How to Stop Leaking Threaded Fittings

Written by dr. robert manning
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Leaking pipes and fittings can present hazards in a home setting. Plumbing is the most common type of piping that has threaded fittings in use, and if installed improperly, they can leak small amounts of water through the threads. There are several ways to easily stop small leaks in threaded fittings.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Towel
  • Teflon tape or pipe thread compound

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Instructions

    Using Teflon Tape

  1. 1

    Unscrew the two halves of the threaded fitting and inspect the threads to ensure they are not damaged.

  2. 2

    Clean any grit or old sealant out of the male and female threads and dry the threads with a clean towel.

  3. 3

    Wrap the Teflon tape tightly around the pipe, three to five times over. Wrapping opposite the direction of the threads helps to prevent the tap from bunching as the fittings are screwed together.

  4. 4

    Push the tape into the threads and push air bubbles out of the threads by running your thumb around the threads in the same direction as the Teflon tape.

  5. 5

    Screw the fittings together as tightly as possible.

    Using Pipe Thread Compound

  1. 1

    Unscrew the two halves of the threaded fitting and inspect the threads to ensure they are not damaged.

  2. 2

    Clean any grit or old sealant out of the male and female threads and dry the threads with a clean towel.

  3. 3

    Put a few drops of pipe thread compound on the threads of the male fitting. Use a few drops (usually 3 or 4, but more may be necessary depending on the size of the fitting), evenly spaced around the fitting. Put the drops of pipe thread compound on the same threads at each point around the fitting.

  4. 4

    Screw the fittings together as tightly as possible. Wipe around the fitting with a towel to remove any excess compound.

  5. 5

    Let the pipe thread compound dry completely before running water through the pipe.

Tips and warnings

  • Pipe threads must be completely dry for Teflon tape or pipe thread compound to adhere.
  • Water can be run through Teflon taped fittings immediately after installation.
  • Pipe thread compound may take up to 12 hours to completely dry and seal the fitting.
  • Pipe thread compound may be toxic. Always wear safety goggles when performing any plumbing or household repair.

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