When to Use Teflon Tape in Plumbing?

Written by christopher john
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Teflon tape is also called plumber's tape and thread seal tape and is used in plumbing to seal the threads on pipe connections. It is made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and is a thin, white tape With certain plumbing repair and installation jobs, using Teflon tape helps you to avoid doing the job over or encountering costly leaks.

On Fixtures

Teflon tape helps provide a watertight seal when you install the water supply lines onto kitchen and bathroom sink faucets and on toilets. These supply lines are made of different materials and can be braided stainless steel, braided plastic, chrome, copper or other types. Also, when you install the sink's drain, wrap Teflon tape around the threaded end of the tailpiece before screwing it onto the bottom of the drain body. Also wrap Teflon tape around the end of the pipe that you install the bathtub spout onto.

Steel Pipes

Unless the joints between steel pipe connections are very tight, they are likely to eventually spring leaks. Many older homes especially use galvanised steel for the water supply pipes, and the joints are prone to develop rust. Therefore, use Teflon tape on connections between steel pipes, valves and fittings. Black steel pipe is not used for water supplies but is used only for gas lines. In general, wrap the threads of steel pipes in Teflon tape, and securely tighten the connections.

Brass Cleanout Plugs

Use Teflon tape in a list of other instances during plumbing. For example, when you have a main drain clog, you often need to remove the blockage with an auger inserted through a cleanout. To access the cleanout, you first remove the plug. Cast-iron cleanouts often have a brass plug, which is often difficult to remove. If you decide to keep the brass plug on the cleanout after you clear the clog, wrap the plug threads with Teflon tape and then reinstall it.

Teflon Tape Tips

Take certain steps to ensure you apply the tape properly, which affects whether the tape works properly. When you install Teflon tape on pipe threads and tighten a connection, then take the connection back apart, place new tape on the threads instead of leaving the same tape on. Wrap the tape in the same direction as the pipe threads, which is the direction that you will turn the pipe when you attach it. If you wrap the tape in the wrong direction, it simply unwinds while you screw the pipe connection together.

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