Almost all homeowners across the country have pipes flowing with water. However, plumbing connections may leak after some time because of wear and tear or poor quality. These leaks can be a real pain as it increases your utility bills and causes damage to your property.
You can use waterproof duct tape and wrap it around the leaking pipe for a quick emergency fix. Then again, this is just a temporary solution to your problem. The best way to fix leaks is to do a quality job with the threaded joint using a pipe sealant, thread tape, or a repair epoxy.
Now that you know how to fix a leaking on your threaded fittings, let us dive into the detail of each of those steps, shall we? This will not only give you a better understanding of your leaking problems but also guide you in your future plumbing installations and prevent any unnecessary errors. Continue reading to find out more.
Why Do My Threaded Joints Leak?
Threaded fittings are used in connecting pipes and fixtures. However, they are prone to leaks when installed incorrectly or sealed poorly. A common mistake homeowners make is using plumber's putty to seal a leak instead of a pipe joint compound or thread tape.
Before any project, one must diagnose and check the type of damage to create a suitable repair. Therefore, selecting the proper sealant is the first and most crucial step in any DIY sealing job.
Plumber's putty is an oil-based plumbing sealant that acts as flexible caulk where you need water resistance. However, it cannot withstand much water pressure, which makes it ideal as a sealant between the base of the faucet and the surface of the sink and between the rim of the basket drain and the sink.
Plumbers' putty can only be used to temporarily stop an emergency leak in certain situations, such as a cracked sink slip joint. It cannot be used as a replacement for other pipe sealants.
Teflon tape, or thread tape, is a commonly used sealant. They give a reliable seal on threaded pipe joints for liquid and gases with considerable pressure. Teflon tape is a thin film that comes in different types and densities and is color-coded depending on its use. White tapes are suited for water supply, while yellow tapes are used on gas lines.
Pipe Joint Compound
Pipe joint compound is a thread-sealing adhesive used to prevent leaks in pipes and fittings. It has different formulations that accommodate different leaks, such as water, gas, or oil.
It can hold its seal under pressure and provide a more robust seal than Teflon tapes. Some plumbers use them together to give a tighter fit.
Using A Pipe Joint Compound
Pipe sealants stop water from leaking through the threaded connection between the pipes. Pick a formulation that can withstand the pressure and temperature it'll be subjected to and the materials you are working with.
Things you will need:
- Adjustable wrench
- Wire brush
- Pipe joint Compound or Pipe Sealant
- PVC Cleaner
- PVC Glue
Got all the materials that we need? Good, let's go ahead and start fixing the leak.
- First, you must shut down the leaking joint's water supply.
- Then, cut the pipe on either side of the leaking pipe and at least one inch from the fitting. This will allow you to unscrew the fittings at the joints.
- Using your wrench, disconnect the joint. Hold one side of the fitting firmly while turning the other side to loosen and separate the two pieces.
- With the wire brush, clean both the male and female fitting threads. Remove old pipe sealants, corrosion, and other debris. Usually, you will need a standard wire brush for the male fitting and a wire bottlebrush for the female.
- Apply a generous amount of pipe sealant on the thread of the male fittings.
- Thread the male into the female fitting until it is a snug fit with an additional one or two turns.
- Install a coupling to reconnect the pipes appropriately.
- Turn the water back on to check for leaks.
You'll have to consider some additional things when installing a coupling.
For PVC Pipes
- Clean the PVC pipe ends with PVC cleaner.
- Apply a generous amount of PVC glue to the pipes and connect them with a coupling.
For Copper Pipes
- Sand the pipe ends to get that smooth surface
- Apply pipe flux
- Join the two pipes with a copper coupling and solder them together
Check out this video for a step-by-step guide on how to fix a leak with a sealant.
Using A Teflon Tape To Seal A Leaking Thread Joint
- Order Teflon tape from Amazon or go to the nearest hardware store. Choose the white one, which is the most suitable for water leaks.
- Start wrapping it around the male thread of the pipe. Wrap it around three times and tightly enough for it to seal unto itself.
- Cut the tape from the roll and smooth it over the pipe threads.
- Connect the other end of the pipe joint and tighten it.
- You may apply a sealant or pipe joint compound over the Teflon for better results.
Using A Repair Epoxy
Another excellent fix for leaking joints is to use epoxy or pipelining. It is an easy and quick solution for minor leaks. To do this,
- Always turn off the water supply when repairing leaks.
- Locate the section of the pipe that has leaks and wipe away any water buildup from the drips.
- Sand out any rust or damage to smoothen your pipe in preparation for epoxy application.
- Epoxy putty is available in two parts. Mix the parts to trigger the chemical reaction of the hardening and adhesive agents.
- Immediately model the epoxy and press it against the leaking part. This should dry out quickly.
- Once the epoxy dries, turn on the water supply to check for leaks.
- Soak hard to remove fittings in penetrating oil.
- Apply thread tape to the male thread first, followed by a coat of pipe joint compound for a better seal.
- Do not overtighten plastic fittings, as they can easily be cracked when forced. Hand-tighten the fittings, then give them an additional turn or two.
How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Leaking Joint?
Sometimes you might encounter trouble locating the leaks, or they may be too large to fix by yourself. In these cases, you can always a hire professional plumber to help you out.
On average, the cost of fixing leaks in joints is about $150-$850, depending on the extent of the damage. This rate is exclusive of the labor cost because professional plumbers charge an additional $250 to fix the issue.
This might be a lot of money to some people, so here are a few ways to save a couple of bucks!
- Take care of simple and minor plumbing jobs yourself.
- Practice proper plumbing maintenance rather than just reacting to damages that need repair. You can schedule an inspection on all the plumbing aspects in your home to ensure all the fixtures are in good condition.
- Get a detailed estimate cost for the plumbing work before it is done to avoid surprises.
- Choose a plumber that warranties the work done. This helps you avoid additional costs when there is a need to rework the project.
- Take advantage of the free plumbing estimates. Most professionals provide quotes on plumbing jobs. If you have leaks, they will come and look at the leak to tell you how much it'll cost.
To Sum It Up
Leaks can be extremely painful, especially when we aren't knowledgeable about how to fix them. You may immediately call your local plumbers to do the job at a high cost, or you can do it yourself!
Always remember that prevention is better than cure. So, it is best to keep a schedule of maintenance for all of our plumbing fixtures to avoid unnecessary expenses for damage repairs.
If you found this post helpful, be sure also to check out some of our other home repair posts: