How to Repair an Aluminum Pipe

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Aluminum pipes are commonly used with water systems because aluminum is highly resistant to rusting and corrosion caused by water exposure. Another bonus of working with aluminum pipes is that they are quite easy to repair without spending a lot of money of hiring a professional plumber. There are two simple methods for you to choose from when it comes to aluminum pipe repair so you can choose the one that is more suited to your skills.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff wire brush
  • Handheld propane torch
  • Aluminum patching rod
  • Rasp
  • Epoxy putty
  • Bucket of water
  • Water-activated aluminum pipe sealing wrap

Patching

  • Turn off the water running through the pipe and allow the remaining water inside to drain out. If water is still coming out of the damaged area, wait until the leak ceases.

  • Clean the damaged area with a stiff brush to remove any flaking pieces of aluminum and to make the pipe shiny. Brush the surrounding area of the pipe as well to ensure it is clean and will take the repair.

  • Heat the aluminum to 732 degrees Fahrenheit with the propane torch. Start at the beginning of the damaged area and move slowly towards the end.

  • Rub the patching rod against the heated part of the pipe until the rod starts to patch the damage. Keep working along the damage until the pipe is fully patched.

  • Move the rod away from the pipe and reheat the aluminum with the torch if the patch is not flowing easily. Do not attempt to heat the rod directly only heat the pipe and then apply the rod to the hot pipe.

Wrapping

  • Turn off the supply of water running to the pipe and let the system run dry. Scuff the entire damaged part of the pipe with a rasp to complete the pipe preparation.

  • Pull off a small piece of epoxy putty or knead it into the damaged pipe. Use enough putty to plug the entire damaged area.

  • Immerse the roll of pipe wrap into a bucket of water and allow the entire roll to become wet before removing.

  • Place the end of the wrap perpendicularly to the pipe covering over the putty. Hold the wrap in place and pull the rest of the roll tightly away from the pipe.

  • Wrap the entire roll around the pipe until you reach the end. Maintain tight pressure on the wrap to make sure it is securely gripping the pipe.

  • Grip the wrapped section of pipe and use your hand to smooth it down and press the wrap to the pipe. Let the wrap dry and harden before turning the water back on.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep pipe repair materials on hand if you work with a lot of aluminum piping so you can fix damages as soon as you find them.
  • Do not attempt to repair magnesium pipe with these methods as the metal is not safely compatible.

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References

  • Photo Credit pipe fitting image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com
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