How to Repair Leaky Pipes and Joints
Plumbing leaks can vary, which means that the solutions can differ as well. In fact, even the level of damage that the leak can create can be substantially different.
Some leaks have the capability of flooding your home while some can inflict only limited damage or almost none at all. Why is it important to understand this? Because your approach to repairing the leak will depend on the type of leak that you are dealing with. So how do you repair leaky pipes and joints?
Normally, if the leak exists in a plumbing joint, the normal solution is to tighten that joint. But when the problem is found on the pipe itself, usually there is a need to remove the leaking section and replace it with a new one. However, the solution is not always as easy as this all the time.
Take the case of copper pipes. Before you can replace the leaking section and replace it with a new one, the new pipe must be sweat-soldered into place. When you are dealing with threaded galvanized steel pipes, you cannot simply turn and remove it. The moment you unscrew it from one end, the other end begins to tighten. This makes it more difficult to address the leak. What do you do?
Short of calling a professional plumber, one solution to addressing this type of leak is to use a pipe patch. Not only is this easy to use, but you can also buy patch kits at virtually any hardware or home improvement store. You also have the option of creating your own piece with the use of a heavy rubber coming from an old inner tube and pairing it with a C-clamp.
Do you have an old hose clamp? You may also use this together with a rubber patch. The factory made kits however have a rubber pad that should be placed over the hole on the pipe and the metal plates will be used to compress and keep the rubber pad in place. This quick and easy solution will solve most leaks any time. Patch kits can also serve as a permanent solution provided that the pipe is in sound condition.
Another potential solution in repairing leaking pipes and joints is the use of a waterproof tape. This is wrapped around the portion where the leak is found. A special compound stick can also be applied at the area where the hole is found. Waterproof tape can also come in the form of self-tapping plug or epoxy paste among others.
It is important to keep in mind that when using waterproof tape, the pipe should be dried off completely. Begin applying the tape approximately 2 to 3 inches away from the hole and extend it about the same distance to ensure that the leak is completely covered.
If the leak is small enough, a compound stick can be used. Rub the stick over the hole, this should be enough to stop the leak. For compound sticks, it may not even be necessary to turn off the water supply as long as the leaks are tiny.
When using epoxy paste, the pipes should be completely dry. This means that the water should be turned off. However, to ensure that accidents are avoided, always make sure that the water supply is turned off before initiating any repairs.
Keep in mind that these solutions are applicable only if the pipe is in good condition or if it is the first time to spring a leak. What if the pipe and joints are already degraded or there have been one too many leaks?
The best solution in this case is to call on a licensed plumbing professional to have the entire line replaced. Keep in mind as well that a water drip does not necessarily mean that there is a leak – it might just be a sweaty pipe.
To help find the right repair solution for leaking joints and pipes, call Scott English Plumbing now!