Compression fittings and slow leaks. And some psychology questions

Old 02-10-16, 07:08 AM
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Compression fittings and slow leaks. And some psychology questions

I like to think of myself as pretty handy. But doing plumbing practically scares me. I am always in fear of leaks.

But I try doing some work then watch it like a hawk for days.

I just replaced an instant hot water heater. Everything is compression fittings and the tubing is the outer metal braid. One of connections - from the single knob faucet to a compression fitted hose is a small / slow drip (so it's a connection that was made years ago and not leaking till now).

How do you handle that? Just keep tightening it till it stops? (this is the type of connector with the little rubber gasket in there, connecting to the mate, NOT the compression with ferrule going onto a bare piece of copper pipe). Take it apart and replace the old hose? Something else?

And it's been a couple days ago. It seems to be slowing down / barely any water under it now. Do you just ignore it? We're in NJ and have a water softener. Is letting the minerals build up to make the seal a legitimate way to deal with a very slow drip?

And a fear of drips in general - any thoughts on my experiences even with pros?

I hired a plumber to do some things a couple years ago. 1 was to run pex through the basement to go to copper just inside the house for a sprinkler system. Am I wrong to think that at some point the pex will get scratched (we have a drop ceiling in the basement) and make a slow insidious leak?

Same guy was fixing a garden hose spigot. Had to work through an access panel. A few days after he was here, I looked and there was a slow leak he came back and fixed (even a pro had a leak).

And a friend had a master bath redone recently and we're going to use the same plumber. They were saying they had to call him back to fix a slow drip from one of the sinks. A newbie / trainee came, fixed the leak, but then the faucet was too tight to use so someone had to come back again.

Are leaks / drips on new work unavoidable? Even with pros?!
Old 02-10-16, 07:57 AM
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Occasional leaks are unavoidable in New Jersey and everywhere else, as well. But that's not to say they can't be corrected, just that stuff happens. I suggest you avoid over-tightening.

Instead, get some pipe sealant. Among the good brands are rectorseal and permatex.
Old 02-10-16, 10:22 AM
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I mention NJ because of mineral content in the water : ) and does that help seal a slow drip and is that a valid way to deal with a slow leak.

Pipe sealant - not teflon tape?

Would you disassemble all the connections and use the pipe sealant? how do you apply that? Just on the threads?

And for compression fittings - what's the right way / amount to tighten them? Hand tighten? with a wrench cranked down as far as you really can? somewhere in between?

Once cranked down really tight, should I just replace the hose connector (the male part?) because it was compressed too far?

Can compression fittings be undone / done again or should you replace the hose once the connection has been disturbed / the rubber inside doesn't seal correctly the 2nd time?

Old 02-10-16, 11:10 AM
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Those flex lines should have been replaced not reused.
There is no need for tape or dope on that type fitting, the rubber washer does the sealing.
Only needed to a little over hand tight to seal, over tighten it once and it's trash.
Old 02-10-16, 07:40 PM
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As Joe said, the braided lines get tightened hand tight plus 1/4 turn.

The compression fittings with a brass ferrule get tightened until the ferrule grabs the tube, then 1 full turn. With ferrules, you are not trying to compress the ferrule into the copper tube. Only the very thin outer edges need to bite into the pipe. It doesn't take a lot of torque.

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