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How Can I Stop and Fix a Leaky Pipe?

Stopping and fixing a leaky pipe, while two very different processes, can prevent damage to your home, your time, and your wallet by temporarily or permanently resolving the problem at hand.

Stopping the Leak (The Temporary Solution)

Upon discovering a leak, stopping the leak should be your first priority whether the plumbing project necessary to fix it is big or small. Stopping a leak with the following steps prevents further water damage, the waste of more money, and makes replacing the pipe in the future a much simpler process. 

Step #1: Begin by shutting off the water valve to prevent any more water flow to the leak that has been identified.

Step #2: Turn on any faucets connected to the leaky pipe or use an air compressor to remove any water remaining within the leaky pipe.

Step #3: Eliminate all forms of condensation and remaining water by wiping the pipe dry with a towel or cloth and leaving it to air dry before address the leaking area.

Step #4: To initially seal the leak, there are two popular options:

Option 1 - An old plumber’s trick suggests sticking the tip of a sharp pencil in the hole that is causing the leak and breaking the lead tip in the hole so it plugs the hole. Then the area where the leak is should be covered with epoxy using a putty knife.

Option 2 - A more modern and less complicated option suggests simply applying epoxy to the leaking area.  

Step #5: Once the leak is stopped using either Option 1 or Option 2 of Step #4, the leak should then be covered with rubber or gardening hose cut roughly two inches longer than the leak itself. Apply the rubber or hose around the leak and hold it in place with the use of metal hose clamps which are to be tightened and allowed to set for a least an hour.

Step #6:  Make sure the leaking area and the rubber/hose itself is dry and then apply waterproof tape, wrapping the leaking area in several layers.

Step #7: Finally, turn on the water and check to make sure no leak is present after your repairs.

Fixing the Leak (The Permanent Solution)

While stopping a leak with the steps above is a great temporary fix for small leaks, time sensitive projects, and inexperienced individuals, it does not guarantee a permanent fix to your water leakage problem. This is due to the fact that usually when one leak is fixed, other leaks will spring up in other places because the whole section of pipe needs replaced due to corrosion. Because of this, we first recommend that you immediately contact a professional plumber after temporarily stopping a leak. However, if you feel you are capable of permanently fixing your leak, here are the steps you need to take to do so:

Step #1: Determine the length of pipe you will need to replace and head to your local plumbing or hardware store to gather the supplies you will need to complete this plumbing project: replacement piping, emery cloth, silver solder, solder flux, a fitting brush, and a torch.

Step #2: Turn on any faucets connected to the leaky pipe in question or use an air compressor to remove any water remaining within the leaky pipe.

Step #3: Using a hacksaw or a pipe cutter, remove the damaged section of pipe.

Step #4: Polish the outside and inside of both your current and replacement pipes using the emery cloth and fitting brush.

Step #5: Lightly apply soldering flux to each side of piping you are going to solder.

Step #6: Solder the new pipe into place and allow it to naturally cool. 

Step #7: Finally, turn on the water and check to make sure no leak is present after your repairs.  

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