The faucet aerator on my parents’ kitchen faucet had been threatening to break for a few years now, and, finally, while they were away (of course) it did, leaving me to fix it. Fortunately, I actually really like plumbing. It just seems so logical.
Anyway, while I was at Canadian Tire buying a new faucet aerator, I realized I had no idea where my dad kept his teflon thread tape, so I figured I’d pick up some more — it’s like a buck and a half so it’s no big. But then I saw this little tube of pipe thread DOPE. I’d never seen it before (my plumbing experience is pretty limited, after all). I’m not a huge fan of teflon tape: I find it’s hard to apply at first, when it keeps unraveling on you, and after a few years it tends to flake out and then your pipes are leaking again. So I figured what the heck? And I bought the dope.
Pipe dope, while it may sound like a specific form of recreational drug, is also known as pipe-joint compound, and you use it the same as you would the teflon tape. When I got home I looked up the differences between tape and goop and this website was very helpful in explaining. Essentially, dope is messier but easier to apply (less finesse involved) and it never hardens, which means you don’t get that flakiness a few years down the road.
I’m sure many of you have replaced bits of piping over the years but I figured I’d post this just so you can see the difference between dope and tape if you’ve never used dope before (Kids: don’t do drugs. Wrong kind of dope).
So you remove the old faucet aerator and clean and dry off the threads on the faucet. This is easier to do with a male end but a good stiff brush will clean out most of the gunk.
You might want to test your attachment first, to make sure it fits. I ended up having to take out one of the washers already inside so that there was room to screw it on.
And when I opened the tube of dope there was this weird oily stuff in there so I squeezed it out and chucked it. The second squeeze came out okay.
Then you coat the male end of the threads with dope. Sometimes this will be on your faucet, sometimes it will be on the attachment. It all depends. But always do it on the male end, which is the part that goes inside the other part. Yup. Then you screw on your attachment. Keep in mind that not all dope works on plastic attachments, like this one. I checked the tube before I bought it to make sure.
Also with plastic attachments, generally they say you can simply tighten them by hand and you don’t need tools but I find that with my carpal tunnel syndrome I have a super weak grip and if I tighten things by hand then I get leaks out the wazoo, so what I like to do is wrap the plastic attachment with a cloth and then use Vice Grips to gently tighten it a bit more.
Then you just wipe away the excess dope and give it a test. If, like you see here, you get tiny pinhole leaks, then just take off the attachment, apply more dope, and try again.
Tada. New aerator. Easy peasy.