Sanitary Tee vs. Wye: Everything You Need to Know

sanitary tee vs wye

Sanitary Tee and Wye are parts of the drain vent system. If you are doing plumbing works, you may have to use them in some sort. However, they look almost similar, and this confuses a lot of people. Especially to choose the one that best fits your drain system.

Though they look almost similar, they’re not the same at all. They have different uses and advantages. So it is better if you get a better idea of the sanitary tee vs. the wye.

What is a Sanitary Tee?

What is a Sanitary Tee

A Sanitary tee refers to a plumbing fitting used to drain water and vent the plumbing system. It connects the branch line to a vertical line. If you view the tee from the side, you will see a downward sweep, which is molded into the tee. It helps liquids to go toward the drain. ABS plastic, copper or cast iron, sanitary tees are made of all types.

What is a Wye?

What is a Wye

Wye is a fitting solution that has three openings connected to each other (at a 45° angle). It is Y shaped and helps join three pipelines together. A wye is used to connect horizontally to vertical planes.

Difference between a Sanitary Tee and A Wye

A sanitary tee is shaped like the letter ‘T’, while a Wye is similar to ‘Y’. Sanitary tee is used for horizontal to vertical transition, and Wye is used for combining 2 lines into one horizontal line to maintain a flow without causing clogging.

Both of these fittings have different usage and can not be switched. So before doing plumbing work, make sure that you have a good understanding of using a sanitary tee and a wye.

Usage of a Sanitary Tee

A sanitary tee has its own benefits and place. Following are some situations when you should use a Sanitary tee.

  • When you’re joining a horizontal line, you should use a sanitary tee. Such as a waste arm to a vertical riser.
  • Sometimes, a sanitary tee is also used in place of a vent tee when plumbing vent lines. It helps to maintain the proper flow.
  • When you are using a sanitary tee, you should not lay it on its back with sides opening because this will result in an upstream splash of waste when it hits the bottom of the horizontal pipe. This will create clogging inside the line.

Usage of a Wye

Wye joints three pipes at a 45° angle. So, you need to know only when you can use it. Following are some of the examples.

  • Wye is used to connect a horizontal drainpipe to a vertical one. It reduces the entrained solid at the junction.
  • It is also used to split branch lines. With a Wye, a line can be divided into two equal lines in two different directions.
  • A special kind of Wye is used for help insertion of pigging that keeps the pipes clear and maintains the flow.

Frequently Asked Questions on Sanitary Tee vs. Wye

Q 1: What is a Sanitary Combo?

Ans: It is a combination of the wye and ⅛ bend and used as a single fitting.

Q 2: Can I use a Wye Horizontally?

Ans: Wye is only used for going from horizontal to the vertical plane. If you use them horizontally, they will be exposed to clogging.

Q 3: Can I Use Wye for Venting?

Ans: Wye can be used on the horizontal venting of the shower, tub, or lav. Sometimes, it is required for venting if someone wants to use that as a drain, if in any case.

Q 4: What is a Double Sanitary Tee?

Ans: A double sanitary is more like a cross but different than supply cross fittings. It was used for connecting drains of fixtures that are side by side, but at present, it is prohibited, and a double fitting cross is required to minimize waste.

Q 5: Can I Use Sanitary Tee on its side?

Ans: No, you can not do that. This is due to the flow restriction.

Sanitary Tee vs. Wye Everything You Need to Know


These terms are hard to remember. So, when you have everything ready for work, you better read the article again. Because if you use a sanitary tee in place of a wye you will have a huge mess. So be careful and one more thing you should keep in mind. There are specific codes and standards under the USA Plumbing Authority on which part can be used where. This for keeping the wastage at a minimum rate. And you must follow them. Search on google for any assistance.

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Sanitary Tee vs. Wye: Everything You Need to Know
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