Choosing a thread sealant for your pipes depends on your expertise, requirement of the job and availability of the product. With 3 basic types of sealants in use today, each type has its pros and cons and this article will help you decide which one is appropriate for you.
This white non-adhesive tape is very commonly used around homes and serves as a lubricant when pipes fittings and lengths are being installed. In essence, Teflon tape is not a sealant as it is non-adhesive. As an advantage, its sheer slipperiness provides lubrication that allows pipe fittings to easily fall into place and the tape itself is easy to carry everywhere. Teflon tape, however, can get displaced when pipes are being installed or adjusted and can leave room for leaks.
Teflon tape is widely used in plumbing where simple home water pipes and fittings have to be assembled and is adequate for the use. It should not however be used in high-pressure systems due to its lack of providence as a sealant.
Pipe dope is a solvent-based sealant that has been used in industries for years. It adheres to plastic and metal pipes after installation when the solvent it contains evaporates. It is easy to apply with a brush and versatile as it has been used for pipes of many different materials. Problems may arise as the pipe dope ages though as it has a tendency to shrink which may cause cracks in it and cause leaks.
Pipe dope has the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to apply and provides a pretty strong seal where high temperatures are not expected. And as it dries up and may form cracks over time, it should not be used in conditions involving extensive vibration.
Anaerobic Resin Compounds
Anaerobic Resin (AR) compounds are based on a different chemistry than pipe dope as they do not contain solvents that need to be evaporated. AR compounds get activated when they are not in contact with air and are within the threads of the pipes. As AR compounds don’t contain solvents, they do not shrink or crack over time causing leaks.
Advantages of AR compounds are that they fill the voids in pipe threads and create an extremely strong seal. They take time to set and dry which allows ample time to make adjustments to pipe fittings without affecting the seal. When fully set, AR compounds resist temperature, pressure and vibration. The seal can still be broken and the joints taken off with hand tools when required.
Disadvantages of using AR compounds are that because of their chemical composition, they can’t be used with all types of plastic pipes and compatibility has to be tested. Also, because of the time AR takes to set, water systems have to wait for 24 hours usually before being activated.
Anaerobic resin compounds can be used as a sealant thus in conditions of extremely high temperature and pressure without fear of cracking and causing leaks with the added advantage of allowing installers to make minor adjustments to pipe fittings in the early periods of application.