matched in strength to the material it is joining.
Never used them myself, if I'm joining copper it will be by soldering.
Personally I'm not that keen on Speedfit except where the ability to
dismount the coupling is useful because I'm not sure of the impact of not
using the optional collect clips or (now) the pipe support sleeves with
secondary O rings. In a sense if they are not needed why are they included
in the range? But I would also expect any plumber choosing to use Speedfit
over Hep (say) to also have a view on collet clip (and now secondary o-ring)
usage. Without collet clips there is definately more lateral pipe movement
possible with Speedfit than with Hep. Pex pipe is also stiffer than Polyb.
Theoretically both these reasons could increase the possibility of
distortion on the O ring - but only where that results from inadequate
Where there is more than one leak in a single installation there must be a
systemic reason. I would have expected a competent plumber to have
identified what the systemic reason was when inspected on call-back. I
would never exclude a product quality control issue but it wouldn't be my
On Sat, 8 Dec 2007 02:47:39 -0800 (PST)
I've used Polyplumb, Speedfit and Hep2O without any problems, but I
would not fit a joint where it could not be serviced under any
circumstances, not even with copper (OK, maybe a soldered bend just
before a wall exit.) I would never put a push-fit or compression where
I couldn't service it.
The keys, I think, with the plastic systems is:
1) the pressure test to 6 bar - this sets the stainless steel teeth
into the pipe walls and checks that the o-ring is seated. But for that
you need a pressure test pump (=C2=A390) ;)
2) a clean 90 degree cut - on an insertion mark. So you need the
proper cutter. I re-mark the insertion mark with a CD pen, for EVERY
3) Careful, straight insertion, to the marked depth.
4) The proper, recommended, insert.
I'm not sure copper is as good as lead either, Doc. But on second
thoughts: carved elm pipes have been used for centuries, so maybe that's
the way to go.
The good thing about plastic pipe is that, as it comes in 25m rolls and can
be curved, with careful design, you shouldn't need to put any fittings in
inaccessible positions. I've done a fair bit of my house in it without any
problems over several years. However, I would recommend: (1) use Speedfit
Super Seal inserts. They are superior to the DIY shed look-alikes. (2) Buy a
proper plastic pipe cutter. The preparation of the ends is vital and they
can fail if you don't do it properly. (3) Make sure that the ends are fully
pushed home into the fitting and that the pipe is not under tension when
's very useful. I was looking at the installation for the solid
wall just now, and trying to work out what happened to the wooden plate
- was it skimmed over or something...? Then I realised that presumably
it's only a template and is removed once the plaster is set, right?
Might be worth clarifying in the wiki wotsit?!
One other point - to which I'd like to know the answer myself... in the
hollow-wall fitting, where you have the pipework protruding from the
tiles, what is the preferred method of sealing to prevent water getting
through - do you fill the space around the pipework with sealant so it's
effectively watertight before the bezels are fitted? Or are you meant
to seal the bezels to the wall?
(whose ensuite shower valve has been cloaked by a flap of polythene for
several years now waiting for a round tuit...)