How to Repair Leaky Pipes Quickly

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You can stop - or at least slow down - a leak to prevent water
damage until a plumber can do the complete repair. These
steps are for a temporary fix, not a long-term cure.

Things You'll Need

  • Duct Tape
  • Epoxy
  • Garden Hoses
  • Hose Clamps
  • Knife
  • Pencils
  • Buckets
  • Pipe Wrenches
  • Screwdriver Sets
  • Tighten a threaded joint with a pipe wrench if the leak is there. If that doesn't stop the leak, it may at least slow the leak until the joint can be replaced. (Note: Some older plumbing may require brazing - a kind of welding. If the pipe has no threads, or you see signs of welding, leave this technique to the professionals.)

  • Plug a very small hole by sticking the tip of a sharp pencil in it. Break off the tip in the hole and cover the hole with duct tape, wrapping it in several layers.

  • Alternatively, apply epoxy putty specially formulated for leaks caused by cracks or small holes.

  • Fix larger holes by clamping a piece of hose around the pipe. With a knife, cut a length of hose at least 2 inches longer than the hole. (Rubber hose or even an old piece of garden hose will do.) You will also need three hose clamps. Slit the hose lengthwise and fit it around the pipe, then clamp the hose in place using a hose clamp at each end and one in the middle.

  • Discontinue use of the leaking plumbing or catch the spillage with a bucket until proper repairs can be made.

Tips & Warnings

  • If tightening a threaded joint doesn't work, some older plumbing may require brazing. Unless you're familiar with this technique, it should be left to professionals.
  • Use caution - old joints and pipe can be fragile. Rough treatment could potentially worsen the problem. Remember that minimizing water damage is your main concern here, so don't worry about what the patch looks like.
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