The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Will plumber's tape seal a rain barrel faucet?

Rain barrel faucet

Is plumber's tape sufficient to seal a faucet screwed into the side of a rain barrel?

The drip suggests not.  For now, we'll put a bucket underneath to capture the water.  Then when the barrel is empty, we'll use caulk as suggested by the rain barrel workshop instructors.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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What you need is a "bulkhead fitting"- such as this

A tapered pipe thread just won't seal, there is not enough wall thickness to do the job of cutting threads.

Comment by Eric Thu Jun 19 19:56:03 2014
Does enough of the faucet's threads extend into the barrel to allow the use of a nut and a rubber washer?
Comment by Gerry Thu Jun 19 20:56:34 2014
uniseal's work better for this application and are cheaper.
Comment by eric Thu Jun 19 23:21:06 2014
I second Eric's suggestion about the bulkhead fitting. I bought one at tractor supply for $7 and my rain barrel faucet hasn't leaked a drop. Well worth it...just need a hole saw to cut a clean opening.
Comment by Mike Gaughan Fri Jun 20 09:39:59 2014

For plumber's tape to work well, you need tapered thread on at least one side of the connection. That will help compress the tape, making it seal.

The wall of a plastic barrel is too thin to support enough thread to make a lasting waterproof connection. And it is not stiff enough to compress sealant tape.

Since you'd have to raise a rain barrel anyway to be able to put a bucket under the tap, I'd recommend putting a bulkhead connector in the bottom of the barrel and putting a ball valve in that. That way you can drain the barrel completely for the winter. And it is a lot easier to open a ball valve completely than to open a tap.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sat Jun 21 12:43:43 2014

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