Installing ABS Pipe Fittings

If you want to do your own plumbing, you may find that ABS pipe fittings are very helpful. ABS is cheap and easy to use, making it a great material for a beginning DIY plumber to work with. While ABS is not correct for all situations—in fact, many local codes forbid its use, so do your research—there are many situations where it is the best type of pipe fitting you can choose.

Turning Off the Water

It is easy to forget things that are unrelated to the materials you have at hand, but there are important safety precautions you should take before working with your pipes. The most important one is turning off your water. Use your home's main shutoff valve to do this, and then test out the appliance you will be working with to make sure that the water is completely shut off. This will also empty the pipes of water, which is very helpful as well.

Cutting the Pipes

First, measure the desired location of the pipe, and measure and mark the pipe to the appropriate length. Next, cut the pipe according to the measurements you have taken. You can use several tools for this, so simply choose whichever you have available. A plastic pipe cutter is great, but a fine-toothed saw or hacksaw will also work perfectly well.

Deburring the Pipes

Often, a pipe will not be perfectly smooth at the end. This is normal, but it is important to fix the problem in an appropriate way. Never use sandpaper on a plastic pipe, as it can make the problems worse, or remove enough material that your pipe will be shorter than you intended it to be. Instead, use a deburring tool. This tool is specifically made for the problem you face and will work reliably to give you a smooth pipe that is easy to work with.

Preparing the Pipes and Fittings

At this point, you are ready to fit your pipe and pipe fitting together. Apply your solvent cement to the inside of your ABS pipe fitting, and also onto the tip of the pipe you are connecting to it. Your cement of choice should be specifically labeled as intended for use with ABS, as not all are, and an incorrectly chosen cement can damage your pipe fittings. You should add plenty of cement to the end of your pipe, and relatively little to the ABS fitting.

Once you have applied the cement, push the pipe into the fitting and turn it slightly. This makes it easier to fit the pipe and pipe fitting together and aligned properly. In under a minute, the cement will harden, leaving you with a firmly attached pipe.

Finishing Up

Once your setup is complete, use your main shutoff valve to turn your home's water back on. Finish up by testing out your appliance and making sure there are no leaks. If you find a leak, you may have additional work ahead of you, but if everything works, you will know for sure that this was a job well done.