Its been 6 months and I can't quite seem to find the parts I need for this.

I Need to attach a 1/2" OD (5/8" ID) tube to a 3/4" Copper Hydronic Baseboard Element. One end the Element is enlarged to connect to another copper pipe.

What I would like to do is find out what tools I need and what parts I need to connect the two together, preferably with quick connect fittings or whatever will not require expensive tools.

I'm using a 6" Baseboard Element to passively cool a large computer system, which appears to be work beautifully, but my current solution is not very good. It currently runs at about 2PSI and 5GPM, the pump is rated to 50PSI - so I'm reasonably certain there shouldn't be any flow problems.

Can you guys help me out? I have not worked much with plumbing, and I can't seem to find barbed reducer that will fit straight up. I also don't have a clue where to look for parts.

  • Vinyl tube? Do you mean PEX? Nov 6 '12 at 11:08
  • A picture of the pipe you're trying to connect would be helpful.
    – Tester101
    Nov 6 '12 at 12:07
  • 3
    Your tubing defies the laws of reality (1/2" OD < 5/8" ID). Finding a connector for that may be difficult. :)
    – BMitch
    Nov 6 '12 at 12:11
  • Yikes, I apologize for that! I entered the OD and ID backwards, it is in fact 5/8" OD and 1/2" ID. The baseboard is a 'standard 3/4" copper tube' as far as the box specified. Here is the 1/2" Tube itself: xoxide.com/1id5odclvitu.html
    – user9037
    Nov 6 '12 at 19:25

Your most likely solution is to create the connector you need with two pieces - one to go from PEX (assuming that's what you have since Vinyl is not an approved plumbing material) to copper and one to go from 1/2" to 3/4".

When working with copper you generally have to sweat (aka solder) fittings, or less frequently screw them together (generally that's for end point connections like drop ears).

Lets start with what you need:

For your PEX connector, get a 1/2" to 3/4" PEX to female pipe thread connector (FPTC)

enter image description here

and a 3/4" - 3/4" copper male threaded adapter

enter image description here

Be sure to get the copper adapter that will fit over the end of your copper pipe as some adapters are sized to fit inside other fittings while others are sized to receive pipe. Test fit them in the store.

You will need to solder the 3/4" copper to the male threaded adapter. See this video:


Note: 3-4 seconds of solder is too long. Notice how much solder drips off of his fitting in that video. That solder is molten metal and it will land on something. 1 second is plenty - you're looking for somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2" of solder to melt and vanish into the fitting.

Allow that fitting to cool completely (use a damp cloth to speed the process), then wrap silicone tape around the male threads. Wrap in the direction of the threads, and only put about 2 layers of silicone over the threads.

Now very tightly screw the female to pex adapter onto the male threads. Make this fitting as tight as you can using two wrenches - one to hold the pipe steady and the other to tighten the fitting.

Finally insert your pex tube firmly into the sharkbite fitting of your female connector.

  • I have no issues with soldering, but unfortunately i'm not using PEX. I added a comment with to link for the tube i'm using on the main post. Thanks for the information on soldering the copper tube though.
    – user9037
    Nov 6 '12 at 19:14

In the UK we use pushfit connectors that fit copper and 'speedfit plastic pipes'. Not sure if you can get them where you are, but these make the job very easy.

Examples via the link.

Wickes Pushfit Supplies

  • That is exactly the type of connecter I'm searching for, but it looks like I'll likely need multiple pieces to complete the connection to the 1/2 tube. That's where I'm stuck, it seems no one makes a 1/2" barb from a 3/4" adapter.
    – user9037
    Nov 6 '12 at 19:17

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