A YouTube viewer reached out to me this past week and made a request That I do a video on threaded pipe sealant. I guess to me pipe threaded sealant is not such a glamorous subject but after a little research, it looks like people want to know this stuff! So I shot the video to give you my thoughts on the subject.
A lot of folks ask the question “do I need to use threaded pipe sealant, what kind should I use or should I use Teflon tape”? Generally speaking I would say it depends on the job circumstances, personal preference, and what you have available at the time. First, let’s talk about pipe threads. Pipe threads are made using a pipe stock & die just like the one in the video below.
They’re tapered by design and as you make up the pipe into a fitting it gets tighter the further in it goes. Tightening is always in a clockwise direction and loosening in a counter-clockwise direction. In a perfect world and a perfect set of cutting dies you should be able to make up a fitting onto a piece of pipe and it shouldn’t leak. But in the real world, there are microscopic imperfections in pipe threads that can’t be seen by the human eye.
Enter “threaded pipe sealant”. To me, the number one reason to use it is to lubricate the male
threads of a piece of pipe which will aid in the tightening process and seal any small inconsistencies in the pipe threads. How tight is tight enough? Well that’s accomplished through feel and years of practice. The fact is you can over tighten a piece of pipe which will cause the female fitting to overly expand (brass pipe in particular) causing to the joint to fail.
The threaded pipe sealants of today have come a long way since I started as a young apprentice. Back then I used a petroleum based product called “pro dope” made by the company Hercules along with a spool of plumbers wick. I would wind the wick in between the male threads, follow it up with an application of “pro dope” and I was good to go.
They still make “pro dope” and I think they’ve even made it more environmentally friendly. Fast forward to the introduction of Teflon Tape and PTFE paste thread sealants, we have many more choices in deciding which one is the best application for the job. I for one generally use a combination of Teflon Tape and PTFE pipe thread sealant on most of the everyday job’s I perform. But that could change at a moments notice.
Which one I use in a specific situation is all going to depend on the job circumstances. If I’m working on pipe that’s in good condition, I’ll use one method. If I’m working on really old questionable plumbing, I’ll use another method or a combination of two or three of the products available. I demonstrate all my techniques in the video below, so why not take a look and tell me what you think. With all the products available on the market, I can see how you might get confused. Hopefully, I cleared up some of that confusion and as usual, if you have questions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.