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. ...

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