Leak proof plumbing for new builds part 1: MDPE fittings

Baby having bath in sink

As the UK government looks to ‘build back better, build back faster, build back greener’, new build homes will undoubtedly be a vital part of the recovery, and houses will need to be built faster. Plumbing and heating (P&H) installers have a big role to play in achieving this goal, and by selecting the right plumbing materials for the job you can help fast-track housebuilding.

However, while speed of installation is key, this must not be at the expense of quality and reliability. In this blog, we discuss how push-fit MDPE fittings can speed up installation of the mains water supply into a house, alongside future-proofing the system for years to come.

Importance of leak-free and sustainable homes

Before we discuss MDPE fittings though, we would like to first highlight some alarming facts around water leaks.

Fact 1 – There is a 1 in 4 chance in the next 30 years that large numbers of households will have their water supply cut off for an extended period because of severe drought? That’s according to the 2018 National Infrastructure Commission report.

Fact 2 – Ofwat, the Water Services Regulation Authority, found that more than 200,000 customers were left without water for more than four hours and tens of thousands were cut off for days in 2018, due to frozen pipes bursting when we were hit by the ‘Beast from the East’.

Building leak proof homes will help prevent the above from happening again, while saving consumers’ money and conserving water. WaterSafe is already committed to this cause and highlights that “about a quarter of leaks are found on the underground pipes which connect properties to water mains”. This is an area where MDPE pipes and fittings are predominantly used, let’s understand what makes it a preferred material for such installations.

What are MDPE fittings?

MDPE – medium-density polyethylene – fittings, sometimes known as the ‘black and blue’ fittings, are specifically designed to cope with a rough underground life.

Built with a robust and heavy-duty material, these fittings connect mains water supplies into homes and are typically installed in underground trenches. Once installed, the trenches are subsequently filled in by heavy machinery.

However, there are many challenges with the installation of these fittings. Trenches are muddy and contaminants can easily get into the fitting. Visibility can be low too when the weather conditions are poor, making it difficult to determine if you’ve made a secure, water-tight seal, particularly if using fittings with compression connections. Compression fittings can also become loose over time, which then causes leaks that are hard to rectify.

Here, push-fit offers huge benefits and can lead to a much simpler and more efficient installation.

MDPE push-fit fittings

MDPE push-fit fittings make connection to mains water supply easier

With push-fit MDPE fittings like those in our JG Speedfit range the risks above are significantly reduced. These fittings have a built-in seal and the connection can be made by simply pushing the pipe into it. This diminishes the chance of exposing the interior of the pipework to contamination.

Our fittings with push-fit connections comprise of highly engineered collets with stainless-steel teeth that strongly grip the MDPE pipe to create the most reliable seal in even harsh weather conditions. Like other JG Speedfit ranges, no specialist tools are required, and the fittings are fully demountable. This makes them extremely quick and easy to fit in tight and awkward spaces with poor visibility.

The MDPE push-fit fittings also overcome all issues presented by compression fittings that need to be rotated once laid into the ground and require several components to create a secure connection. For instance, to connect a compression tee you will need, three compression nuts, three seals and three compressive elements, which must be assembled piece by piece onto the pipe. Connecting these several components in muddy trenches can be a challenge, whereas push-fit technology makes these jobs a lot easier and faster.

Available in all common pipe sizes of 20mm, 25mm and 32mm, along with a wide variety of connectors that include stop taps, stop ends, reducing tees and more, our push-fit MDPE range includes everything that you need to get the job done.

MDPE push-fit fittings connecting to copper

Here to help shape a leak-proof future

As the demand for new build houses increases, it can be easy to rush jobs and make mistakes. However, with underground pipework, these mistakes can result in huge costs not just to installers, but also to customers and the environment, as thousands of gallons of water can end up being wasted through leaks.

With push-fit MDPE fittings, you can be sure to create a reliable and leak-proof connection each time, and help conserve water in the years to come. Our range is manufactured to strict British standards and is WRAS approved, which guarantees that the fittings are tested and built to the highest quality.

If you need assistance with installing underground pipework, our technical teams are on hand to help you select the right products and provide best practice advice. You can get in touch with us here.

Look out for our next blog in this series, where we’ll be looking at more ways to create leak-proof homes for the future.

How to connect MDPE fittings

Made from heavy-duty material, our MDPE push-fit fittings can withstand tough environments and harsh weather conditions.

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Richard Bateman

Product Marketing Manager Plumbing and Heating

About the author

A highly experienced and passionate professional, I have over 15 years' experience as a commercial and domestic plumber and hold NVQ Level 3 qualifications from City and Guilds

Since joining RWC in 2015, I began as a technical engineer, utilising my extensive knowledge to provide exceptional support. Currently, I am thrilled to be working with the marketing department as a Product Marketing Manager. 

This role allows me to combine my technical background with a keen eye for market trends, ensuring that RWC's products meet the evolving needs of the industry. With my wealth of experience and commitment to excellence, I am proud to serve as a spokesperson for RWC, sharing our innovative solutions and contributing to the growth of the plumbing and heating sector.