Frequently Asked Questions
Q. "I have 1/2" copper fittings, can I use 1/2" o.d. copper tubing with those fittings?"
A. Probably not. In the plumbing trade when we say 1/2" fittings we mean fittings that use 1/2" nominal pipe. To figure what size pipe to use with standard plumbing fittings, you must add 1/8" to your measurements to know the o.d. (outside diameter) of the pipe. 1/2" nominal fittings use 5/8" od pipe; 3/4" fittings uses 7/8" pipe and so on.
Q. "I need a piece of copper tubing cut exactly 3 feet long. How accurate are your length cuts? What are your specification tolerances when you send/cut a piece of copper tubing?"
A. We guarantee that we will send you refrigeration grade soft copper tubing as we show/list. We also guarantee that if you order a length (such as 3') that you will receive a minimum of what you ordered (3 feet in this example but we might even ship you 3' 2" or 3' 1/2" or as much as 4'). Our length cuts are not accurate (we do guarantee to send at least as long a length as you ordered). We never send shorter than you order but if you do not have a copper cutter and require an exact length, then please do not order our copper pipe, as we do not guarantee length accuracy. Please recognize that our copper tubing comes from 50' round rolls. That means the longest length that we offer is 50' and it also means that the pipe will come slightly bowed (rounded) and not straight.
Q. "What if I order the wrong length? Can I return what I don't need?"
A. Because our copper tubing is cut specifically for your order, you can return only the full length that you ordered. For instance, we cannot accept 1' of returned tubing from a 3' piece that we sent you, but you can return the entire 3' piece to us if needed. Additionally, please note that (as with any returned item) the tubing must be free of ANY cuts, signs of use, compound debris, etc. and must be dry without spots or stains. We can only accept returns of copper tubing that has never been cut/altered and is in perfect resalable condition.
Q. "I need 15ea. 2' lengths of 1/8"od copper tube, but when I try to enter 2' more than once, the amount in the shopping cart increases/adds up (ie 2' then 4' then 6' etc)...How can I order 15ea. 2' lengths of copper tubing?"
A. Because we don't guarantee an exact length of copper tubing, we will send you 30' and let you cut the copper to the lengths you desire. We only offer one cut piece per tubing size per order. Please note that any altered or used item is not returnable.
Q. "Does soft copper have less copper content? In other words, is it less or more pure than straight lengths?"
A. Hard and soft copper (unless utility grade) are very pure in copper content (99.9% pure copper with no other metals mixed in). The only difference is the way they are made. There are differences in thickness in copper grades of pipe. We like refrigeration grade because when we get it, it is "sealed dehydrated" (cleaner than most other grades). Many codes insist on certain "types" (K, L, or M) of copper and so, if you are plumbing a house, etc. please do not assume that the copper tubing that we offer is code in your area. Check with your local code authorities before ordering. Generally it is "best" to purchase your copper fittings from us and to purchase your copper pipe and tubing locally. The main reason we offer the copper tubing above is for people who only need a small amount or just a short length. We also offer some sizes not found in many local hardware stores and home centers.
Q. "Why don't you offer pipe for all of the fittings that you sell?"
A. We wish we could. The "problem" is shipping costs and damage. Straight 10 or 20 feet lengths simply costs too much to ship. Soft rolls of large diameter copper pipe (tubing) simply can't fit in small diameter boxes and would thus cost a tremendous amount for shipping.
Q."I have 'refrigeration grade' copper tubing. How do I determine which size copper sweat fittings to use?"
A. Refrigeration grade soft copper tubing is sized according to the outside diameter of the copper pipe. The plumbing industry uses the inside diameter (nominal) size of the pipe for their measurement of sweat/solder fittings. To determine what size sweat fittings to use on refrigeration grade tubing you must subtract 1/8" from the outside diameter of the copper pipe measurements. If you have 1/4" outside diameter refrigeration grade tubing then you will need to order 1/8" (nominal) sweat/solder fittings. Copper sweat fittings are not available for 1/8" or 3/16" O.D. copper tubing.
|Nominal Size To OD Size Conversion Table
|O.D. Of Pipe
|Nominal Pipe Size
Q. "What does 'Nominal' mean?"
A. Nominal is the term used to describe copper pipe in plumbing. Nominal refers to the inside diameter of the pipe which varies by thickness of the pipe. The outside is a constant size and is always 1/8" larger than the nominal size. Example: 1/2" nominal is always 5/8" O.D.
Note: Copper sweat fittings are sized according to the nominal inside diameter of the copper piping they will be used with.
Q. "Are brass compression fittings and brass flare fittings sized to fit the same size corresponding copper tubing?"
A. Compression fittings and flare fittings are sized to fit the outside diameter (OD) of the copper tubing, so no conversion is needed. For example, if you have 3/8"OD copper tubing, then you would need to use a 3/8" compression fitting or 3/8" flare fitting.
Q. "I'm hearing a lot about lead-free these days. What does that have to do with plumbing products and how does the new lead-free legislation affect me?"
A. Basically, the laws implemented Jan. 1st, 2014 require plumbing products that come in contact with drinking water to be "essentially lead free" (less than 0.25% weighted average). For further information about how the law determines what is "lead free", rules regarding which plumbing products must be "lead free", and who these laws will affect, please view our page.