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Thread: Threaded pipe leaks

  1. #1
    DIY Member MushCreek's Avatar
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    Default Threaded pipe leaks

    I just pressurized the supply in my new house. All the PEX is tight and dry, but the threaded connections are leaking, as usual. For each fixture, I used a drop-ear elbow with a threaded pipe nipple and a stop valve. Out of 11 such fittings, 4 of them leak where the stop valve connects to the pipe nipple. It seems like in recent years, I've had more and more trouble getting pipe fittings to seal- poor imported quality, I would guess.

    Any recommendations for a better seal? I've tried teflon tape, both regular and extra thick. I've tried several kinds of teflon pipe dope. Any ideas before I glue the fittings with some kind of epoxy??

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Tighten them properly.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Toss the TPFE tape, (there is no "Teflon" pipe tape), and use joint compound like I always do.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member asktom's Avatar
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    Make sure the valves don't have hairline cracks. That can happen if they are overtightened.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The quality of the fittings in general has gone down with most of them being imports, verses made here. To save that extra penny, they don't sharpen their tools as often, or adjust things for wear, so the threads can be really crappy. The tape has a harder time sealing than pipe dope when the threads are crappy, as if they are rough, it can cut or tear the tape. The pipe dope fills in those voids better; just make sure to got a good coat all the way around. But, it could easily be you just didn't tighten them enough.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #6
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Tighten them properly.
    Quote Originally Posted by asktom View Post
    Make sure the valves don't have hairline cracks. That can happen if they are overtightened.
    Damned if you do, damned if you don't. I had a thread fitting that I had to torque the crap out of to stop it from dripping. Low and behold, 10 years later it decided to crack and flooded my crawlspace.

    I stopped using tape decades ago and only use joint compound now.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member craigpump's Avatar
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    We have the best luck using a few wraps of Teflon tape and then coating the tape with RectorSeal.

    Yeah I know it sounds like overkill, but our tank installations don't leak.

  8. #8
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    It's like religion.
    Many ways to the same goal.
    I've done it every way I can think of and made them all work.

    If it's done tight enough, even rubbing a bar of soap on the threads is going to work.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member dj2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigpump View Post
    We have the best luck using a few wraps of Teflon tape and then coating the tape with RectorSeal.

    Yeah I know it sounds like overkill, but our tank installations don't leak.
    That's exactly what I usually do.

    Make sure you thread the shower arm correctly. Done correctly I don't see how you will get a leak.

  10. #10
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Personally, I hate tape. Never use it for anything. I use rector seal #5 for damn near everything. Not a fan of Teflon compounds either. It's too easy to over tighten the joint and damage things.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  11. #11
    DIY Member MushCreek's Avatar
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    I've even had leaks with RectorSeal. How tight is tight enough? I used the big 17" Channelocks, and I'm a pretty strong guy. Much more, and I'd probably split the fitting. Reminds me of a Mitsubishi car I once had. The factory oil filter had the instructions, "Tighten enough". While we're at it, how DO you tighten stop valves up without chewing up the nice chrome? There isn't enough flat area for a wrench.

  12. #12
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. Did ya use them 17 inchers the 1st time? An 8" adjustable is plenty. Perhaps you ovaled the nipple with them big honking channel locks in which case..... It's new nipple and probably valve time.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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