Kick The Bucket With Pleasure - Stopping A Pipe Leak

If you are experiencing a sporadic or constant drip from a pipe leak, you don't need to keep emptying a bucket or other container as they fill with water. There are multiple options for stopping a minor pipe leak that you can perform yourself.

Of course, if you have a steady flow or spray coming from a pressurized supply pipe, it's time to look for plumbers in your area before you are underwater in your own home.

What should you do to prepare a pipe for leak repair?

The first thing you must do is to drain the pipe. Drain pipes will not be a problem because they drain naturally when their water source is shut off. Supply pipes, on the other hand, will be filled with water that is under pressure. 

Supply valves must first be shut off before a supply pipe can be drained. This involves closing the valve that is closest to the supply pipe involved. Inspect the length of the pipe that you wish to repair until you reach the shutoff valve.

If there is no valve to that individual supply line, you may need to shut off the main supply valve to the home. After the supply to the pipe is turned off, any faucet that is fed by the supply line must be opened fully to allow as much water as possible to drain from the pipe.

The leaking area of the pipe should be then be cleaned of paint, rust, or other contaminants to help in securing a proper seal.

What are your options for stopping pipe leaks?

Pipe wrap tape

While it is not technically tape, because it adheres to nothing but its own surface, this relative newcomer to pipe leak repair is an easy and effective tool for stopping minor leaks.

Pipe wrap tape must be stretched tightly as it is wrapped around the leaking area of a pipe. It will not adhere to the pipe itself, and will stick most effectively, and form a tighter seal when it is stretched as much as possible while it is wrapped.

The end of the tape must be stretched and pressed firmly into the wrapped tape to ensure that the tape doesn't unravel and lose its seal.

Pipe repair clamp

This repair option consists of two semicircular steel pieces that are bolted together around a rubber gasket that is placed over a pipe leak. The nuts and bolts must be tightened securely to ensure a good seal, but should not be tightened to the point where they create further damage, especially on older steel pipes that corrode from the inside out and may be crushed by excessive pressure.

Pipe epoxy putty

This putty consists of two components that are mixed together to form a bonding agent that is as strong as steel when it cures. The two components are kneaded together by rolling them between open hands, then the putty is pressed onto the leak area. 

Epoxy putty is difficult to remove and begins to cure within minutes, so it must be mixed immediately before using it on a prepared surface. It has a metallic sulfur smell that may remain on the hands after washing but is effective in stopping pinhole leaks in basically sound pipes or small leaks in older steel pipes that may not be able to take the pressure from a clamp type repair. For more information, consider contacting a professional like those at Hillside Plumbing and Heating.