More Common Than You Think: Additional Reasons Why Your Old Couplers Might Fail

Couplers are essential parts of any piping system; without good couplers, you basically have no pathway for the liquid or gas that you want to move from one area to another—you just have a bunch of pipes aligned together. Couplers are very good at sealing up those connections, but older couplers can eventually start to go. Once you know why the couplers fail, it's a lot easier to make the replacement couplers last a longer time.

Aging Sealant

Sometimes it isn't the coupler itself, but the sealant used to completely seal or close off the connection. This isn't always a permanent sealant; for example, plumber's tape helps fill in gaps in the coupled sections between a shower pipe and a showerhead. If the sealant starts to go, you could easily see leaks. If you notice leaks, try replacing the tape, putty, or other material that's been used to block off gaps in the connection.

Uneven Support

If the coupler is on a pipe that connects to supports on the floor—but the floor has become uneven (not unusual in areas with quakes and settling soil that was never tamped down properly before construction began)—the piping system could face an unusual amount of strain and actually pull down on some of the couplings. Like door hinges that bend when you push down on a doorknob as you close a door, the couplings can gradually loosen. Keep checking that the floor is level if you know you're in an area prone to shifts in the ground.

Too Much Vibration

If the pipes that the couplers are on are connected to machinery that has a motor, chances are the machinery is vibrating every time it's on. If that vibration isn't controlled—you might not be able to get rid of it fully, but you can control how bad it is—the pipes and coupler will start to vibrate, too, and possibly loosen up. Vibration is a major problem for factories and industrial departments, and couplers and bolts alike are prone to failing when vibration is too strong. You must get vibration-damping controls onto the machinery.

Couplers can fail for obvious reasons, like poor fit and improper assembly, but there are so many other reasons why they can fail, too, that any trouble deserves close inspection. If it does turn out that the coupler itself needs to be replaced, it's easy to find new ones that offer state-of-the-art connections.

For more information, contact a business such as Kims International.