How to Stop Leaking Threaded Fittings

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Leaking pipes and fittings can present hazards in the home. Plastic and metal plumbing pipes often have threaded fittings, and if installed improperly, they can leak small amounts of water through the threads. There are a couple ways to easily stop small leaks in threaded fittings -- on both drain and water pipes. Make sure no water is flowing through the fitting when you work on the pipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Towel
  • Plumber's tape or pipe thread compound

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Using Plumber's Tape

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

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

Wrap the plumber's tape tightly around the male pipe, three to five times over. Wrap the tape clockwise in the direction of the threads.

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 tape.

Screw the fittings together as tightly as possible.

Using Pipe Thread Compound

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

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

Put a few drops of pipe thread compound on the threads of the male fitting. Use a few drops (usually three or four, 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.

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

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

Tips & Warnings

  • Pipe threads must be completely dry for plumber's tape or pipe thread compound to adhere.
  • Water can be run through 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.

References

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