Leaks and drips are the main problems that plumbers face every day. There are dozens of different kinds. Some leaks are minor, like annoying little joint leaks that drip and drives you crazy. Some are severe, like leaks that flood your basement or ruin your walls. No matter what kind of plumbing problem you face, there’s a way to address it.
Leaks are a particularly common problem in plumbing joints. There are three main types of pipe joints: Teflon, compression, and slip joints. Each of these joints springs leaks in its own way, but there’s always a way to address them. Here’s how to identify and prevent leaks in each type of common plumbing joint.
Connections that use threaded pipes and fittings are leak-prone unless sealed with either Teflon tape or a Teflon pipe-joint compound. If you have a leak problem, it’s easy to address using these two helpful materials. For pipes with male threads, wrap threads clockwise with Teflon tape. Three layers is enough, but you can wrap up to five times if the fitting feels especially loose.
Once you’ve applied the tape, spread some of that joint compound on top. Wipe away extras before re-attaching. Your joint should be sealed, and any potential leaks will no longer be a problem.
Compression joints are usually connected to shut-off valves, but you could use them for several other purposes throughout the home. You can use the Teflon pipe-joint compound you used on your threaded joints again here. Compression joints have plastic or brass rings inside them that can slip and slide out of place, causing leaks.
Use Teflon pipe-joint compound to lubricate the joint and then use pliers to tighten the joint as far as it can go. Once the lubrication dries, the tightened fixture should resist leaks quite effectively.
Slip joint washers are usually used inside of chrome p-traps. Unfortunately, they’re quite fragile and tend to leak easily. To fix a loose joint, you’ll want to buy a new set of washers and nuts. To keep the replacements from sticking when you install them, use pipe-joint compound again as a lubricant.
Put the nut on by hand. Engage it, then use slip-joint pliers to tighten the nuts as far as you can. This simple replacement should help keep leaks at bay.
If, despite your best efforts, you’re still having problems with leaking pipe joints, don’t fret. Call up the trained professionals at Ben Franklin Plumbing and we’ll send someone by as soon as possible. We’ll find and fix your leak fast, every time.