How to Stop a Plumbing Leak

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Plumbing leaks that develop in the water lines of a home's plumbing system can cause property damage in a very short time. In many cases, a leaking union or pipe end can be patched with epoxy to alleviate the problem. However, if a hole in a run of pipe has occurred, you must take different measures to stop the leak and restore water pressure to your home. Proper tools, the right materials and basic plumbing knowledge are all you need to stop a plumbing leak.

Things You'll Need

  • Permanent marker
  • Wire brush
  • Cloth
  • Epoxy putty
  • Flat steel file
  • Medium-grit sandpaper
  • Pipe clamp
  • Flat-head screwdriver
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Safety goggles

Plumber's Epoxy Putty

  • Locate the leak and mark the spot with permanent marker. This reference mark makes it possible to find the leak after the water pressure has been shut off.

  • Turn off the main water valve for the house. The valve is usually located near the water meter.

  • Clean the area around the threaded area of the leaking union or pipe end, using a wire brush. Remove any residual particles and wipe the area dry with a cloth.

  • Tear off a sufficient amount of plumber's epoxy putty to completely cover the surface around the leak three times. Knead the putty by hand to make it pliable enough for the application. When properly kneaded, the putty will become one color.

  • Apply the epoxy putty, beginning on the opposite side of the hole and wrapping it over the hole. Overlap the putty approximately 1 inch on each side of the leak. Keep the epoxy tight enough to wrap without stretching it too thin.

  • Allow for the proper curing time as recommended by the manufacturer. Most epoxy putties need to be formed and in place within a few minutes, meaning you have to work quickly and deliberately. You can usually restore the water pressure in an hour.

Pipe Clamps

  • Clean the area around the hole with medium-grit sandpaper. Use a flat file to remove any rough edges or burrs. Wipe the surface dry with a cloth.

  • Position one half of the pipe clamp so it is centered over the rupture. Do the same with the other half. Line up the screw holes of the two halves and insert the clamp screws.

  • Tighten the clamp screws clockwise, using the appropriate-head screwdriver. Alternate the tightening in a cross-pattern. The inner walls of the clamp are lined with sealing material, and a cross-pattern ensures a tight, even fit on the pipe.

  • Restore the water pressure and perform a leak check.

Tips & Warnings

  • Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the particular epoxy putty brand you choose.
  • Wear protective eye wear when repairing water pipes.

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