Tank tees are a handy product because they include multiple connection and accessory ports, guaranteeing that installing all the components you need for a water well system is sleek and compact. When installing a tank tee, though it's not a difficult process, there are some good practices to follow to make the installation process smooth and accurate.
Throughout this blog, we will explain a variety of practices to follow when selecting and installing a tank tee in your system. Let's get started.
Tank tees are available in a variety of materials including stainless steel, brass, galvanized and PVC. Each material has their strengths and weaknesses.
Typically cast from 304 stainless steel, these tank tees are extremely durable and are very corrosion resistant. Their incredible strength eliminates any risk of stress cracking when you thread them into a female connection.
Compared to Stainless steel, brass alloy tank tees are less expensive and can be used for installations in most areas. The downside is that brass alloy tank tees are not as corrosion resistant as stainless steel and are not recommended in areas where water is highly corrosive. When working in water conditions where the quality of the water is less-than-desirable or simply unknown, it is recommended to use a stainless steel tank tee.
Galvanized tank tees are less expensive compared to brass and stainless steel. Commonly, you will find a galvanized tank tee being used on a galvanized pressure tank that does not have a bladder. They are ultimately used to eliminate any risk of galvanic corrosion between dissimilar metals. It is important to verify that the use of galvanized nipples and fittings are allowed in your local area as some plumbing codes do not allow it. Be sure to check that the galvanized tank tee meets all the applicable plumbing code requirements.
PVC tank tees are very resistant to corrosion because they don't contain any metal, but they are not as durable as metal tank tees and they are not available in as many configurations. PVC tank tees are a very good alternative to some of the other options, however, if you're on a budget or don't need the heavy duty of some of the alternatives.
For a closer look at all things Tank Tees, check out our blog, Everything you Need to Know: Tank Tee Edition.
Best Practices When Installing Tank Tees
Use Female (FPT) Fittings or Valves on the Tank Tee Line Connection
Using a female fitting to make the line connection is safe insurance if a joint failure occurs from a cracked thread. Typically, a cracked thread is caused from one or a combination of three factors; over tightening, dezincification or use of PTFE tape. If you use a male fitting, it could create stress on the line connection.
Avoid Over Tightening
PTFE tape make threaded joints somewhat slippery, which can result in over torquing. When over tightening is combined with the dezincification of brass in an area with aggressive water, it could increase the risk of stress cracking. Commonly, failures will occur 1 to 1-1/2 years after installation but depending on the situation and how aggressive the water is, it could be a shorter timeline.
Use a Thread Sealing Compound
Using a quality thread sealing compound drastically reduces the risk of problems that could occur if you use a PTFE thread sealing tape when threading a male fitting into a female line connection. PTFE tape creates what's known as a "wedge" effect when used with NPT thread causing an incredible internal force that stresses the female thread.
When you wrap PTFE tape around plastic male threads, it adds a level of strain and tensile stress. Some installers tend to incorrectly wrap a lot of extra layers around the male threads which increases the strain on the female thread. Be aware of how much tape you're using in order to only use the proper amount for a good seal. In the long-run, over-taping your connection can actually lead to the very problem you're trying to avoid: leaking.
Use the Most Durable Material for Female Connections
If your preference is to use the female line connection for your installation, it is recommended you go with a stainless steel tank tee. As already explained, stainless steel is much stronger and less prone to any stress cracking from over-tightening. Corrosion and dezincification issues are also eliminated with the choice of a stainless steel tank tee.
These best practices for selecting a tank tee metal and installing your tank tee are going to ensure you choose the right product for your needs.
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