Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Swimming Pool Fittings (part 5)

 Those that are following this are probably getting tired of me spouting off about 2 inch fittings for a swimming pool.  Well, this should be the last post for a while about this.  I have finally found the solution I was looking for. A way to connect rigid pipe to flexible pipe to support a solar heater without having to go to ten different stores or wait weeks for parts to arrive.  I made my own barb fitting.

First get a union and cut a ring about 3/8 of an inch wide off the end of it.  This can be made easier by putting the union on the end of a pipe (no, don't glue it on) and clamp down the pipe.  I used a reciprocating saw for this, but a hack saw will work fine.

Now glue it to the end of the fitting you want to convert to a barb.  I used a street ell in this example since that is the fitting I need.  You can use a piece of pipe just as easily.  However, there is a possible problem.  The recommended way to glue these is to use a primer and then the glue.  That can fall apart when you put it under pressure.  Especially if you have cyclically changing pressure like a pump turning on and off at various times.  Exactly what I want to use it for.  Well, a call to the glue company solved this problem for me.  Use the "Red Hot" version of the glue WITHOUT any primer.  It seems the primer and glue combination is actually weaker than the regular old glue used alone and to get a really good bond, use the "Red Hot" version.  Some areas require that you use the primer; if that's one of your problems, just paint it with primer after you're done.  They can't tell the difference. 

Wait an hour for the glue to set up some, go to the bench grinder and bevel the ring.  If you don't have a bench grinder, use a rasp and finish it off with sand paper.  If you don't have a rasp, go to the store and get one.

This is the end result.  The barb can be tailored to fit the flexible tube exactly the way you want it to and it will hold.  My solar heater is back online running just fine at less than 8 pounds of pressure.  Here is a picture of the 'real' fitting that is needed.  If you can find this thing, it will make your life easier, but none, that is exactly zero, of the places in town that I managed to contact had even heard of anything like this.  If it wasn't for the price of gasoline I'd take this thing to each of the stores and show them that it exists and they should carry a couple of them.  But, I noticed during this project that Home Depot doesn't even carry a 2 inch street ell in their store stock; I had to go to either Ace Hardware or Lowe's to get one.  It's also nice to know that I can take this fitting and reuse it even though I cut it off the end of a pipe and it has a piece of 2 inch inside of it.  All I have to do is use either an inside coupler or a pipe extender to hook it up.  These two pieces of plumbing apparatus are basically unknown and not carried by stores.  So, this project has bumped up my experience level and now, I pass it on to you.

Now, I promise I won't talk about fittings again until I get the flexible tubing in that I ordered.

Next project??


  1. Just curious, you've looked at so many stores to get this fitting and put so much effort in trying to create a substitute. But where did you get this one from? :D

    1. It came with the pool heater and the company is now out of business. The fittings are available at various pool places at about $25 each. Way more than they are worth and they wouldn't tell me where they got them. I bet I could find them now since the web has expanded so much in the last couple of years, but I don't need to anymore, I can make my own for about a dollar each.