How to Fix a Leaky Pipe
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Posted March 21, 2018
The EPA estimates that nearly 10% of all homes in the U.S. have a water leak, and each leak can waste roughly 90 gallons of water. That sort of water waste can really add up when it comes to your monthly bill. Even worse, some leaks can cause severe and unforeseen damage to your home, so the quicker you can repair the problem, the better off you’ll be. Whether you have a slow drip or a raging stream, a leaky pipe should be an urgent matter. Although not every leak requires the experience of a licensed plumber — many do. Knowing how to fix a leaky pipe on your own could prevent you from incurring significant costs or ending up with even more damage. Save your wallet and your home with our helpful plumbing repair tips.
Hopefully, your plumbing problem is located where you can easily access the lines. If the damage is buried under concrete, you may not find yourself as capable of handling the job without a professional. However, if the pipes are contained above ground, then our solutions below should help. More than just a leaky pipe? Check out this other post to learn about other common plumbing pitfalls or contact one of our expert plumbers with your questions.
Stop the Leak to Repair the Pipe
The very first thing you have to do when you find a water leak is to shut off the main water valve. This will prevent any further water damage from happening. Next, you will turn on your faucet connected to the particular pipe to let any remaining water flow out. This next part may take some time, but be patient. Let your pipeline dry completely. You can wipe them down, but air drying may be the only sure way to make sure they are totally free of water. Using a putty knife, coat the location of the leak with epoxy. Make sure that the leak is fully covered, and then wrap it in rubber with a clamp for one full hour. After the hour, remove the clamp, but not the rubber. Then, apply a layer of waterproof tape for added protection to the pipe. Finally, turn on the water valve to ensure that you have thoroughly patched the leak. If any spots are missed, you may need to repeat the process.
Replace the Pipe
This option, though still DIY-possible, can require a bit of higher-level expertise. Like in the previous method, the first thing you need to do is shut off the main water valve. Measure the size of the pipe you need to replace, and buy a replacement at your local home improvement or hardware store. With a metal cutting saw, cut out the damaged piece of pipe. Using sandpaper, file down the remaining ends of your pipe. If using a copper pipe, grab your goggles and gloves because you’ll need to solder the new pipe together. Pipes of other material typically come with a joint to marry the two pieces. Make sure the joint is tightened so that everything is secure. Then turn your water back on.
The winter is an especially common time for pipe leaks to happen. Extreme winter temperatures can cause water to freeze and expand causing an unprotected pipe to rupture. However, there are many reasons pipe leaks can happen beyond cold temps. You may not even realize the leak has happened until you see water marks or moisture on your walls, ceilings, and/or floors. Sometimes the leak warning sign can be as subtle as you having lower water pressure from your faucets and shower heads. If you notice a change in your water meter, musty smells, or damage to your foundation, call your local plumbing professional to inspect your home.