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What can I do when putting in a coupling but there is not enough flex in the water pipe to get both sides of the coupling on?

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    What type of pipe copper, brass, steel, PVC, etc? – bib Jan 14 '14 at 19:46
  • Your mention of the term "flex" is probably eliminating this being the type of issue resolved in the posted answers so far. There is "flex" pipes that hook up faucets and the like, and there is plastic flex pipe for sprinkler heads, but neither of those are typical places where one would use "couplings". So unless you clarify, we are not going to be able to help you in any meaningful way, all you will get are SEWAGs (Semi-Educated Wild Ass Guesses) – J. Raefield Jun 17 at 23:57
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If you're dealing with copper, you will find two types of couplings. One has a stop in the center and one without. What you need in this case is the type without a stop. Without a stop, you can slip the coupling over the entire end of one pipe, and then slip it over the end of the other pipe.

With Stop (notice the dimple in the center)

With Stop
(source: homedepot.ca)

Without Stop

Without Stop http://www.usqualitysupplyinc.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/coupling-without-stop.jpg

  • +1 I'm not sure why I thought it was PVC, but if copper, this is better. The fixer does need to mark the pipes to be sure s/he gets good coverage of both sections before soldering. – bib Jan 14 '14 at 22:22
  • +1 on highlighting this important difference, that slip coupler is a life saver. Important that you gauge it so it's dead center on the joint. Been there, done that and it was a good tee shirt. BTW, you don't want to accidentally get a bag of the non centering ones UNLESS you like testing your skills every time you need one. – Fiasco Labs Jan 15 '14 at 5:02
  • Best answer can you edit it and call it a slip coupling by name? – user101687 Jun 15 at 0:27
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Often a union allows you to deflect each end of the pipe enough to place the adapter on that side. Then the amount of flex needed to align those sides is less than that needed for a standard coupler.

pvc union

Links and images are for illustration only and are not endorsements.
  • 1
    I'd also add to this: Step 1 - try to avoid this situation. Beyond the technical aspect of physically connecting pipes, plumbing has a bit of an art to it in terms of figuring out how to assemble everything, which you can really only learn through experience. Things like which sections to assemble on the floor before putting into place; being able to use an elbow as a hinge to connect a piece in place; leaving extra space between a wall, or not attaching pipes to walls until everything is in place. – gregmac Jan 14 '14 at 21:51
  • @gregmac Absolutely agree. But sometimes, through necessity or simply lack of forethought, you get in a spot where the only solution is to take out more than one section to get to a place where you can repair/modify. Better to avoid if possible. – bib Jan 14 '14 at 22:20

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