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Thread: Should 1/2" copper street ell be loose fitting?

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  1. #1
    DIY Member DavidSeon's Avatar
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    Default Should 1/2" copper street ell be loose fitting?

    To avoid notching a stud I wanted to make a quick 90 downturn out of a shower valve cold inlet. I assumed I could use the male end of a 1/2" street elbow to keep the pipe away from the stud.

    But the male end of the Nibco ell I picked up at Lowe's is a pretty loose fit into the Moentrol inlet as well as other female fittings I tried. It looks like solder would fill it, but all the other connections I've made have been a pretty tight twist fit.

    Is this normal for st ells or am I trying to use the wrong fitting?

    Thanks, Dave
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    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    It might be that the machined brass socket on the valve is more accurately round, and therefore "looser" than your typical
    commodity stamped copper fitting. But, yeah, I think NIBCO male street fitting ends might be on the smaller end of the
    acceptable range.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Not all fittings are created equal...some are crap. Can't make a judgement on the ones you have, but the big box stores tend to buy the low-price bidder's product and there's often a reason why they're low cost.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A "sweat joint" DEPENDS on a very specific tolerance between the fitting and the socket. IF it is too loose, (we had "feeler gauges" in the "old days" to judge it), the solder will NOT be attracted into the gap and you will wind up with a weak joint. You can "fill" a vertical joint with solder, but not an upside down or horizontal one.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Member DavidSeon's Avatar
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    Ok, picked up a Mueller street ell at a plumbing supply house, it fit the same as the Nibco. It soldered fine so I guess it was ok, just wasn't sure since it wasn't as snug as a regular pipe to valve connection.

    Thanks for the help.
    Old Retired Computer Programmer
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  6. #6
    DIY Member petrie's Avatar
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    I just encountered the same exact problem. Doing the same exact plumbing project. Despite the sloppy fit I soldered the street elbow in and no leak, although it's only been two days since I soldered it.

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