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How to fix a leaky joint

We replaced out shower taps a few months ago and now the threaded joint from the taps has a small leak. I'd rather not take the pipe off and reattach it as that involves cutting into our wall again but is there something like an epoxy, water proof tape or another compound I can use to eliminate the leak?

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Posted 2011-11-30T01:09:19+0000  by ewantrafford ewantrafford

Hello Ewantrafford,


When you refer to "shower taps" I believe that is a commonly used regional reference to shower valves. Is that correct?


If so, while installing you probably noticed that the valve has at least two threaded surfaces: 1) the valve end that threads into the shower valve body, and 2) a threaded nut around the valve stem on the end of which the handle mounts.


Let's take these one at a time.


1) Typically the valve end that threads into the shower valve body also has a plastic washer that helps the valve "seat" against the shower valve body. Checking this spot for leaks requires that you remove both the handle and the chrome or brass flange (sometimes referred to as "beauty ring") that covers the valve and creates a water-tight seal against the shower wall. Once these are removed, you'll notice that the sides of the valve are designed to accept a deep-well socket. You'll find a set of these sockets in the Plumbing Department. WITH THE WATER MAIN TO THE HOUSE TURNED OFF, remove the valve, apply Teflon tape to the threads and make certain the plastic washer is in position ... then replace the valve and tighten. Turn the main back on and check for leaks.


2) If the steps in #1 do not stop the leak, look at the nut on the other end of the valve where the valve stem passes through. Under this nut is material commonly referred to as "packing." The packing may appear as a ribbon of gray or dark blue thread wrapped around the stem or it may be a thick rubber washer. In either case, tightening the nut one-quarter turn at a time will compress the packing around the stem and seal the leak. Be cautious not to tighten so much that the packing grips the stem, preventing it from turning. ALTHOUGH I DESCRIBE THE APPEARANCE OF THE PACKING UNDER THE NUT, YOU MAY NOT HAVE TO REMOVE THE NUT TO STOP THE LEAK ... SIMPLY TIGHTEN ONE-QUARTER TURN AT A TIME UNTIL YOU NO LONGER OBSERVE A LEAK.


So, if we're speaking the same language, then your leaking "tap" should stop leaking with one or both of these repairs.


There is such a thing as a rubber valve seat (on the end of the valve that goes inside the valve body) breaking down, but since your valves are just a few months old this should not be the case.


NONE of these repairs require you to dismantle the wall.


Follow up and let us know when you get the leak stopped.

Posted 2011-12-01T13:28:32+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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