Fixing Leaky Pipes

by April Reinhardt
(last updated February 18, 2015)

We received an automated phone call from the water company several months ago. The cheery female voice of the recording told us that we had used an above average amount of water that week. Alarmed, and expecting an exorbitant water bill the following month, we checked all of the visible pipes of the house, made sure that the toilets weren't running water, and checked the exterior faucets of the house. We found no tell-tale signs of leakage, and held our breath until the water bill arrived. Apparently, and much to our relief, the water company had misdialed and called the wrong address.

However, there have been times in other situations where I've had to address leaky pipes. One unpleasant circumstance found me underneath the crawl space of the house, trying to patch a burst pipe in the coldest part of the winter. If you have leaky pipes, follow these steps for fixing them:

  1. Turn off the water supply. You will find the shut-off valve near plumbing fixtures.
  2. Completely wipe dry the pipe that is leaking.
  3. Determine if the leak is caused by a loose joint. If it is, simply tighten the joint, turn the water back on, and observe if the leak has stopped.

If the leak has stopped, your chore is finished. If you still see water spewing, that means you have a crack or a hole in the pipe. To patch the crack or hole, follow these steps:

  1. Turn the water off at the shut-off valve and dry the pipe completely.
  2. Determine the position of the crack or hole and cover it thickly and completely with epoxy.
  3. Wrap electrical tape or white thread tape around the pipe, covering the crack or hole, and then cover the tape with a thick layer of epoxy.
  4. Cut a section of rubber and wrap it around the pipe. Hold the rubber in place until it adheres to the pipe.
  5. Affix several metal pipe clamps or plastic wire-ties to the rubber and tighten them as tight as you can against the pipe. If you are working with PVC pipe, take care not to over-tighten, as you can crush or crack the pipe further.
  6. Allow the project to cure for at least an hour.

After you've allowed the pipe to cure, turn the water back on and check for leaks. If you still see water leaking, then you might need to call a plumber.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

MORE FROM APRIL

Relieving Pain from Rug Burn

Because rug burns are usually acquired inconspicuously, the severity of these first-degree-like burns may be overlooked. Left ...

Discover More

Cleaning Your Lawn Mower

If you're going to spend a few hundred dollars to purchase a lawn mower, it stands to reason that you should clean it and ...

Discover More

Filing Your Nails

Use clean or new emery boards, nail scissors and clippers, or metal nail files when filing your nails, and always start by ...

Discover More

MAX Power! A powerful lithium-ion drill/driver that delivers 0-to-650 RPM and 115 inches-per-pound of torque in a lightweight, easy-to-use package. An anti-slip soft grip and LED worklight makes this tool a delight to use. Check out Black & Decker 20-Volt Cordless Drill/Driver today!

More Home Improvement Tips

Replacing a Water Heater

Eventually everything in your home will need to be repaired or replaced, and your water heater is no different. Replacing a ...

Discover More

Winterizing a Hot Tub

Improperly shutting down your hot tub for the season can ruin an expensive investment. Most people should call a professional ...

Discover More

Choosing a Water Heater

Water heaters are an important piece of equipment in the home, and choosing the right one can mean all the difference between ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is seven minus 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Receive an e-mail several times each week with a featured home improvement tip. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)