View Full Version : Hard plumbing 'how-to'

10/10/2007, 09:35 AM
know of a good how-to tutorial on hard plumbing ? Im trying to determine if I will have the tools/know-how to do my own plumbing before I fill my new tank.


10/10/2007, 10:35 AM
Utility Knife
Tape measurer

You can also get the PVC cutters that work similar to sheet metal sheers. They are maybe $12 a lowes or HD.

There is not much too it. You may want to grab a $10 PVC plumbing book at the store or search for articles online.

Cut the pipe
Debur the edges
paint with primer
paint with cement while primer is still wet
push fitting together with a twisting motion
hold for 30 seconds or so until the joint is firm

Not much too it :)

10/10/2007, 11:44 AM
Measure twice(or more) and cut once. Don't want to keep running back to the Hardware store.

10/10/2007, 11:58 AM
Use lots of unions.

They are a bit pricey, but one mistake, and sections can be removed & reworked much easier. You will also decide on changes later that will be MUCH easier with a few strategically placed unions.


10/10/2007, 01:01 PM
I also leave extra pipe between fittings in case I need to cut it and put in a coupler to extend it or change fittings. It gives me another chance if I mess up.

Don't forget the Teflon tape for threaded fittings. When looking at the mail adapter strait on put the tape on in a clock wise fashion. This way it will not unroll as you thread the other piece on. At least 3-4 wraps.

I like the PVC cutters for parts up to 1 1/4". Clean and fast. No burrs. The cutters that cut bigger pipe are much more expensive. That is when I use a hack saw.

When using the hacksaw take some tape and put it around the pipe where it line up with itself and your cut line. This will help you get a good square cut.

Do what Bean suggested also.

10/10/2007, 05:34 PM
The point so good it should be made twice: Measure twice. Cut once.

If you didn't nail it, redo it. Don't let replacing a $1.00 piece of pipe and a $.30 fitting keep you from redoing something that wasn't done correctly.

I use a sharpie to draw a line on the point on the pipe where it should stop going into the fitting, and I draw marks on the fitting and pipe to align after I've cemented to make sure everything lines up. Measure the best you can.

And I agree 100 percent with the point about leaving pipe between fittings, unions, etc. It gives you a chance to cut your way out of problems later.

10/10/2007, 07:58 PM
I wrote this up years ago. It may help you:)


10/10/2007, 08:05 PM
Always upsize unions and valves by 1 pipe size and then use a bushing to reduce them back down. The bushing will have a larger O.D. than the valve or union of the same size. In some cases this can be a very significant difference.

10/10/2007, 08:11 PM
Agreed. You can measure the orifices in them to see if they are smaller or not. Some manufacturers use "full flow" valves and unions, which simply means the ID of the fitting is the rated size.

I also go up at least one pipe size on the suction of the pump if its anyfarther than a foot away from the sump or tank.

10/10/2007, 09:34 PM
Thanks for all the input, this really helps as I realize due to sizing that i will need to make this a DIY... I'll be trying to set this up for the flow into my sum/refug. One more question: The hole from my overflow is is almost directly (about 3 inches horiz.) from my bulkhead and about 1.5 feet vertically. Is it best to keep the downpipe as straight as possible into the bulkhead or will this cause alot of noise ? The spiral pipe i got is three feet and just doesnt fit between the tank and bulkhead. Thanks again everyone, much appreciated. http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/500/166433lower2.JPG

10/11/2007, 09:06 AM
Thanks again for the tips, Im buying the tools/parts this weekend to do the overflow plumbing. Here is a top to bottom pic in case there are any design suggestions.

10/11/2007, 02:42 PM
<a href=showthread.php?s=&postid=10946699#post10946699 target=_blank>Originally posted</a> by BeanAnimal
Always upsize unions and valves by 1 pipe size and then use a bushing to reduce them back down. The bushing will have a larger O.D. than the valve or union of the same size. In some cases this can be a very significant difference.

So you are saying that if i plan to run 1"pvc for my drains that i should purchase 1 1/4" unions and valves correct?? and then just reduce them back to the 1" size.

10/11/2007, 02:46 PM
Yup... esp the cheaper unions and valves. They higher end stuff (Hayward, Spears, etc) is usually ported a bit better than the stuff sold at the big box stores. You also pay A LOT more for it.

10/11/2007, 03:11 PM
beananimal; thanks for the tip glad i have not purchased the plumbing pieces yet for my new setup, i will upsize the unions/valves.

p.s. if you have time i sent you a quick pm with a question since it is off of the subject here.

10/11/2007, 03:40 PM
replied in other thread.

10/11/2007, 05:08 PM
^^yes and thank you for your time & information..

10/11/2007, 05:10 PM
Not a problem at all. About the only reason I come here is to help people.