Plumbing - Repairing Small Pipe Leaks To Prevent Further Damage
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Plumbing - Repairing Small Pipe Leaks To Prevent Further Damage

Repairing small pipe leaks are crucial to prevent further damage to your home, if not repaired properly you will have mold and rotting in your walls, and have to replace drywall and flooring and ceiling tiles.

When a pipe leaks, the first step to take is to shut off the water supply to the break. Make it a rule to know where the shutoff valves in your house or apartment complex are located. Valves are often under or near plumbing fixtures. The hot water supply for the entire house can generally be turned off at the hot water heater. If necessary cut off all water in the house by closing the main water valve, which is usually in the basement near the water meter or on the supply pipe from the well in a well system. Once the water is off, wipe the area around the leak clean and dry before attempting to determine the extent of the damage.

Repairing small leaks

To stop small leak temporarily, shut off water, dry pipe, wrap layers of electrical tape beyond leak on each side.

  • Use epoxy compound to seal leaky fittings. Before applying epoxy, drain water, dry pipe, and clean fitting with steel wool. 
  • Pipe clamp, bolted over rubber pad, can permanently stop a large leak. Be sure clamp is centered directly over leak.
  • Tighten hose clamp around rubber collar to stop a pinhole leak. To avoid future rusting, use stainless steel clamp.
  • To repair small leak, clamp cloth or rubber strip and wood blocks over hole. Shape blocks with a wood rasp.
  • Tin can cut along seam serves as homemade pipe clamp. Use C-clamp and two wood blocks to lock can onto rubber pad.

Emergency repairs can range from taking temporary measures, while waiting for the plumber, to making repairs that will last for years. But even minor leaks should be attended to promptly to prevent further damage. Leaks tend to enlarge over a period of time, and dripping water can damage drywall, plaster, stain paint and wallpaper, and create an electrical hazard.

Leaks commonly develop at threaded joints. These can frequently be fixed merely by tightening the fitting. But exercise caution; damaged or deteriorated pipe may break when you try to tighten it. Epoxy compound is useful in dealing with such leaks. Electrical tape will seal small cracks or punctures. Before using either to stop a leak, remove any rust or scale from the pipe with steel wool, and make sure that the pipe is clean and dry.

Materials and hardware you should keep on hand include hose and pipe clamps, electrical tape, plastic joint-sealing tape, epoxy adhesive, and self-forming packing. Also keep a variety of O-rings, graphite twist packing, and a supply of all-temperature faucet washers.

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Comments (2)

clearly laid out steps for pipe leak emergency repairs. every family needs these too. voted up!

Excellent job on this article. Voted up.