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  • Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

    I have this annoying problem of not really knowing how tight to tighten up certain things. I have a good idea on how tight to tighten (good) bolts but brass and cast iron plumbing fittings I never had anyone show me how tight is too tight. I put in a shutoff valve at the bosses house and the thing cracked 2-3 weeks later and made a big mess of the yard. I think I over tightened the fittings but the boss thinks the valve was a piece of junk. When I have to move around small diameter gas piping, I don't want to deal with leaks so the sky is the limit, lots of time with a red face tightening the snot out of the fittings... I suppose I was taught to tighten till I can't make it go no more, then go another turn! SO, what is the rule of thumb for tightening plumbing type stuff?

    I have my flame suit on, but be gentle.

    Last edited by masterbeavis; 06-19-2011, 12:53 AM.
    We don't have preventative maintenance around here, we have CRISIS MANAGEMENT!

  • #2
    Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

    any threaded fitting you should have 2-3 threads left outside of the fitting.
    an overtightened fitting can very easily fail, especially with any kind of temperature change.
    I used to have the brass unions on a PRV split after a few weeks because i'd clamp the fitting in a vice and use all my weight on a pipe wrench to torque it down.
    Boss had a Looong chat with me about that.
    No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

      Originally posted by masterbeavis View Post
      I have this annoying problem of not really knowing how tight to tighten up certain things. I have a good idea on how tight to tighten (good) bolts but brass and cast iron plumbing fittings I never had anyone show me how tight is too tight. I put in a shutoff valve at the bosses house and the thing cracked 2-3 weeks later and made a big mess of the yard. I think I over tightened the fittings but the boss thinks the valve was a piece of junk. When I have to move around small diameter gas piping, I don't want to deal with leaks so the sky is the limit, lots of time with a red face tightening the snot out of the fittings... I suppose I was taught to tighten till I can't make it go no more, then go another turn! SO, what is the rule of thumb for tightening plumbing type stuff?

      I have my flame suit on, but be gentle.


      Beavis, Maybe you should use a smaller pipe wrench or pliers. Then you can still tighten to your hearts content and do less damage.

      You realizing you're over tightening means you're 90% of the way to solving the problem.
      Time flies like an arrow.

      Fruit flies like a banana.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

        I'm also guilty of over-tightening fittings but I've never had anything fail on me, I just have a b!tch of a time trying to take things apart if I need to.
        Ideal Plumbing

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        • #5
          Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

          Originally posted by idlplumb View Post
          I'm also guilty of over-tightening fittings but I've never had anything fail on me, I just have a b!tch of a time trying to take things apart if I need to.
          Reminds me of a story...

          When we did new construction, 2 of my dad's employees (my cousin and another guy) were BIG TIME Muscle heads. These guys were so big it was sickening watching them carry 50 gallon gas water heaters on their shoulders, going over mounds of dirt with them.

          Well anyways, when the water company sent the lady out to set the water meters, she use to get out of her truck with 2- 36" pipe wrenches to take the spreaders apart, cause the guys thought it was funny that she couldn't get them apart. Finally she hollered at my father to tell "those 2 knuckleheads" to knock it off!

          I also never seen anyone bury 2" threads on black pipe before...these guys did. My father use to holler at them all the time, because of the damage they were doing, and they finally knocked it off when he threaten to dock their pay if it continued.

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          • #6
            Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

            IRISH TORQUE RULE! 1/2 turn , before snapping !
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Sooooo.... How tight is too tight?

              Best liability question to be asked for us. Reason being is the constant influx of plastics into the living and operating spaces that weren't there in the past. The plastic tolerances are much lower even if the quality control on the plastics is a constant. For example, no matter what, when that Fluidmaster shank or nut breaks/cracks that you installed, you will be blamed.


              J.C.

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