Threaded shower valve joint slow leak

Discussion in 'Shower & bathtub Forum & Blog' started by pacificpilot, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. pacificpilot

    pacificpilot New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    I have installed a Moen shower control with copper threaded fittings and now (~ 3 weeks later) I am seeing a very small leak (one drop per day or so). Fortunately, I have not yet installed the tile on the wall, however, the Wedi board has been installed. I am wondering what is the best way to fix this issue. I used only Oatey pipe dope (Great white w/PTFE) when I assembled the fittings, using a pipe wrench to insure tightness. Apparently, it is not tight enough, or the pipe dope that I used was not good enough.

    So, I am thinking about cutting out the Wedi board in the area of the shower valve so that I can repair the leak. I have two thoughts...

    1.) Cut the copper pipes (3) from the controller, remove the controller, unscrew the three existing threaded joints and reassemble using teflon tape. I guess that I could just cut the one pipe that is leaking and just unscrew the one connection, replacing it with telflon tape. However, I'm not sure if I trust that the other joints will not start leaking in the future.

    -or-

    2.) Buy a new controller that I can sweat copper pipes to.

    Thanks in advance for your ideas, thoughts or other recommendations. I guess the mistake that I made was to install a threaded fitting in the first place. I'm not sure why Lowe's sells those in lieu of the ones designed for sweating copper pipes.

    Here's a picture of the valve before I closed the wall... Drip is on the left fitting.

    shower.jpg

    -Rich
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,011
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I would fix only the one that is leaking.

    The threaded joints done right will be a forever joint. Normally I just use pipe dope on those and tighten them up.
    Don't beat yourself up over this. You may even be able to cut the pipe, snug up the male adapter and then solder on a coupling.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    The quality of the threads on some fittings sold today is terrible, and you may need a healthier dose of pipe dope than you think. Some people use the belt and suspenders approach and use both the pipe dope AND the tape, doesn't hurt.

    Are the fittings male or female? If female, are you sure that it isn't a dual-mode valve housing where the inside of the valve housing can act as a female fitting for the pipe to be soldered in directly? Many are...
  4. pacificpilot

    pacificpilot New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    Thanks for the quick reply Terry. Good to hear that there may be a relatively simple fix to this. Perhaps I will just cut the pipe and torque the male adapter a bit more, as you have suggested. There is space to solder on a coupling as it's on the left side of the valve (see pic I added).

    -Rich
  5. pacificpilot

    pacificpilot New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Snohomish, WA
    Hi Jim, I don't this so.... but I have added a pic if it helps. Thanks for the quick reply.

    -Rich
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,023
    Location:
    New England
    That valve body doesn't support the dual-use many provide. If it did, it would have a male threaded section on the valve, and the interior of that male fitting would act like a coupling where you could alternately solder in the pipe directly.

    When it has a threaded, female socket, you can only thread in an adapter.
  7. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,173
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    That's what my boys do. Both.

    Should you not have installed some integral shutoff's on that fixture?

    JW
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