Is a leaking gas fitting something a non-professional should even attempt to fix?

Symptoms: There is a slight off odor around the hot water system, after some experimentation of turning the gas off at the valve and waiting 30 minutes the smell disappears. Later opening up the valve again the smell returns.

It's a copper pipe with a tap valve.

Can I just use some Thread Seal Tape (plumbers tape)? After turning off the gas at the main.

  • 5
    NO! don't even attempt to do anything near it- turn off the gas mains and call a professional ASAP!! Wouldn't want to see in the news 'and today Nick Josevskis house blew up ...'
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 8:32
  • 4
    ppumkin is absolutely right. Gas is dangerous and since you asked about plumber's teflon tape as a fix, that means you should really get a pro, There is a sealer used for gas, not tape. The fix should then be pressure tested. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 8:46
  • Thanks guys, this was my thinking wanted to get some advice to back me up. I'll get a professional in. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 11:25
  • 2
    Try calling your gas utility company, they often have people that will come out promptly to check leaks (for free) and may be able to repair it for you too. Commented Jul 18, 2011 at 13:23

2 Answers 2


I don't think it's as dire as all the comments are making it out to be. Some people are just afraid of gas, just like some people are afraid of anything involving electricity. If you think it's just a loose coupling, you can turn the gas off, unscrew the coupling, apply pipe dope (not tape) and re-attach the coupling and turn the gas back on. If it still smells you aren't any worse off than before minus a few bucks for the can of pipe dope.

  • 1
    I sort of agree with you. I think part of the motivation of the comments are related to the fact that if the OP feels like he needs to ask this sort of question, then they should probably not be doing this work. Also, pipe thread tape is fine as long as it is rated for gas lines (usually in a yellow container instead of blue at my local stores) and apply it correctly.
    – auujay
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 3:02
  • 3
    You can use a solution of water and dish soap to locate the gas leak. Apply the mixture to the fittings and look for bubbles to appear/expand.
    – RSMoser
    Commented Aug 18, 2011 at 21:19

To find the leak use dish soap and water in a spray bottle. Either tighten fitting or loosen fitting, apply pipe dope to threads, tighten and retest for leaks. The good thing is the gas company will come out and at least locate the problem for you. They will repair if minor. That would be my choice since they have the proper leak detection tools and knowledge.

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