Out of the many ways you can connect PVC to brass pipes, a threaded connection is the easiest and most secure method. If done right, a threaded connection between PVC and brass can last for years.
However, like all other pipe connections, a PVC-to-brass threaded joint is also vulnerable to leaks. If there is a nightmare both plumbers and homeowners have in common, it’s leaking joints.
Today, we will list some of the reasons a PVC-to-brass threaded connection may leak and the best solutions for this problem.
What Causes Leaking in PVC to Brass Threaded Connections?
• Improper Assembly
It’s pretty obvious that if the connection is done incorrectly, leaks will be inevitable. A common mistake many DIY enthusiasts make is not understanding how PVC-to-brass threaded connection works.
For this connection to be perfect, you must use a PVC male threaded fitting and a female threaded brass fitting. If both happen to be male or female, the connection will be insecure and it will leak.
As you are making a brass to PVC threaded connection, make sure the assembly is flawless.
• Overtightening the PVC
In an attempt to tighten the threaded connection between brass and PVC pipe, you may damage the latter. Unlike brass, PVC is quite soft. When exposed to too much torque, it can become distorted or crack. I guess we all know what follows.
• High-Pressure Applications
If you know a thing or two about plumbing, then you must be aware that threaded connections are not ideal for high-pressure applications.
Before making a threaded connection between brass and PVC pipe, you need to evaluate the pressure that these pipes will be exposed to. If it’s for regular water distribution, then you are good to go.
• A Loose Connection
Contrary to overtightening, if the threaded connection between PVC and brass is loose, then water will leak through. Whenever you are assembling these two pipes, make sure that the connection is tight enough.
You should be able to achieve that with your bare hands. However, you can also use pliers or a wrench. But be careful not to overtighten the fittings.
How to Fix Leaks in PVC to Brass Threaded Connections?
I get it, a leaking connection can be frustrating. However, there are many ways you can fix this problem. Here are methods that are very effective at fixing leaks in brass to PVC threaded connections.
• Apply a Thread Sealant
This is by far the best remedy to fix a leaking brass to PVC threaded connection. And all you need is a thread sealant. It minimizes the need for a complete re-do which saves you time and money.
The ideal sealant for this job should be able to work on both metal and PVC because our connection involves two materials. If you only use a PVC sealant, it will be ineffective.
Once you identify the best sealant, start by cleaning the threads. The presence of debris and dirt can make the sealant ineffective.
After cleaning the threads, apply the sealant to the threads and connect them. Clean off any excess product and do a quick test to confirm if the leaking has stopped.
• Use Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) Tape
If you had overtightened the threads of your PVC pipes, they may have distorted and that could be why your connection is leaking. But don’t be alarmed because PTFE tape can repair your threads.
Also known as plumber’s tape, PTFE does a commendable job of fixing leaking PVC to brass connections. This single-sided adhesive works like a sealer only that it comes in the form of tape.
Before applying PTFE tape, you should clean the male PVC threaded fitting and then apply it in a clockwise direction. When working with PTFE tape, you must ensure that it’s wrapped tightly. If it’s too loose, it may come off prematurely.
• Apply Pipe Dope
Even though there are some reasonable arguments against the use of pipe dope in PVC to brass connections, it can come in handy when you are experiencing leaks.
In this scenario, you won’t be using the pipe dope as a lubricant for joining the pipes. You will be using the chemical sealing properties of pipe dope. Its application process is no different than thread sealant. But be careful not to overtight the PVC pipe.
• Use a Fiberglass Wrap with a Water-Activated Resin
If you can’t get your hands on thread sealant, PTFE tape, or pipe dope, you can use a fiberglass wrap with a water-activated resin. This wrap is quite effective. Just clean the leaking area and shut off the water. Wrap it firmly and let it do its job.
Do You Need Professional Help to Fix Leaks in a PVC to Brass Threaded Connection?
A professional plumber can fix this issue for you. However, you don’t need to seek expert help. A leaking PVC-to-brass threaded connection isn’t a very big issue.
It’s annoying but it’s very easy to fix. If you can get your hands on some thread sealant or plumber’s tape, you can easily stop the leaking.
However, for personal reasons, should you feel the need to seek professional help. Don’t refrain from getting in touch with a plumber.
Do PVC to Brass Threaded Connections Leak Easily?
PVC and brass weren’t designed to work together. They all have unique properties which differentiate them significantly.
But this doesn’t mean that PVC to brass threaded connections leak easily. If you assemble this joint correctly, you will never experience leaking or any other issue.
Also, if you can avoid mistakes such as over-tightening the PVC to brass threaded connection, you won’t have to deal with this issue.
Can a Transition Fitting Stop Leak in a PVC to Brass Threaded Connection?
This should be your last resort if all the above methods have failed. In instances where water is leaking heavily in a PVC-to-brass threaded connection, a transition fitting can put a stop to this problem.
I’m not talking about any transition fitting but one that is specifically made for connecting brass to PVC. You can get a transition fitting with an O-ring or a rubber gasket. It should thoroughly seal both pipes and prevent leaks.
How to Prevent Leaks in PVC to Brass Threaded Connections?
So far, you already know what causes leaks in PVC to brass threaded connections and the best remedies for this issue. As we wrap up, let me leave you with a few tips on how you can prevent leaks in future applications;
• Always check the fittings before connecting them – One of the main reasons PVC to brass threaded connections leak is using incompatible fittings.
If you have a male-threaded PVC pipe, connect it to a female-threaded brass pipe. Such a setup will guarantee a better seal that will resist leaking.
• Thoroughly clean the threads before assembly – Even if the pipes are new, they still need to be cleaned before installation. Things such as debris or dirt can affect the adhesive strength of sealant or PTFE tape.
• Make a habit of using thread sealant during installation – To be safe, it’s good practice to always use thread sealant when making such a connection. The sealant will create a watertight seal that prevents leaks.
• Inspect the pipes for damage or wear – Unlike brass, PVC is quite delicate and it can easily get damaged. Therefore, frequently inspecting the connection for damage can prevent leaks in the future.