Leaks in plumbing joints can be very frustrating thing especially if you have to wait few days for plumber to come. By itself the leaks in plumbing joints normally don’t waste a whole lot of water but they can do a serious damage to your wall, furniture and they are especially dangerous if there are electrical installations nearby. There are few main reasons for leaks but the most common one is faulty installation, because properly assembled plumbing joint can last for decades. The most important thing when it comes to leaks in plumbing joints is that they are relatively easy to fix. Here is a simple tutorial on how to stop leaks in plumbing joints.
The most common joints in households are threaded joints and in some cases you will have compression joints. Both of them can be easily fixed using just basic tools.
All you need is:
1. Adjustable wrench 2. Slip joint pliers 3. Teflon tape 4. Teflon pipe joint compound 5. Rubber rings (optional)
When you identified the leak and when you obtained the needed tools and materials you can start with the repair. Normally, first you have to shut the nearest valve to turn the water off and open the pipe to release remaining pressured water inside. If you don’t know which valve is for the pipe with the leak then you can always shut down the main valve for entire house. To disassemble the joint you have to use adjustable wrench on the nut and slip joint pliers on the pipe to unscrew the joint. Do not try to unscrew the joint if you haven’t secured the pipe with pliers because you can damage the pipe.
After you disassembled the joint carefully inspect it for possible mechanical damages and to check if is there a rubber ring inside the joint. Some joints have rubber rings inside and damaged rubber ring is the most common reason for leaking. If you found the rubber ring always replace it with new rubber ring. Clean the threaded adapter with screwdriver or knife and apply the teflon tape. Some people find it hard to properly apply the teflon tape and that is why you can see it how it is properly done in the video below.
If teflon tape is wrapped properly that is usually enough for a tight seal but we recommend a thin layer of pipe joint compound on top of teflon tape for a great seal. Pipe joint compound or pipe dope is used as a sealant and lubricant of plumbing joints. It can be used on it’s own or in the combination with teflon tape.After you wrapped the tape and/or applied the compound it is time to put the joint back together. Don’t force it, you must start with the hand first and when the joint fits and when you can’t no longer screw it by your hand use the adjustable wrench and slip joint pliers to tighten the seal. It is important to emphasize it again, don’t force it to much, the screw almost never fits all the way because of the tape and compound.
When you are finished wipe the joint with paper towel to remove the excess compound and turn the water on. If there is no moisture coming from the joint then the seal is good and your job is done. If there are moisture or drops coming from the joint then you haven’t tighten it properly or you haven’t wrapped the tape properly. As you can see, the procedure is very simple and anyone can do it with just basic tools. It takes a couple of tries but you will quickly learn how to stop leaks in plumbing joints. Don’t waste your money on plumbers for every leak, you can really do it yourself!