As a homeowner, a few things can be as distressing as finding a leak in your pipes, because it feels as if they’re leaking money instead of water.
It’s better to remember that a little drip can turn into a big disaster before you know it, so acting fast can save you thousands of dollars and a lot of hassle. Try applying these tips instead of putting your life on hold while an expert comes to fix it up.
NOTE: These are meant to be temporary fixes for your water pipes. If you also know or suspect that one of your gas pipes has a leak, shut it off and call your local fire department immediately.
How to Fix a Leaking Pipe While Waiting for the Plumber
1. Plumbers Epoxy
To fix a pipe like a plumber, you have to think like a plumber, and using their tools is a good first step. Plumbing epoxy is a bit like modeling clay, and using it is exceedingly simple. First, and after you’ve learned how to find a water leak, cut off the water supply to the leaky pipe, then knead a small amount of epoxy in your hand so it softens a little before applying it to the crack and covering it completely. Allow it to harden for a few minutes, turn on the water supply again and check for leaks.
This will prove an effective and quick fix that will last you for a while, depending on the size of the crack, so you’ll have plenty of time to call a professional.
2. Pipe Repair Clamps
There are many, many different shapes and sizes of clamps, but the basic principle of them all involves covering the damaged part of a pipe with a plastic or rubber patch then bolting the clamp around it, sealing it shut. Many should be available at your local hardware store, but also be sure to have the tools needed to install it at hand.
As with the solution above, you’ll first need to cut off the water supply and dry out the affected area. Place the patch over the crack, secure it with electrical tape then clamp it shut. Turn the water back on and check for leaks.
3. Duct Tape
Yes, the old reliable. Despite sometimes being considered the mark of shoddy workmanship, duct tape will always be an effective solution for most leaks, provided they’re not too big and you plan on a more permanent solution soon after. As with the other fixes on this list, it depends on you closing off the water supply to the affected pipe and drying the area where you’ll put the tape. Apply a couple of layers to it before turning the water back on and checking for any sign of a leak.
4. Localized Insulation
It’s possible that you’ve seen a pipe so wet that you could swear that there’s a leak somewhere, but you can’t find it. There’s a chance that instead of a damaged pipe, you’re seeing condensation caused by the water running inside of it being colder than the surrounding air.
An easy solution for this is to buy self-adhesive drip tape designed specifically to stick on those “sweaty” pipes. Dry the area, wind the tape over the pipes and fittings then forget about condensation for good.
All of these repairs are an effective way to prevent the water from a small drip or leak to damage the rest of your house, but they’re no replacement for a professional repair job - plumbing, like cleaning, is a thing best left to the experts most of the time.