Quick Fixes for Leaky Pipes
February 16, 2018
Did you know that 10% of American homes have plumbing leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day? Don’t ignore a leaky faucet or pipe. All that wasted water adds up.
Apart from wasting a lot of water, a leaking pipe can cause water damage and sleepless nights from all that dripping.
Since Fix a Leak Week takes place every March, we thought it would be a good idea to share some temporary fixes for leaking pipes.
Leaking Pipe Signs
Two of the most common indications that you have a leaking pipe is if you’ve noticed higher than normal water bills or hear running water when all faucets are turned off.
If you don’t know whether you have a leak, the main water meter should prove useful. Most water dials on water meters contain a leak detection dial, which starts spinning if it detects a leak. If there is a change in the number, you have a leak somewhere in the system.
Simply turn off all the water in your home and locate the main water meter. It is normally located in a box near the front curb of the home. If you don’t have a leak detection dial, note the number on the dial (your water usage), go back inside but don’t use any water or water-using appliance for an hour or so. Return to the water meter to check the number on the dial again.
Temporary Fixes for Leaky Pipes
The following emergency leaking pipe repair tips only work for small leaks and are for temporary use only. They should only be used to hold you over while you wait for a professional replacement. The pipe will have to be replaced as soon as possible.
If you have a leaking or broken pipe, it’s important to stop the flow of water immediately to prevent any further water damage.
First, turn off main water supply!
Shut off the water supply before attempting any type of pipe repair. Learn how to locate your individual and main water shut-off valves.
If you have not operated your water shut-off switches in a while, it’s a good idea to have a plumber test them first. They may spring a leak.
Note the location of your valves and have a professional plumber test all of the water shut-off valves for you. If your valves are leaking, contact a plumber right away. They may have to replace the valve stem packing.
4 Ways to Temporarily Repair Small Pipe Leaks
Leaking Threaded Joint
If you notice water leaking from a threaded joint, use a wrench to tighten the joint. It may not stop the leak completely, but it should slow it down. If you don’t see any threads or the pipe shows signs of welding, contact a professional plumber.
Clamps and Rubber Blankets
Clamps are probably the most effective temporary fix of them all. They should be able to stop a leak for several months when combined with a solid rubber blanket.
If you don’t have a rubber blanket, you can try using a cut-up hose. Make sure to cut the rubber blanket or hose at least 2 inches longer than the hole on either end. Then, use two properly sized clamps to hold the garden hose tightly over the hole.
When using clamps, make sure you have a sheet of rubber as well as the properly sized clamps for your pipes. Measure the diameter of your water pipes and purchase some clamps sized to fit your pipes. It’s always good to have these clamps on hand in case of an emergency.
Sleeve clamps that exactly fit the diameter work best. Simply wrap the rubber blanket over the leak, then screw the clamp down tightly over the blanket.
Adjustable hose clamps used with a rubber blanket should stop pinhole leaks but make not work for larger cracks and holes. Place an adjustable hose clamps (or two) around the rubber blanket over the leak and tighten the clamp.
C-clamps may also be used, just make sure you place a small block of wood between the rubber blanket and the clamp.
Plumbing epoxy is a useful material to have around the home to fill small cracks and holes in pipes. Simply break off a small piece of putty and mold it in your hands. Place it over the crack or hole with your hands or a putty knife and let it harden.
Make sure the surface is completely dry and the water is turned off before applying. Epoxy is a good solution in areas where clamps simply won’t work.
Seal Small Holes with Pencil Point
If the cause of the leaking pipe is a very small hole, you can break off the tip of a pencil point in the hole, then wrap it up with electrical tape. Make sure the pencil point is sharp and firmly lodged in the hole. Extend the electrical tape around 3 inches on either side of the hole.
Only use the pencil point method if you don’t have a clamp or putty on hand.
Prevent Leaking Pipes in the Future
We highly recommend insulating both your hot and cold water pipes in order to prevent condensation, frozen pipes, and energy savings.
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If any of this sounds difficult to you, you can hire Fix-It 24/7 plumbing services and get the leaks repaired or replaced with 24 hours.
Contact Fix-It 24/7 at (303) 214-0277 or schedule service online. We’re open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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