Why Do Flanges Leak and What Are Some Possible Solutions?

There’s no doubt that piping systems play an important role in the United States. These systems have been around for years — the first one was believed to have been made in Pennsylvania in 1862 — and they will obviously be around for many more. Installing a piping system is obviously not an easy task; if components like flanges are not properly connected, leaks and corrosion could occur. When leaks and corrosion occur, a breakdown in the pipes can easily happen and cause a monstrous mess. Below, we discuss some possible causes for corrosion and how it can be avoided.

Bolt Stress

There are a variety of things that can put stress on the bolts. Vibrations that occur during normal operating conditions can cause loose bolts leading to leakage and corrosion. Although the vibrations are caused by normal operations, this is still something that can be avoided. Tightening the bolts, of course, seems like an obvious solution. But considering how often they should be checked and tightened is necessary for eliminating leakage and corrosion.

Temperature can also play a part in how well the bots are connected and whether they are successfully preventing leaks. Temperature fluctuations, especially increases in temperature, can cause bolts to become loose and not seal properly. Once again, because this a normal operating procedure, you can expect to check and tighten bolts due to temperature fluctuations. When bolts are being checked and tightened and the issue does not seem to be remedied, then you may be dealing with another issue besides expected wear from normal operating procedures.

Other Stress

There are a number of things that can produce stress on the bolts of the flanges, but one this is stress on one side or the other. When circumstances happen that cause one side to be tightened more than the other, the gasket can become damaged — resulting in leakage. This can be caused by improper bolting procedures during the initial installation. Sometimes these pipes are assembled in small spaces, making it hard to reach certain bolts in order to tighten them. This can lead to some bolts being properly tightened while others are not as tight. The same amount of pressure should be applied to all bolts so that the gasket is held securely in place to reduce leakage and corrosion.


This one may not be as easy to spot — hence the reason it is a problem. Sometimes warped surfaces can lead to improper installation. If the face of flanges is warped or has other deformities, then improper seals may occur. While this issue may not directly cause interruptions in flow, it can definitely cause leaks and corrosion. Just like all other pipe fittings, flanges must be in working condition free from any defects in order to work properly. Some defects are easier to notice than others; a welded face may be harder to recognize. Since this can be harder to recognize, it could easily be overlooked.

There is never a good time to have a problem, especially when it comes to pipelines. But it’s not always the end of the world. Noticing flange leaks or corrosion doesn’t mean the problem is enormous and will take large amounts of money or time to fix. Sometimes, small issues can present themselves as larger problems when in reality they aren’t. The instances above are times when a small problem, with a possible minimal solution, could be seen as a more intense problem unless further inspection into the problem is done.

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