How to repair home leaks

Leaking pipes in the home are a real pain and can do damage to your carpets, floors and ceilings if left for too long. They can, however, be relatively easy to fix providing you have the know-how.

 

What happens to the pipes?

Often, we expect pipes to be dramatically damaged judging by the amount of water that seems to be coming from them, but in reality, many leaks are caused by a small crack in a pipe. By learning to patch up the pipe yourself, you can save money on plumbers and fix the problem as soon as it arises.

 

What you need

All you need to fix a leaky pipe is some waterproof epoxy putty and some waterproof tape, both of which can be picked up from most DIY stores or purchased online. Here's what you should do:

Step 1: Turn off the water valve to the pipe. This can usually be found underneath the kitchen sink, and should stop all water from flowing through the pipes.

Step 2: Turn on all taps to drain any water left in the pipes. It's a good idea to place a towel underneath the damaged pipe to catch any water that escapes at this point.

Step 3: Dry the damaged pipe thoroughly with a cloth or towel and allow it to air-dry completely before going any further. If there is any moisture on the pipe, the putty will not stick.

Step 4: Apply the waterproof putty thoroughly to the damaged area. A putty knife or plastic spatula of some kind will help you force the epoxy right into the crack.

Step 5: Allow the epoxy putty to set. The curing time will vary from brand to brand, so check the packaging that the epoxy came in; it could be as quick as 20 minutes or as long as an hour.

Step 6: This step isn't absolutely necessary, but it can help to strengthen the pipe and help your repair last longer. When you're sure that the epoxy putty is completely dry and hard, wrap some strong waterproof tape around the pipe on the damaged area.

Step 7: Turn the water back on and run a tap. Check for any signs of leakage from the pipe; if everything stays dry, congratulations! You can add DIY plumbing to your list of achievements.

 

Dealing with cracked pipes

If a pipe is very damaged with a crack that spans a long length of it, it is often easier to replace the entire pipe rather than attempting to fill the crack with epoxy putty.

The damaged section of pipe can be cut out with a metal saw, and a new section soldered in place. If you're confident with a soldering iron, this may be something you can do yourself, but for those who lack the experience or equipment, it's often more cost effective and less risky to hire a plumber to do it for you. After all, if a large section of pipe is not installed properly, you could find yourself with an even more spectacular leak on your hands than you did to begin with.