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Thread: PVC Cement came undone... sort of.

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member Rob_E's Avatar
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    Default PVC Cement came undone... sort of.

    Hello All,

    Yesterday I was installing a tee fitting and hose bib in my garage on the 3/4 in line that comes in from the outside water line. This is my first real try at any sort of plumbing with regard cutting/glueing. After assembling, I let it sit for about 1.5 hours before turning the house water back on.

    When I turned the pressure back on, the pvc fittings all worked. Unfortunately I didn't have the two brass fittings (transition fitting off the tee, and the bib) as tight as I thought. As I was almost done fully tightening the brass fittings and reorienting the bib properly, the glued pvc transition fitting turned with it and slid about halfway out.

    The bond reformed somewhat while still under pressure and it's holding, but it seems to have a very small leak and I'm not thinking it's smart to leave it long term... or even short term.

    So, the question is, if I can get that fitting lose by continuing to turn it, would I be able to put it back in and reglue it? Or are the fittings unusable at this point? Since that fitting is going into the tee, I'd rather not have to start over. That said, I'd rather it be done right than fail later.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
    As I was almost done fully tightening the brass fittings and reorienting the bib properly, the glued pvc transition fitting turned with it and slid about halfway out.
    Always hold the other side of a connection being tightened so you do not stress any connection/s behind it.

    The bond reformed somewhat while still under pressure and it's holding, but it seems to have a very small leak and I'm not thinking it's smart to leave it long term... or even short term.

    So, the question is, if I can get that fitting lose by continuing to turn it, would I be able to put it back in and reglue it? Or are the fittings unusable at this point?
    You will likely not be able to get that joint apart without breaking or ruining something, and the connection will likely ultimately fail as it is since it will become hard (brittle) in its already-weak state. So, it will be best to go get new fittings...and now you know how to avoid trouble next time!
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Did you use the cleaner first? This is important, as it really does a couple of things: cleans the fitting and pipe and presoftens and etches it so the cement can make the solvent weld properly. Then, depending on how much you use, it can take awhile for the solvent to all evaporate and until then, it can remain somewhat soft. In a drainage system, that's often not a big issue as it's not normally under pressure. It could be on a supply system. Also keep in mind that the socket in the fitting is an interference fit...it's tapered, and will want to push the pipe back out until the cement has hardened up a bit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    Beginners often do not understand how PVC and ABS plastic pipes and fitting are joined, so don't feel too bad. It is fixable without too much effort or expense. First, you need to understand the so-called glue for these materials are not glue in the normal sense of the term. They are solvents that liquify the surfaces of the the pipe and fitting for a few seconds. After sliding the pipe into the joint, if possible, twist the pipe or fitting something like 1/4 turn. Then hold the joint together for several seconds as there is a tendency for the pipe to push out of the fitting. What happens during this period of time is the two liquified surfaces flow together and create a solvent weld. Somewhat similar to welding metal where heat liquifies the metal surfaces. It does take a few minutes for the joint to be really solid enough to withstand twisting. Now to your problem and the solution. No, you can not separate the joint and reglue it. You will have to cut the pipe and toss the used fitting and start over. This will most likely require using a new fitting, a couple of couplers and a short piece of pipe. As previously mentioned, always use primer (cleaner) and make sure the solvent goes all the way around the pipe and inside the fitting. Once assembled, don't move the joint for 3 minutes or so. No need to wait and hour before applying water.

  5. #5
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Afer 1 1/2 hours, there is no way a "proper" PVC joint would have "turned OR slid halfway out". AND, if they did they would NOT have "resealed" themselves. You are either misstating what happened, or you have some special fitting that you are not telling us about.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    Either it was not really PVC pipe or the glue was not really PVC cement. I've seen stuff like that happen when somebody used that
    bogus "all-purpose" pipe cement.

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