The phrase “small but mighty” quickly comes to mind when thinking about the significance of fittings. These pieces of hardware are extremely important when it comes to any type of residential or commercial piping project, and it is amazing to think that one small piece can make such an impact in the overall functionality and effectiveness of a piping system.
Fittings make it possible to connect two pieces of pipe together (whether they have the same or different diameters), change the flow of a system to fit within an existing location, facilitate flow when there is little to no pressure within the line, and much more.
As a contractor, you understand how even the tiniest of details can greatly impact the overall outcome of a project (which is exactly why careful thought and planning should be put into the fittings that are selected). Since fittings play such an integral role in piping systems, it becomes important to ask yourself this question – do brand names matter when it comes to fittings?
What You Get with a Brand Name
With many things in life, from shoes to furniture, you will typically pay more for brand name items. The same is often true for various fittings. Brand names tend to cost more because you are paying for the reputation, reliability, and service that come along with the company.
An obvious advantage of this choice is that you will most likely be purchasing a quality product. There is a reason that certain companies become brand names within an industry – because they deliver products that truly do work. Additionally, in the realm of fittings, many of the brand name companies use the fact that they can offer you everything you need for an entire piping system as a major selling point.
What You Get with an Off-Brand Name
It only takes a little bit of time working as a contractor to quickly realize that the name of the brand does not mean everything when it comes to the quality and effectiveness of a product. In fact, there are plenty of off-brand products out there that can get the job done just as well, and sometimes even better.
One of the biggest advantages of purchasing off-brand fittings is that they can often save you a little money. When you are buying off-brand fittings, you aren’t spending the additional money to cover all the extras that can come along with the brand names. The product may not have a fancy logo, the packaging might be very basic, and there may not be a fully-staffed customer service department. But, you can still get a quality product.
The Important Standards for Fittings
To put it simply, the brand of the fittings that you purchase and use in your piping projects is not the most important factor to consider. Instead, you must be sure that the fittings you are using in your customers’ jobs meet the necessary industry standards.
ASTM standards are the first thing to keep in mind. ASTM (American Section of the International Association of Testing Materials) is an organization that develops and regulates technical standards for all kinds of materials and products.
ASTM D1785-15, the “Standard Specification for Poly(Vinyl Chloride) (PVC) Plastic Pipe, Schedules 40, 80, and 120,” lays out standards for pipe dimensions, pressure tolerance, naming systems, appearance, and more. D1785-15 is important for many reasons. First, it gives guidelines for dimensions. This means that if two different brands both have this standard, they will fit together. It also gives guidelines for pressure tolerance. All in all, this is a wide-ranging standard that gives many important instructions for PVC fitting manufacturing.
When it comes to home plumbing, CPVC fittings (product listings) are widely used. ASTM standards F437-15, F438-17, and F439-13 all have to do with standard specifications for different types of CPVC fittings. Many other ASTM standards exist that are also good indicators of high quality parts. The ASTM website has a full list of standards for fittings.
There are other manufacturing standards that are also significant to consider. NSF International (formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation) has important guidelines about health and sanitation.
“NSF/ANSI 61: Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects” is a certification that is necessary for any company that manufactures products that will distribute drinking water. All major PVC and CPVC companies have this certification for all their products, but some of the smaller brands may not. This is important if the PVC fittings will be used for drinking water delivery.
Brand Name or Not?
The overall conclusion is that brand name should not be the deciding factor when it comes to the fittings you choose to implement in your piping projects. As long as the fittings are made from quality materials, they meet the necessary standards, and they are compatible with the other pieces you are using, the brand name of the fittings does not make a difference in its effectiveness.
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