Water leaks can be messy and disturbing affairs. Whether you’ve got water gushing out uncontrollably or simply dripping slowly but relentlessly from a pipe – you’re going to want to do something about it right away, even if this does not permanently solve the problem. Here are a few steps I highly recommend you follow. Please remember, however, that this is only a temporary solution, and you must later either call in a plumber or figure out a lasting solution. This solution combines a few temporary fixes and should work for a few days, at least.
1. Locate and Turn Off Main Water Valve
Your main water valve is usually located where you water meter is. No matter how small the leak is, you’re going to need to turn this off for a bit. Once you’ve done this, turn on a few taps and faucets in your home and allow the water contained in your pipes to drain out. This will stop the leakage for the time being, allowing you to work on it.
2. Dry the Area around the Leak
Once the dripping has stopped, use a piece of dry, absorbent cloth to dry out the area around the leak. This is important as it allows your fix to to stop the leak better, and also give you a way to see if your fix actually worked.
3. Make Sure You Have the Materials You Need
The best temporary fix for most pipe leaks is a hose clamp or several hose clamps used along the pipe that’s leaking. You will find these easily enough at any hardware store. Also, try getting your hands on rubber sheets and sand paper. In addition to these, you will also need one of the following: plumbing epoxy, pipe wraps, or pipe repair tape.
4. Seal Pipe with Epoxy or Pipe Wraps
The next thing you’re going to do is seal the leaky area with epoxy, plumbing repair tape, or pipe wraps. Epoxy is a type of putty that hardens against the surface it is stuck to. Pipe wraps and plumbing repair tape work in the same way. Before you use one of these methods, you may need to use sand paper to smoothen the area around the leak, especially if the pipe is corroded or rusty.
Next, follow the instructions on the epoxy or pipe wraps package to fix the leak. If you are using epoxy, make sure to knead the putty enough before sticking it on. Wait around an hour before proceeding to the next step.
5. Use Rubber and Clamps to Strengthen the Fix
While epoxy or pipe wraps are temporary fixes in themselves, I suggest you also seal the area with rubber and pipe clamps. All you’ve got to do is cut out a strip of rubber and wrap it around the area you’ve already sealed with epoxy or tape. Now place the clamp on top of the rubber and tighten it using the screw tighteners that come with the clamp. Use several clamps if the leak covers a wide area.
You can now turn on the main water valve. This fix should hold awhile. But don’t wait too long to get this repaired completely, as it will only weaken with time.
If you need any assistance during this process, or would like to go ahead and permanently fix the issue, give us a call.
Photo credit to Flickr user HighTechDad