How To Repair A Leaking Pipe

Construction & Contractors Blog

Before attempting to repairing a leaking pipe, you must first evaluate the situation. If the pipe has only a slight leak or drip, you may be able to stop the leak yourself.

However, if the pipe is a supply line, which are under pressure and capable of gushing water non-stop, you should call a plumber who provides emergency plumbing services.

Minor leaks, even in supply pipes, can be repaired using different methods including:

Pipe repair clamp

This useful item is simple to use and the only tool you'll need is an adjustable wrench. It is composed of a round metal clamp which is divided into two halves. These two pieces are clamped around a rubber gasket that is placed on the leaking area of a pipe using the two nuts and bolts provided. 

Use of a pipe repair clamp on older steel pipes should be done with caution. Steel pipes corrode from the inside over time, and if a pipe repair clamp is tightened too much, a corroded pipe can be crushed or broken. This would require the length of pipe to be replaced.

Installing a pipe repair clamp

Before installing a pipe repair clamp, the water supply to the pipe must be turned off. This will require turning off the nearest valve. If no nearby valve can be found, the main valve that controls water flow into the home must be turned off.

The pipe must then be drained by opening all faucets supplied by the pipe. When the water is drained, the area around the leak should be cleaned to help provide a smooth surface for the clamp.

When preparation is complete, wrap the flat rubber gasket around the leak and place the two halves of the clamp around the gasket. Place the provided bolts through the slots in each half of the clamp, and thread the nuts onto the bolts.

Tighten the nuts with the adjustable wrench, alternating between each nut in order to ensure the clamp is tightened evenly. 

Pipe repair tape

This material is not truly tape, and only adheres to itself, but is easy to use and requires no tools. Preparation procedures for using pipe repair tape are the same as those used for a clamp.

When the pipe is prepared, you will begin to wrap the tape around the pipe in the area of the leak, stretching it tightly as it is wrapped in several layers around the affected area. It is important to stretch the tape as much as possible, and to overlap layers of tape. 

The tape will not adhere to the pipe itself, so when the taping is complete, stretch the end as much as possible and press it against the overlapped tape. If the end is not secured completely, the tape will eventually unravel and the bond will be broken.

Epoxy putty

This compound is useful for pinhole leaks, but if it doesn't work, it is difficult to remove to try other methods. It is composed of two materials that, when kneaded together, form a compound that is strong as steel when it sets.

Epoxy putty is usually sold in plastic tubes with capped ends. The two component materials are stored separately in each end of the tube. 

To use epoxy putty, clean and dry the leak area. Break off an equal amount of each of the two components and knead them between your hands until they mix and turn gray. The resulting compound should then be pressed against the leak and allowed to set according to instructions  before water pressure is restored to the pipe.

You should be forewarned that the resulting compound has an unpleasant sulfurous smell that may be difficult to remove from your hands after use. Using gloves is not practical because the compound will stick to them and will not mix properly.

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