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Old 12-21-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


I just installed a new water heater (GE, 40 gal, gas) and am having problems with the connection where the integral pipes (insulated w/blue plastic nipples) and the dielectric union fit together. It's a threaded connection, and I used plenty of pipe dope, but as the pressure builds while filling it begins to leak. More at the cold than hot side. Good news: all the sweated joints are fine!

I was careful to do all the sweating before connecting, so I'm pretty sure I didn't heat the lining. The unions were purchased at Home Despot, and were likely not the best around. I'll go back there in the morning to see what they can recommend, but I'd like input from some of you more experienced folks. Perhaps the biggest question is, do I even need the dielectric fitting if it has insulated pipes? What connectors work best for you?

thanks!

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Old 12-21-2010, 10:05 PM   #2
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


Add 2 or 3 wraps of teflon tape on top of your pipe dope. And yes, IMO you should have unions on equipment

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Old 12-21-2010, 11:05 PM   #3
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


I always use tape only or tape and dope, but never dope by itself on water connections. Just never had much luck with it.
And the dielectric union is needed to keep the dissimilar metals from touching (copper and galvanized) so they won't corrode on another. And it'll make the next replacement a breeze.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:07 AM   #4
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


I agree with the other 2 posters. Lots of people even pros think the coated nipples are enough. They aren't. If you are using channel locks maybe switch to a 14" pipewrench.
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:48 PM   #5
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


Yep, dope, tape and a 14" pipe wrench was the magic combo! The guy at Home Despot did try to talk me out of the dielectric as unnecessary, but I stuck to it.

Thanks, guys, and Happy Holidays - ours will be with our new water heater!
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:48 PM   #6
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


Ok, if one were to use both tape and dope, which goes on the thread first?
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:35 PM   #7
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Dope, tape, and dope.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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I did tape on the male threads, dope on the female. And lots of it!
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thewoodguy View Post
Yep, dope, tape and a 14" pipe wrench was the magic combo! The guy at Home Despot did try to talk me out of the dielectric as unnecessary, but I stuck to it.

Thanks, guys, and Happy Holidays - ours will be with our new water heater!

Remember; the guy at the Home Depot is simply just a guy at the Home Depot. If he had any knowledge of plumbing, he would not take the pay cut just to work at the Home Depot.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:22 PM   #10
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


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Originally Posted by handy man88 View Post
Ok, if one were to use both tape and dope, which goes on the thread first?
You can't convince me one way or the other, but I put dope on first then tape. Used to do it the other way but I worked a job that had a lot of dirt around my pipe so I put dope on first, then tape. This helped keep the dirt of my threads. Been doing it that way ever since . And I always use both
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


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Dope, tape, and dope.
Wouldn't dope first result in slop under the tape? Isn't the purpose of tape is to have a nice, snug fit on the threads to prevent slipping?
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #12
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


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Wouldn't dope first result in slop under the tape? Isn't the purpose of tape is to have a nice, snug fit on the threads to prevent slipping?
How much dope do you put on? JK, Yes, that can happen but a little less dope helps. Why pile it on above the thread heigth? Besides, there are several types, Real Tuff, Megalok, Grip, Rector seal, etc. Some are thicker than others and receive tape easier. Put your tape on first if you want, its not a fireable offence
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:42 PM   #13
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


Both tape and dope are supposed to get squished between the pipe threads and fill enough of the thin empty spaces in between that water cannot leak.

In many cases, if a taped joint leaks, undoing it and putting more tape on for the next try will be better.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:55 PM   #14
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


the unions I have installed had a rubber gasket between the connection, is that there?

I do tape then dope. no more than two wraps of tape
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:33 PM   #15
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Leak at dielectric/insulated union


Look, the misconception is that everyone thinks tape or dope seals threads. They don't.
Their function is a lubricant, they reduce friction to allow the threads to be tightened together and also aide in the loosening. My experience has been tapers in threads male & female do not always match. I usually about 95% of the time use teflon based soft set pipe dope, it isn't cheap. Blue Magic, Select Unyte, Rectorseal, & Gimme the Green Stuff are brands I like. When the dope won't work then I use thin layer of dope then tape and dope again. This practice has never failed me in 29 years.

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