Posted by in Plumber Talk, on April 29, 2017





Sometimes it is as easy as tightening the fitting up with a spanner and a pair of grips BUT sometimes you will need to strip the fitting down and use sealant or even replace the olive. Sometimes you will ahve to replace the whole fitting or even a small part of the pipe. Which made me think that we need to do a video on how to fix compression fittings. Now, as you know, we’ve done a video a long, long time ago about how compression fittings work. That’s great. But what about if they leak. So we’re going to have a look very quickly if you’ve got a weeping compression fitting, how you can fix them and what you can do to solve the problem.
As we all know, compression fittings work in a really simple way. We’ve got an olive, a tapered insert, and a nut with a taper on the inside. When they tighten up those 2 tapers work on that olive and compress it on to the pipe to create a watertight seal. So, what do we do if this is leaking? First thing’s first, if you think that you’ve got a leaking compression fitting like that. The first thing I would try and do is see if you can actually nip it up a little bit. Get yourself a pair of grips to grip the inside part here, the actual main body of the fitting. And then use a pair of adjustables to tighten it up. When you’re using grips always grip in the opposite direction to where you are tightening up So, this would be wrong. To tighten this fitting up, the grips are the wrong way round. So you want the grips to be this way round like so. Then you can get your adjustable on the fitting like that and tighten it up. Give it an extra nip. Often that will stop a leak on a compression fitting. Sometimes though it doesn’t. After you’ve done that, get yourself some tissue, wipe it down, fill the system up or whatever you’re working on with water again and test for leaks. If you still find it’s leaking, there’s 3 or 4 other things we can do to stop this fitting from leaking altogether.
So the next thing we could do is actually strip the fitting down you will see then that you’ve got a nut with your bitten on olive nut with your bitten on olive,if you don’t want to change the fitting and if you can’t change the olive, you can’t get a hacksaw or something like that, there’s a couple of things you can do that might seal it
if you don’t want to change this olive the first thing i would do is use some jointing compound
this is pretty old jointing compound but it’s going to do for demonstration purposes today, so get yourself some lovely jointing compound all this is is linseed oil and chaulk and you get your compound and you splodge it onto your fitting and then push your fitting back together again and tighten it up as you would normally. If you haven’t got any jointing compound you can also use PTFE tape. Right so we’ve got our olive here and remember this is only if you can’t change the olive or the fitting. A little bit of PTFE tape, now,PTFE tape is pretty cool stuff! There’s a knack to useing it try and have your tape coming out at this angle like this, lay it across the olive, with your thumb, Just wrap it round, front and back of the olive, just like so, Make sure when you put the PTFE on the olive that the PTFE winds in the direction that the nut tightens up. If it goes the other way you’ll find that the PTFE splurges out and you won’t be able to seal the leak. So now you’ve got a nicely covered up olive there. Push the fitting back together, and then tighten up. I have never in all my years of plumbing had one of these leak after doing PTFE around the olive.
Lets have a look at how you change the olive. The Way to get an olive off if you don’t have an olive splitter you might as well use a junior hacksaw and a very steady hand. Because you do not want to score the pipe. The good thing is you can get a junior hacksaw cut diagonally like this across the olive but before you actually cut fully through the olive, you can get a nice little thin slotted screwdriver and twist the olive apart, and be easily removed from the pipe. Try as best you cannot to score the pipe. Now you should be able to pop your screwdriver in there and remove the olive. Now looking at the condition of the pipe, it’s not too bad. At this point you can have problems that may mean replacing the pipe
If there is a slight ripple in the pipe its going to be very difficult to re-seal that bit of pipe. So new olive, old fitting on. Re-tighten up. Sometimes you’ll be able to slacken off the fitting and just grab a pair of grips pop that round the olive and just wangle it off. But then sometimes you’re going to have to resort to this method to get the olive off.

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