Attaching a coupler to galvanized steel pipes is done when dealing with older plumbing. Traditionally plumbing used galvanized steel pipes until plastic and copper versions replaced them. Galvanized steel pipes are not as efficient as other piping material as buildup easily occurs with hard water and flow is restricted. Galvanization is a process of coating the inner and outer layers of a pipe with a corrosion-free metal such as aluminum or zinc. This is usually done in a molten bath at extreme temperatures.
A coupler is generally used to connect two lines of pipe together. If the size of one of the pipes is greater than the other this may also be referred to as a reducer. The term adapter usually symbolizes the same thing but it isn’t widely used. Attaching a coupler to galvanized steel pipes as opposed to plastic versions is more challenging because it involves threading the pipes. Steel also requires better sealing against water leaks.
Types of Couplers
There are two general types of couplings when it comes to pipes. The most common version is just a regular fitting that is used to connect two separate parts of the pipeline. The term reducer is used for the other type of coupling that is used to connect two pipes, as well. The difference between the normal coupler and a reducer is that the reducer is used to connect two pipes of different sizes. The reducer is also called an adapter in plumbing terminology.
When shopping for galvanized steel pipes it is a good idea to buy pre-threaded pipes. Having them pre-threaded eliminates the need for using a pipe-thread device. Many hardware stores are equipped with their own threading machines and can provide you with custom threading. This can save you money, as you won’t have to invest in extra tools for the job.
Always Apply Ample Sealant
When using galvanized steel pipes there is always the likelihood that a leak will occur where the coupler is threaded. Using ample sealant, such as silicone-based products, is always a good idea when dealing with water plumbing. Teflon tape is another good sealant and is very easy to apply, as it will stick to the thread. Whatever you choose to seal the joint, make sure you don’t skimp on it. Having leaky plumbing will prove a lot more expensive than a few extra dollars you spend on the extra sealant.
A Tight Fit Is a Good Fit
When dealing with plumbing, and especially with galvanized steel pipes, having a tight fit on the joints is crucial. Unlike its plastic counterparts, metal doesn’t tend to have a lot of leeway. Using sealant will fix part of the problem, but having a tight, snug fit is just as important. When attaching the coupler it is a good idea to have good plumber’s pliers or a wrench that you can use to really tighten it up. It will get you better results and it won’t cause any problems when you need to unfasten it because galvanized steel pipes don't fuse together without the help of very high temperatures or extreme corrosion.