Speedfit plumbing has been about for sometime. Speedfit is actually a trade name but describes the product really well. Another name is Quickfit plumbing which does exactly the same job. The time saved using speedfit fittings and pipe is absolutely fantastic. Many die hard traditional plumbers will not use it but as the technology has improved and all fittings now comply with all British Standards, we are happy to use it. It is not ideal in places where it can be seen because even the best plumber in the world cannot make a run of speedfit pipe, complete with fittings, look neat. The fittings, by necessity, are bulky and unsightly but my goodness when you can complete the plumbing in a bathroom in half the usual time you have saved your customer a fortune. Installation time is reduced by a massive 40% and the flexibility of the cables allows you to get pipework through places where you would not normally be able to access. This can save a lot of unsightly surface work.
Speedfit pipes are ideal for retro fitting bathroom items such as concealed showers as the pipes can be hidden much more easily than copper.
Because the pipes and fittings are plastic there is no scale build up and the elasticity of the pipe greatly reduces the likelihood of pipes bursting in freezing conditions although they should certainly still be lagged. The pipes are metal free and non toxic and being able to use long lengths of pipework reduces the number of fittings required. Speedfit should not be used for fuel oil, compressed air or gas installations. The image on the right shows some speedfit plumbing in place for a shower valve to be fitted when the studs have been plasterboarded and the tiling done. The flexibility of speedfit allows for easy adjustment and anyone who has ever fitted a mixer valve for a shower will be grateful for this. Note the two stopcocks at the bottom which will be hidden by the bath. Speedfit is so easy there is no point not fitting isolation valves whenever one might be needed.
Speedfit fittings are quite a bit more expensive than copper fittings but again, the labour saving element makes up for that. Speedfit is interchangeable with copper so any run that is to be visible can simply be carried on in neat copper plumbing with soldered joints. The performance specifications are within the guidelines of normal domestic activities and this includes central heating. Speedfit pipes have been passed for Mains and indirect cold water systems, vented and unvented hot water systems, vented central heating systems, sealed central heating systems if temperatures and pressures comply with BS 7291 Parts 1, 2 & 3 class S
Before we go into the project on how to use speedfit, here are a few things you must not do. 1) Never use a hacksaw to cut speedfit pipe, always use a pipe cutter shown right. If you push a pipe with a rough end into a speedfit fitting the burrs may damage the O ring which will lead to a leak. 2) Do not use damages or scuffed pipes. 3) Do not push your fingers into any fitting as the teeth may cut you.
The image at the top left shows a range of the available speedfit fittings. These are A: A short length of pipe showing a pipe insert at each end. Pipe inserts must be used every time a joint is effected. The insert gives additional strength to the end of the pipe as it is clamped between the teeth of the fittings. The image on the left shows how a pipe insert works. B: An equal T piece. This can be inserted into a run of pipe allowing the water supply to be tapped into for the fitting of, for example, an outside tap. C: A length of copper pipe going into an appliance tap. D: Another type of appliance valve called a ball valve or stop tap. This type of valve is most often used on washing machines where easy operation in the event of a problem is required. E: These are isolating valves (See isolating valves project) which spedfit make in a chrome plated finish or a plastic finish. F: The bottom F is a flexible coupling used for connecting two pipe ends where a tight or difficult bend is required. They are also very useful for repairing a burst pipe when the burst has been cut out. The top f is a flexible tap connector with an isolating valve fitted in line. G: A stop end. Just push onto the end of a pipe and the water is stopped. Must be used in conjunction with a valve of some kind! H: A stop tap or stop cock tap. J: A 90 degree bend K: Pipe clips which should be used every 500mm with speedfit pipe. There are many other speedfit fittings but these are the ones which are used the most. For every fitting available in copper compression or yorkshire, there is a speedfit equivalent. The image on the left shows isolating valves in place with copper feeds at one end and plastic speedfit coming out to service the taps. Simple connections, done in seconds.
Other fittings available are: Reducing straight coupler, Stem T, Reducers of all sizes, Bent tap connectors, Two way divider or splitter, Plastic back plate elbow, PE to copper coupler, Stem elbow, Tank connectors, Hose connectors, Brass male couplers, Brass male stem adapters, Brass female couplers, Brass back plate elbows, Flexi hoses of all lengths and all types of tap including mono block mixers, stop valves, stopcocks and appliance valves, ball valves and angled ball and stop valves. Drain cocks, tank collectors, Central heating manifolds and cylinder adapters.
This image shows just how advanced the technology is with speedfit fittings. The image on the right, above, shows just how simple even something as complicated as installing a stopcock can be. Speedfit fittings such as the one shown left have a release collet which can be pushed in to release the pipe. There are also fittings with screw collars which are used to clamp the pipe in place and are simply unscrewed to release.