It’s without question that almost all homesteads, whether in urban centers or rural areas, have pipes flowing with water. You might not be aware that such pipes are designed with threaded joints. Just so you know, the pipes and joint fittings are fused chemically with solvent glue that joins the pipes permanently. 

As a result, it becomes difficult to remove pipes and fittings when a leak occurs. Most of the time, you’ll be forced to cut them away. 

However, with most drain pipes, you can employ some repair options to stop leaks until you find a solution to your problem. For instance, you can apply silicone and rubber repair tape, PVC repair epoxy, and fiberglass wrap. 

Here, we consider some common options for fixing leaking threaded joints without cutting them. Let’s get started. 

Using A Thread Sealant

Thread sealants are materials that fill the threaded pipe joint or connection gaps. They aim to prevent fluids from leaking. 

Pipe thread sealants are available in two varieties which include tape and paste. You’ll have to use a finger or brush to apply the sealant to the leaking areas for the paste sealants. They’re available in different ingredients, with some using PTFE and others being made of rosin, alcohol, and minerals. 

There are also tape thread sealants which are a better alternative to paste sealants. Here, the sealant is sold in rolls with varying thickness, density, and width. You just need to wrap and press your tape around the leaking area. 

Applying PTFE Tape

Applying a thread sealant is quite straightforward, although there are wrong and right ways of doing it. And whether you decide to employ tape or paste, you must abide by the below two guidelines:

  • Avoid getting the thread sealant in the pipe
  • Always fill the threads

Follow the below steps to apply PTFE tape on your leaking threaded joint:

  1. First, you must clean the female and male threads of oil and dirt.
  2. Press a bit of tape on the last thread.
  3. Wrap your tape in a clockwise direction around the leaking threads. At the same time, keep the tape tight.
  4. Apply between 3 to 5 wraps. You still have the option of applying as many as you want.
  5. Tear your tape and then press it into the leaking thread joint.
  6. Finally, screw the threads into your joint. To tighten the threaded pipe fittings properly, abide by the manufacturer’s instructions.

Even though PTFE tape is enough on its own, some specialists recommend complementing it with pipe dope (paste). The truth is that the money and time spent on double-sealing will save you from future repairs. 

Other specialists recommend against combining tape and paste. Nevertheless, we’ll let you understand how to apply pipe dope.

Applying Pipe Dope

Just like with PTFE tape, applying pipe dope is also quite straightforward. The most critical thing is filling up the threads. 

But first, you need to acquire a reliable brush. You can also use your finger to complete the task. Follow the below steps to complete the process:

  1. The first step is cleaning the female and male threads of any oil and dirt. 
  2. You can then thoroughly mix pipe dope to ensure that the solvent and paste are combined properly. 
  3. Use either a finger or brush to coat the leaking thread joint. While filling the threads, ensure that the paste doesn’t get inside the pipe. 
  4. Finally, screw your male threads into the pipe fitting. Here, expect some paste (dope) to ooze out. Abide by the manufacturer’s instructions to tighten the leaking threaded fittings. 

Just so you know, if you decide to employ both PTFE tape and pipe dope, apply the tape first. You can then apply the paste over your tape. 

And when you put dope over your tape, ensure you paint it in a clockwise direction to prevent the unraveling of the tape. 

However, remember some dope types have to dry and have to get in contact with metal to achieve this. It means that you can’t use them with the tape. 

And when you decide to employ PTFE tape and pipe dope with plastic pipes, ensure that they don’t overtighten. The lubrication from the thread sealant will make the pipe easier to tighten, thus cracking the fitting. 

Using Repair Epoxy 

Another great opinion for fixing a leaking threaded joint is to use epoxy putty or pipe lining. Epoxy is an easy and quick solution, especially when used for minor leaks. Below are steps to repair your leaking threaded joint with epoxy:

  1. Turn off your water valve connecting to the leaking threaded joint. The valve is always located closer to the sink. 
  2. You can now locate the leaking pipe section. And since there will be some water buildup or drip around the leaking hole, you should wipe it away using a rag. We also recommend smoothing out rust or damage on your pipe with sandpaper. This is a critical step for preparing and cleaning before applying epoxy putty. 
  3. Remember, epoxy putty is available in two parts. Mix the parts together to create a chemical reaction with hardening and adhesive agents. Immediately model the epoxy together and press it against the leaking part. We assure you that the epoxy will dry in just a few minutes. 
  4. After allowing the epoxy to dry, you can again turn the valve on and begin running water. Ensure the epoxy is intact and there are no additional leakages from the pipe. 

Sometimes you might be unable to locate the leaks, or they might be too large to fix with epoxy putty. We recommend hiring a specialist to help you out in such a case. 

And even though some people have raised serious concerns about whether the application of chemical compounds in water systems is reliable, the use of epoxy has proven to be viable and safe. 

Using Rubber and Hose Clamps

Employing thick pieces of rubber and several hose clamps can also help you fix threaded joint leaks. Below are steps to help you out:

  1. Use a clean, dry rag to wipe your pipe. You can then dry around the portion you wish to repair. 
  2. Apply either a utility knife or pair of scissors to cut a patch of rubber to use around the pipe leak. Position this patch around the damaged part with precision. 
  3. At this point, you can loosen a pair of hose clamps and then position them over the rubber patch. Ensure the clamps are directly against the crack ends. You should also tighten hose clamps around your pipe. If you position the clamps correctly, the clamps will, without question, seal the leaks completely. 
  4. You can test the repair by running water through the pipes and threaded joints for any leakage signs. 

Using A Fiberglass Wrap

This is a fiberglass cloth with a coating of water-activated resin. Even though it can also fix leaky joints, it’s best when employed for patching leaks in pipe walls. 

Below are steps to follow to fix the leaking threaded joint with fiberglass wrap:

  1. Apply a clean and dry cloth to clean your pipe of possible moisture and residue. The fiberglass will bond well in the absence of contaminants. 
  2. You can cut fiberglass wrap that fits well around your intended repair area. Web your fiberglass fabric and then tightly wrap it around the leaking section. For the best outcomes, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. 
  3. Give the wrap some time to harden. For most products, it takes about 15-20 minutes. 

Final Remarks

When a threaded joint starts to leak, you have several options to fix it other than cutting it. You can employ a threaded sealant and repair epoxy, fiberglass wrap, and rubber & hose clamps. 

The method you use should be determined by your experience and plumbing skills. However, you can still hire a professional plumber to help you through everything. 

If you don’t fix your leaking threaded joints now, you might end up incurring more costs in water bills. 

Sources

How To Use Pipe Thread Sealant

How To Use Epoxy Putty To Stop Pipe Leak

How To Repair A Leaky PVC Drain Pipe