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Old 05-16-2009, 09:42 PM   #1
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Arrggggg! Drip, Drip, Drip—Warning, plumbing questions

So I have a question about Pex and brass fittings. I’ve just finished replumbing my entire bath area (’73 Overlander, rear bath). The Pex is wonderful stuff. Goes together pretty easily, etc. The problem I’m having is that when you transition from Pex to the fittings on the faucets or shower, the joints leak. Let me explain a little more.

Wherever I have a Pex-to-Pex connection, there’s no leak. I’ve purchased regular home type bathroom fixtures (faucets and shower mixing valve, the same stuff you might find in your home). The brass fittings that connect to the Pex on one end, and the regular home fixtures, leak on the fixture end.

I used plain old Teflon tape on the fixture end, plain old Pex compression fittings on the Pex end of the connection. The fixture end leaks (all of them). The Pex connectors are all fine, no leaks. What gives? In the past three years, I’ve refurbed a bath and a kitchen inside the house (not the Airstream) and the Teflon tape worked very well to seal the connections. In the Airstream, no luck.

I guess the question is, do I need to take apart all the fixture connections and use plumbers putty or some other packing material to make these seals water-tight?

A couple of pics to follow.


Jim
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
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This connection leaks.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:45 PM   #3
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This one doesn’t.


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Old 05-16-2009, 10:59 PM   #4
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The photo in post 2 appears to be 2 brass fittings. Brass to brass should not need any teflon tape or pipe dope. Brass is a soft metal that should give to make a tight connection. If it leaks it might not be tight enough. It also would leak if it were a faulty connector. Either way you will have to undo the PEX connection to fix the leaking brass connections.

Ricky
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:47 AM   #5
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I use the white dope in that situation. It is a paste teflon available at the box stores.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:43 AM   #6
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Brass to brass, or any metal to metal, pipe fitting can sometimes give you a false tightness feeling. Pipe dope seems to help that by providing a lubricate to allow the fittings to tightnen properly. I learned that trick watching "This Old House." Works well.
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:06 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys. It is indeed the Brass to Brass fittings that are leaking. So I guess the thing to do is take apart one set of the fittings and rebuilt with no tape or putty. See how that goes.

The really strange part is that as I was assembling the Pex to Pex fittings, I was certain that some of them were going to leak. Once those connections were made, some of them actually moved as if they were lose (as in not tight enough). Turns they are all fine.

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Old 05-17-2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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Either you were stingy with the teflon ,didn`t tighten enough,or over tightened and cracked the female thread,And yes you do need some kind of thread sealer between brass to brass. Dave
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:42 PM   #9
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yes the paste teflon pipe dope
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:46 PM   #10
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I don't think I overtightened and cracked anything. ALL of the brass to brass fittings are leaking. It's only a small leak, but they all leak. Thanks Frank, I guess I need to read a little closer.

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Old 05-17-2009, 03:13 PM   #11
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Tape is cheap give it 4 or 5 wraps,wrapping on clockwise as you look at fittings,just keep the tape off the first thread,that makes it a lot easier to get started.Dave
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:31 PM   #12
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The 97 cent solution

Well, unbelievably, I couldn't find any of the liquid teflon Frank suggested. but I did find this stuff. Worked perfectly. It was a bunch of work to remove all of those brass-to-brass fittings, but in the end we have no leaks.

A couple of notes. You can actually turn the brass fittings to remove them, treat them and replace them and the Pex fitting end of the pipe won't leak. Strange since the Pex pipe actually rotates around the Pex fittings whilst you're doing all this. Pex is good stuff. Expensive, but good. I pressure tested everything for several hours after all was complete and we now have fittings as tight as the credit market.

Jim
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:00 PM   #13
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Jim, that is the stuff. That is paste teflon pipe dope...
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:15 PM   #14
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Dang, you mean I found The Right Stuff by mistake? That pretty much describes my life to a "T". Thanks for getting me headed in the right direction, Frank. Check your Karma.

Jim
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