How to Use a Pipe Thread Sealant

What You'll Need
Pipe Thread Sealant
Pipes with Threads
Adjustable Wrench

A pipe thread sealant is a product used to seal the gaps between pipe thread connections (male and female threads). Pipes that are connected using threads usually create gaps between them that allow liquid or gas to escape. It is the sealant’s job to ensure that the gap is closed tightly to prevent any leakage. Some sealants are made of liquid or compound, while some are made of tapes. Tapes are the most commonly used pipe thread sealant today. The reason can be attributed to its ease of use, safety and affordability. Below is a simple guide to using a pipe thread sealant.

Step 1 - Choose a Which Type of Sealant to Use

There are basically two types of pipe thread sealants. One is called anaerobic pipe sealant (commonly called pipe dope), and the other is the tape pipe sealant. Many individuals make use of tape sealants instead of pipe dopes because these are more popular. However, this is no indication that tape sealants work better than pipe dope. For gas pipes and water pipes, Teflon tape is commonly used as a sealant. Teflon is a popular brand for tape sealants that has become a household term due to popular use. Ask the plumbing supply shop for advice concerning the use of dope and tape when purchasing.

Step 2 – Take Note of the Thickness

When using Teflon tape, take note of the thickness and density. It is recommended that tapes with 1g/cc density and 3 to 4mm thickness be used. Tapes with these features have a better ability to seal.

Step 3 – Apply Tape Sealant on Pipes

To apply the tape sealant on a pipe, start wrapping the male pipe with Teflon tape in the direction of the thread (usually clockwise). Make certain to pull the tape tightly to allow the tape to wrap around the threads tightly. As the tape is wrapped several times around the male pipe, notice how the tape forms the threads. When the threads are completely covered, cut the tape and firmly press on the ends of the thread. Connect the male pipe to the female pipe. Use an adjustable wrench to help tighten the pipes, but be careful not to excessively tighten or it may break the pipes. Check the connection for signs of leakage.

Step 4 – Use Pipe Dope as an Alternative

Pipe dope or anaerobic thread sealant can be used as an alternative to pipe connections that cannot be secured effectively by tape sealants. Usually, pipe dope is used to for pipes exposed to extreme temperatures. To make use of pipe dope as a pipe thread sealant, make sure that the male and female pipe threads are free from oil, dirt and other debris. Apply a generous amount of the compound to the male pipe threads and connect it to the female pipe. Clean the excess sealant that oozes out of the connected pipes. Allow to dry and check for leaks.