If you are a plumber, or you have any pipe or plumbing work planned, you will no doubt have thought about the tools that you will need i.e. a wrench, plunger, and plumber's snake. However, there are also literally thousands of plumbing fittings to consider. Every plumbing job is different, and to this end, an array of plumbing fittings may also be required.
Plumbers will generally carry around the most commonly used plumbing fittings, but will order in any that are less common, as it is very difficult to keep every fitting and part in stock. Although plumber's fittings are generally not very expensive to purchase, it would be impractical to keep every fitting in stock, not least due to the amount of space that they would require.
Let's consider pipe fittings alone - there are hundreds of styles and finishes available - from brass to chrome and from covers and pipe clips to compression fittings and solder ring fittings. Washing machine fittings create a whole new set of fittings, from hoses to replacement valves - there are replacement parts for virtually any repair job.
So, which plumbers fittings should you keep in stock? Many plumbers tend to keep a range of commonly-used copper fittings in stock i.e. couplings, caps, plugs, brass unions and drop ear elbows and a selection of iron and plastic fittings. Many also tend to purchase joining materials i.e. copper to galvanised union connectors. In short - any fittings that they use on a regular basis.
If you are not a plumber by trade and just need the basics, it's best to evaluate the fittings that you require on a job-by-job basis. This way, you can order in the fittings that you need, as and when they are required. It also eliminates the need to find storage for large quantities of hardware. As you become more aware of the fittings that you need for specific jobs, you can pre-order spares to use in the future.
There are a number of plumbing/DIY shops now available, both in retail units and online. Many of these shops will deliver to your home address at a reasonable cost - and some even offer quicker delivery options i.e. next day courier - allowing you to get your fittings even sooner. However, if you do have a plumbing emergency and need your plumbing fittings the same day, you can pay a visit to your local DIY supplier.