Terrible Advice Tuesdays: Cheap Bulkhead Leak Prevention


Terrible Advice Tuesdays: To ensure your bulkheads don’t leak, glue them to your tank with PVC cement.

The rest of the story: I about fell out of my chair (again) when I heard this one. A couple of things here:

#1: A bulkhead will form a good seal and not leak when installed correctly. No glue is needed.

#2: If you glued your bulkhead to your tank, and you ever wanted to remove it, good luck. It would be a royal PITA especially considering how tight of a space you’d be working in.

Whenever I encounter a leaky bulkhead, I first make sure the o-ring is on the inside of the tank, then I make sure the area where the o-ring meets the tank is clean. Then I tighten the bulkhead hand tight, grab a wrench and give it 1/4 extra turn.

Please don’t glue your bulkheads. You’ll hate yourself for it later, I promise.

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Comments for this article (2)

  • Darren says:

    Thats abit scary! The tank i have stated in the instruction to use a bead of silicone behind the bulk head so it fills the hole, but i geuss its easy cut out if i ever need to remove the bulk head!

  • Pierre Bouic says:

    With my background as a plumber I can tell you that bulkheads which have a flared fitting connector are so simple to get a proper seal IF you follow the right procedure. Firstly make sure that you get the pipe to travel all the way into the joint, ( don’t leave the o ring with only 1/4 or 1/8 # of pipe going into the joint. Some of these have a flared o ring, so make the flared part face into the joint. The o ring will slide better right to where you want it if you wet it, ( use fresh water, not oil to get the o ring to slide and make sure the pipe end that goes into the joint doesn’t have scratches or marks on it, same for the o ring, no cuts or breaks)
    The finished fitting when tightened up doesn’t need to be wrenched, a solid hand strength tightening will do as this is a joint not under pressure. If you are wrenching and its still leaking then something is wrong inside the pipe joint. Pull it apart & inspect all the surfaces that touch , also ensure that pipes are not at wrong angles as this will put pressure on the joint causing a leak (at 90deg or 45deg, or whatever is the proper angle. . Wrenching on PVC pipe will only crack or tear the o ring as its rubber. using a lube to get the o ring to travel is not good as this is a sensitive environment, if you must use cooking oil not petro chemical based oils. Good tip but that 1/4 turn won’t stop a leak if the above mentioned things are wrong. But mark is on the rite track.
    Thanks Mark I’m sure you don’t mind the opinion of a pro.

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