How to Stop Pipe Couplings from Breaking
LESLIE: Larry in Missouri is having a plumbing issue. Tell us what’s going on.
LARRY: Yes, I have a well on my property here that meets the water for our house. And in the last couple of months, we’ve had what I think is an unusual thing happening. The couplings on the 1-inch pipe – the PVC pipes that are coming from the well – so far, 3 of them have broken. And they’d be split – and the couplings that split almost right in half. And so I’ve had to dig out this PVC pipe from in the ground, because it’s all underground.
LARRY: And just wondering, what would be causing those couplings to be splitting like that?
TOM: OK. The couplings that you’re using – what’s the size of the PVC pipe? Is it an inch-and-a-half or what is it?
LARRY: One-inch PVC pipe.
TOM: And so, basically, the coupling is where you have two sections that join together. Is that correct?
TOM: So what you might want to think about doing is replacing these glued – they’re glued-on couplings. Is that right?
LARRY: Yes, they are.
TOM: What you might want to think about doing is replacing these glued-on, hard, plastic pipelings (ph) with something called a Fernco. Are you familiar with that?
TOM: It’s more of like a rubber boot and they have different types for different pipes. But it attaches to both sides of the pipe and it has a little bit of flexibility in between it. And this way, if you’re getting expansion and contraction in the pipe, it’s going to move with it and put less stress on the joint.
LARRY: Mm-hmm. Now, the ones that I have totally replaced – I have replaced three of them so far and I would guess there’s probably another five probably to the well. What I’ve done – there is this one – it’s got a rubber seal on it but then they screw together. I don’t know exactly what they’re called but …
TOM: It’s called a Fernco – F-e-r-n-c-o. Their website is Fernco.com. And they’re sold at plumbing supply houses; I know they sell them at The Home Depot. You should have no problem finding this.
This might be what you’re using, based on how you describe it; I’m not quite sure. But this is a good solution when you’re having this problem with the couplings that you’re using breaking down because, as you’ll see, this will give you a lot of flexibility. I’ve been using these in the ground for pipes for many years and I’ve never had one fail on me yet.
LARRY: OK. Well, very good. I will look into that and see if I can find them around here. And if another one breaks, I will try it out.
TOM: Give it a shot. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.