MIP and FIP fittings go hand-in-hand. They work like a key and lock system, meaning one can’t go without another. If you’re in the building and construction industry or need to know which materials to buy for your contractor, you will likely be torn between using either option. However, the first thing you should consider before buying a MIP fitting, check with your local authorities to determine if the material is suitable for your project.
What is a MIP fitting?
According to Hunker, MIP is an abbreviation for Male Iron Pipe or mean materials used for building like copper and steel. Some people prefer calling it Male International Pipe or Male Pipe Thread (MPT). The opposite of MIP is FIP, which stands for Female Iron Pipe. Some would call it a Female Pipe Thread (FTP). FIPs go inside, while MIPs have threads that extend outside. Remember, not all FIPs are iron-made. Some can be made from PVC, nylon, bronze, steel, brass, or copper.
Materials used for plumbing fitting
The most common materials for fittings include iron, copper, brass, and PVC. Some have different functions like the ball valves, gate valves, non-return, Y-joints, T-joints, 90-degrees, and 45-degrees. Here is a list of fitting materials to help you decide which one suits your project.
1. Compression fittings
Whether you have a copper or PVC pipe, a compression fitting is the one to go for. They are easy for DIY applications, but you might want to pay more for transportation because they are bulky. Also, they are costlier than other joining methods. One of the most significant selling points of compression fittings is they can easily be assembled or disassembled. You use a jointing compound or PTFE tape to cover the areas you suspect are prone to leakage.
2. Brass threaded fittings combined with compression fittings
Some pipes or fixtures may have two or more openings, making them suitable for brass-threaded and compression fittings. The latter works by connecting itself to the pipe and the port that is screwed. It’s suitable for projects like furnaces, water tanks, or pressure gauges. Brass threaded fittings have a brass compression ring that penetrates onto the end of the pipe before it is inserted. Next, it is bent and screwed tightly against the fitting’s tapered surface until the pipe’s nut is tightened, preventing water from leaking.
3. Malleable iron-screwed fittings
If you want to save money, go for ductile iron-screwed fittings because they can be used with compressed air and water. Unlike brass, iron fittings are more robust. Remember that the galvanized version is the only one resistant to corrosion.
4. Plastic+ copper stab-in fittings
These fittings work best on plastic and copper pipe. They work best when you cut the end of the pipe in square and force it into the fitting. The best part about them is you can disassemble them by hand or with a special key.
The types of materials used for plumbing pipes
As mentioned earlier, plumbing pipes come from several materials. The basic ones are made from iron, copper, and galvanized steel. Some come from PVC, CPVC, PEX, and polybutylene to make matters more confusing. On the other hand, the fittings are made from malleable iron, copper, brass, or plastic. Let’s delve into the specifications of these materials to help you determine which one suits your project:
1. Stainless steel
According to Den Garden, copper shortage in the 1970s birthed the popularity of stainless-steel plumbing. There was no way plumbing projects could be put on hold due to the shortage. Unlike copper, stainless steel is more robust than copper, making it difficult to bend. However, its resistance to rust/corrosion is the most significant selling point. For this reason, fittings made from stainless steel were for esthetic purposes.
2. PVC and CPVC
PVC refers to polyvinyl chloride, while CPVC is chlorinated polyvinyl chloride. Both come from plastic polymers and have been used to make plumbing pipes and fittings for a long time. One benefit plastic pipes have over metals is that they are malleable and easy to bend. Using this material, you won’t have to get another bent fitting to achieve what you want. Unless you want a tight bend at 90-degrees, you can use elbow joints from these materials. Unlike metals, plastic pipes retain heat for longer periods, making them the best insulators. If there is hot water in the pipe, the plastic will expand more than the metal. When there is cold or freezing water, it will contract, reducing the risk of bursting at freezing temperatures.
PEX is a robust and malleable material that can withstand freezing temperatures as low as -4-degrees-Fahrenheit. It comes from a polyethylene cross-linked in high-density. Unlike copper, PEX is cheaper and resistant to corrosion even when exposed to acidic water. Like PVC, PEX is malleable, hence easy to bend. However, it is sensitive to UV rays from the sun and fluorescent lighting, so ensure you coat it to make it durable.
4. Ductile iron
Ductile or malleable iron works best in applications such as compressed air, rigid metal conduit (RMC), or water. This makes it convenient for use in commercial or industrial settings but not residential installations. Also, it is more robust than PVC and copper, making it the most used material for major applications.
Due to the harsh health effects that lead brings, it is no longer suitable for plumbing applications. Copper replaced it after World War II.
Basic plumbing is quite easy, provided you’re a DIY enthusiast. It starts by understanding the basics and ensuring you put it all together. It starts by knowing the pipe types, plumbing fittings, and thread sizes and following the instructions to the letter. It’s important to know the abbreviation for plumbing connectors to ensure you get the right material for your project. Doing so gives you clues about the application, helping you determine what to expect during the installation. And now that you know the difference between a MIP and FIP, any plumbing job you intend to accomplish will be easy.