Pipe fittings may seem like a very insignificant part of the plumbing system, but they play a rather huge role. Fittings are used to join pipes together to regulate or measure water flow. Finding the right fitting is important, but it is equally important that you install them properly. Fittings that are improperly installed can lead to costly repairs.
How to Tighten Fittings
There are two ways to tighten a fitting with threads. You can tighten by hand, by using a wrench, or a mixture of the two. By tightening the fitting with your hand, you can ensure that the threads are lined up correctly. If threads crossover, not only does it make it harder to tighten, you also risk stripping the threads. Using a wrench allows you to easily tighten the fitting more tightly than you would using your hand.
A pipe fitting that is not tightened enough can potentially lead to leaks. This can be prevented by tightening your fittings by hand until they won’t tighten anymore.
Tightening your fittings too much may also cause leaks. There is a rubber seal in most fittings that may become warped if you over-tighten it. If this happens, water can easily leak through. Even the smallest of leaks can cause problems later on down the road. Excess moisture may lead to mold growth behind walls or under sinks, stained or warped walls, and major leaks can even cause flooding.
Over-tightening will strip the threads in your fittings. If this happens, it can become hard to remove them. If the pipe is leaking while you’re trying to loosen it, this will only add to your frustration.
To ensure you’re tightening a fitting properly, start by hand tightening the fitting as tight as you can and then add a half turn with a wrench.