Contractor Help

  • Types of Piping Used During Inground Pool Installation / Construction

    Inground pools are a great addition to any home. Currently, there are millions of residential pools in America alone and more being added every year. The right piping is essential for the successful installation and construction of these pools. If you are considering an inground pool installation, it is natural to have questions about the correct materials to use for this process. Below, we have provided information to help you find the right pipe for pools and the fittings that accompany them.

    Pipe for Pools

    There are many different piping options for residential inground pools. There are pros and cons for each type. Knowing the difference between each type of pipe will help you to determine the best choice for your inground pool installation.

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  • When to Use A Gear Operated Valve vs Lever Operated Valve

    gear operated valve

    Valves, which are devices that regulate flow in a pipeline, are staples of plumbing projects everywhere. Each valve needs a way that it can be opened (or actuated). There are many different types of opening methods available, but the most common actuating device for valves 14" and under are gears and levers. These manual operating devices are fairly inexpensive and easy to implement. Additionally, they don't require any extra planning or effort beyond simple installation (this article goes into more detail about the specifics of gear operation). This blog post gives a basic rundown of both gear operated valves and lever operated valves.

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  • Difference Between Stainless Steel and Brass Valves


    When choosing the correct valves for your project, deciding between stainless steel valves or brass valves is very important. Because of the differences in the materials, one is often better suited for a project than the other. There are several types of valve materials on the market, however this article will focus on a comparison of stainless steel valves and brass valves.

    brass valve

    Brass Valves

    Brass is a copper alloy which means that it is stronger than plastic. This additional strength makes them, though not the most expensive option for valve, more expensive than PVC or plastic valves.

    Brass is a mixture of copper and zinc, and occasionally other metals. Because of its nature as a soft metal, it is able to resist corrosion very well as opposed to plastic valves. Brass is also able to absorb and withstand more heat than plastic, making brass valves an optimal choice for at home plumbing systems.

    One significant difference between stainless steel and brass valves is that brass valves tend to accept welding better than stainless steel valves. This offers some versatility. However, brass valves do have some drawbacks.

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  • Common Uses for Camlock Couplings

    Camlock couplings, also referred to as cam and groove fittings, are becoming increasingly popular in many industries. The innovative technology of the camlock coupling provides a simple and reliable method for connecting and disconnecting hoses without the use of extra tools. Not only are they amazingly easy to use (see a video on how to use camlock couplings here), they are also extremely versatile and are suitable for a variety of different settings and purposes.B-style coupling

    Camlocks are heavy duty couplings. As a result, these handy tools can be used in homebrew, agricultural, military, and industrial environments.  The most common uses for camlock couplings take place in industrial environments because hoses in industrial settings tend to be of larger diameters.

    Camlock Applications

    Camlock couplings are great for the transfer of both dry and fluid materials. There are a variety of camlock uses, such as transferring food, water, fuel, or sand and making them suitable for almost any industry. Because of the variety of substances that can flow through the camlock, it is important to choose the right material for the job. Common camlock applications and their materials are:

    • Stainless Steel Camlocks are best suited for acid, alkali, and corrosive substances.
    • Polypropylene and Nylon Camlocks can be used in the chemical industry, for transmitting liquid, and for irrigation in the agricultural industry.
    • Brass Camlocks work very well for transmitting salty water. They are suitable for most environments except for acid and alkali.
    • Aluminum Alloy Camlocks are great for use with fresh water or mixtures of oil and water.

    While Camlock couplings are extremely versatile, there are some types of substances that are not suitable for use with any type of camlock couplings. Cam and groove couplings should not be used for steam applications. Using Camlocks for steam is very dangerous and could result in an explosion. For more information about why camlocks should not be used with steam, visit the Industrial Knowledge Zone.

    Camlock Coupling Styles and Sizes

    The style is very important when deciding which camlock to use. The camlock uses vary from style to style in the same way as with the materials. Below is a brief description of the different types of camlock styles you can encounter: A-Style Coupling

    • A: male adapter with a female thread
    • B: female coupler with a male thread
    • C: coupler with a shank (hose barb)
    • D: coupler with a  female thread
    • E: adapter with a shank
    • F: adapter with a male thread
    • DC: dust cap
    • DP: dust plug

    Camlock couplings are handy tools that can benefit so many products. It is very important to understand camlock applications so that you can choose the proper tool for the job. Another important factor in the selection of camlock, is selecting the correct size for the job. Check out our article on how to choose the right size camlock coupling here.

    When looking for the perfect cam coupling, make sure you start with us! Our large selection of Camlock Fittings includes Camlock Couplings and Camlock Caps.

  • Malleable vs. Ductile Iron

    black malleable iron elbow fitting
    People know us for our plastic products (hint: it's in our name), but we are fans of everything to do with piping. Metal pipe, fittings, valves, and filters are no exception! This blog post is titled "Malleable vs. Ductile Iron" and will lay out a comparison between malleable and ductile iron.

    You may be thinking, "If they're both iron, they should behave basically the same, right?" That's a great question, but the answer is no. These are two iron alloys with different chemical compositions, so you cannot always use them interchangeably. First, we will look into the history of these materials. Then we will lay out the physical properties of each material. Finally, we will investigate common applications for each material.

    Iron History

    Humans have been manipulating iron to build things for centuries, maybe even millennia. However, most improvements to iron are somewhat modern. Until recently, the strongest types iron were "gray" and "white" cast iron. To make cast iron equipment, molten iron was molded in a cast. They had to do this because hammering cast iron breaks it. Gray and white iron were structurally sound, but cracked if bent or expanded.

    Malleable iron was the first iteration that could be hammered and bent into shape. This made it much easier to work with and less likely to fail. In 1943, however, ductile iron was developed. The difference between malleable and ductile iron was toted to be strength. This would allow ductile iron to be more easily bent and manipulated without breaking. So which material is actually better? Let's list their physical properties.

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  • What are the Different Types of Butterfly Valves? - Valve Buying Guide


    lug butterfly valves and wafer butterfly valvesButterfly valves, as you may already know, are a type of quarter-turn valve with disc-shaped seatings. The disc sits perpendicular to flow of when the valve is closed and parallel to flow when the valve is open. These valves are handle-operated, gear-operated, or mechanically/pneumatically actuated. While the operation of butterfly valves is straightforward, most people do not know about the different types of butterfly valves that exist.

    With butterfly valve options such as different body types, materials, and operation methods, many types of butterfly valves are available. First, let's examine the different body types, then move on to materials and operation methods. These factors tell you what the valve is capable of. Choosing butterfly valves for your application can be difficult, so we will attempt to make it easier with this blog post!

    Butterfly Valve Body Types

    Butterfly valves are popular because of their low-profile designs. They are thin, usually taking up much less space in a pipeline than ball valves. The difference in the two main variations of butterfly valves is how they attach to the pipeline. These body styles are lug and wafer style. What's the difference between lug and wafer style butterfly valves? Keep reading to find out.

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  • A Guide for Choosing Plumbing Piping Materials

    types of piping materialsLearn About the Different Types of Piping Materials

    Sometimes plumbing projects can be daunting, especially for someone who is new to DIY plumbing. If you are making home renovations or replacing old piping, the first step is to figure out what material to use for piping. Choosing piping is a tough task, but can be made easy if you know the pros and cons of all the major types of piping materials. That's what we will be looking at in this post.

    Before you can decide what type of pipe to use, you need to consider what it will be used for. Is it delivering water? Draining it? Will it be outdoor? Indoor? Underground? High pressure or low? As you can see, you need to answer a lot of questions before making a decision. We can't answer all of those questions for you, but we can help you make that decision once you have the answers. Keep reading to learn about each of the major players in the plumbing pipe scene.

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  • What Kind of PVC Fitting Do I Need?

    Finding the right fit of PVC can be a hassle when you are working on a project. The biggest issue is the sizing is not always accurate. If you look at a piece of pipe, you will see an ID number on it. ID is the inside diameter of the pipe, which means that when looking for pipe, don't mistakenly measure the outside diameter for matching.

    So, if it says "1", that means it is supposed to be approximately one inch in diameter. The actual measurement of the ID can be anywhere from .95 inches to 1.09 inches. The reason is that when PVC is produced, it is difficult to make exact fit. So those measurements are within what is known as "nominal" range. Continue reading

  • Parts Needed to Install a Butterfly Valve

    Installing a Butterfly Valve - What You Need

    We often get questions about what is needed to properly install a butterfly valve in line. Here we'll go over everything you need and show you where to find it on

    Besides your surrounding pipe line this is what you'll need for installation:

    (1) Butterfly Valve

    (2) Flanges

    Stud Kit including nuts and washers

    Torque Wrench

    Combination Wrench


    The mistake many buyers make is forgetting the two flanges required for each valve you're installing. Even wafer style valves require 2 flanges. These should be the same size as your valve and may be one piece or loose ring style flanges. This will allow the surrounding pipe line to connect snugly with the butterfly valve.

    Most butterfly valves do not require extra gaskets. All the butterfly valves available on for example have built in seals that sit against your flanges and prevent leakage.

    Depending on the size of your butterfly valve, and flanges (which should both be the same size) - you may need a stud kit with 4, 8, or 12 studs. PVC Fittings Online makes this easy by naming our kits by the same size as the valve and flange. That means to install a 4" valve you will need (2) 4" flanges, and (1) 4" stud kit. Our stud packs come in stainless steel and zinc coated options.

    Use the torque and combination wrenches in conjunction to properly install and tighten the nuts. Refer to the flange installation instructions provided by the manufacturers for tightening patterns. Yes, there is a special way to properly tighten flange fasteners! Remember, the valve should be sandwiched in as follows: flange, valve, flange.


  • PVC Pipe Dimensions 1/8" through 24"

    Schedule 40 PVC Pipe Dimensions

       Nominal Pipe Size        O.D.         Average I.D.         Min. Wall         Nominal wt./ft.         Maximum W.P PSI    
    1/8" .405 .249 .068 .051 810
    1/4" .540 .344 .088 .086 780
    3/8" .675 .473 .091 .115 620
    1/2" .840 .602 .109 .170 600
    3/4" 1.050 .804 .113 .226 480
    1" 1.315 1.029 .133 .333 450
    1-1/4" 1.660 1.360 1.140 .450 370
    1-1/2" 1.900 1.590 .145 .537 330
    2" 2.375 2.047 .154 .720 280
    2-1/2" 2.875 2.445 .203 1.136 300
    3" 3.500 3.042 .216 1.488 260
    3-1/2" 4.000 3.521 .226 1.789 240
    4" 4.500 3.998 .237 2.188 220
    5" 5.563 5.016 .258 2.874 190
    6" 6.625 6.031 .280 3.733 180
    8" 8.625 7.942 .322 5.619 160
    10" 10.750 9.976 .365 7.966 140
    12" 12.750 11.889 ..406 10.534 130
    14" 14.000 13.073 .437 12.462 130
    16" 16.000 14.940 .500 16.286 130
    18" 18.000 16.809 .562 20.587 130
    20" 20.000 18.743 .593 24.183 120
    24" 24.000 22.544 .687 33.652 120


    One of the most common things people get confused by with pipe is how it is sized and measured. PVC pipe can come in sizes ranging from 1/8" to 24" and larger. The table above shows sizing for schedule 40 PVC pipe in different sizes. Note: PVC pipe under 14" does not match up exactly with its nominal size (See Nominal Pipe Size and O.D. columns). You'll see this table shows the five most common pipe dimensions. Not sure what each of these are? Check our pipe measurement diagram here.

    All the fittings we sell on our site are called by their nominal size. A 2" PVC fitting on our site will always fit a piece of 2" nominal size PVC pipe. Both schedule 40 and schedule 80 PVC fittings will fit onto PVC pipe of either schedule. That's because both types of pipe have the same outer diameter measurements. It is only the inner diameter measurement that is smaller on schedule 80 PVC, thus making for a thicker wall and higher pressure rating than sch. 40 pipe.


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