So, you’ve got a leak in the line that connects your toilet to your home’s water supply. After some simple testing, you determine that the source of the problem is the threaded connection between the line and the bottom of the toilet tank. Or the problem may be the threaded connection between the other end of the supply line and the shut-off valve at the wall. In either case, you can potentially stop the leak and make your supply line drip-proof with the help of Teflon tape. However, you have to know how to properly apply this tape in order to get the desired result.
What is Teflon Tape?
Teflon is the common name for a substance called PTFE. For legal reasons, only tape manufactured by the DuPont Corporation can officially use the Teflon name. However, most people use the term for all PTFE tape, whether or not it comes from DuPont. Teflon tape has several properties that can make it ideal for creating waterproof seals in threaded pipe connections. These properties include great flexibility, high resistance to being pulled apart, and the ability to fit into narrow spaces.
When used to repair leaky pipe connections, Teflon tape essentially acts as a type of putty. Under pressure from the squeezing forces of the male and female ends of a connection, it spreads out and fills in any gaps between the threads. This action basically prevents water from passing through the connection and causing a leak.
Using Teflon Tape to Fix Your Leaky Toilet
Teflon tape just won’t get the job done if you don’t use it correctly. Here’s a step-by-step guide to fixing your leaky toilet supply line:
- Make sure that the threads on the male and female end of the connection are dry. Clean the threads on the male end.
- Wrap the male end of the connection with Teflon tape. Start with two loops at the bottom of the threads and work your way up, but don’t go past the end of the connection. (Tape inside the joint can cause clogging and other problems.) Overlap each loop by about half of the tape’s width.
- Follow the direction of the threads while wrapping, and keep the tape under tension by pulling it as you wrap.
- After making the last wrap, press the end of the tape into the threads and make sure it doesn’t stick out from the surface.
- Insert the male end of the connection into the female end. Close the joint tightly with hand pressure, then finish the job with a wrench.
Plumbing professionals often make sure that joints are completely secure by using a substance called Teflon pipe compound in addition to Teflon tape. If you take this approach, use your finger to apply a thin, even coating of the compound (which typically comes in a squeezable tube) over the surface of a male end already covered in tape. Then secure the connection with hand pressure and a wrench.
It’s important to note that other problems can trigger leaks in your toilet’s supply line, including loose nuts at either end of the line. You will need to take different steps to remedy these issues. If you have plumbing problems that are too extensive for a do-it-yourself solution, call the professionals at Orange Coast Plumbing for expert assessment and repair.