Quick Pipe Leak Fixes
Being prepared to defend your home’s plumbing system against cold winter temperatures can prevent heart ache and save money – and it makes good sense too. You know, water- and sewer-line leaks occur year round – regardless of the temperature. However, chilling winter freezes can definitely add to the problem. No, you don’t have to be a plumber to be properly prepared. As a matter of fact, in some instances, all you might need is a roll of duct tape. Good old duct tape. Aren’t all of its uses amazing?!?
Think of these quick fixes that just about anyone can perform as plumbing first aid. The procedures we suggest will slow or stop a leak long enough to give you time to enlist the services of qualified plumbers during regular working hours. Remember: plumbers may charge double time nights and weekends. You may visit sites like homechoiceplumbing.com to hire a plumber and get an estimate of the cost and fees.
Any way, the trick to temporarily stopping a pinhole leak is to apply pressure to the opening. If you were strong enough you could simply grab the pipe and hold on. Not very practical though. Can you imagine all the good TV shows that you would miss. A more practical approach would be to wrap duct tape around the pipe. No kidding. In many instances duct tape is all that would be needed. Unfortunately, duct tape doesn’t always work. Another neat trick enlists the use of a C-clamp, a block of wood and a piece of rubber. The rubber is used as a gasket. The block of wood applies pressure over a wider area than the end of the C-clamp and the C-clamp holds the gasket and the wood block in place. Since the block of wood is flat it can only be used to create pressure along a very narrow area of the pipe. But we knew that. When there are several pinholes traversing around the pipe we suggest a hose clamp and a piece of rubber. A single universal hose clamp can be purchased that will fit every water pipe in your home. Boy, how often can you find a home fix up where one size fits all? By the way. A junk yard is filled with rubber that can be had for pennies. Old radiator and heater hoses are just what the doctor ordered. A friend who works on cars will probably be glad to give you all you need. How about the place where you have your car worked on. Who says we don’t appreciate FREE. Last, but not least, there is the super leak stopper better known as the sleeve clamp. Although the sleeve clamp is great for stopping pinhole leaks it can also be used for larger leaks as well (forget searching out a piece of rubber for this one – it comes with its own gasket). Each sleeve clamp must be purchased for use with a specific pipe size. That is, a sleeve clamp made to repair ½ inch pipe will be a different size than one needed to repair ¾ inch pipe. In the case of both the hose clamp and the sleeve clam only a screw driver is needed for installation. Not too complicated.
A couple of safety tips: if the leak is in a basement and electrical wires are present turn off the power before working in the area. The same holds true in under-floor subareas. Finding electrical wiring in a subarea is rare, but why take the chance. Also, it isn’t much fun to crawl a subarea when the area is dry let alone when it is partially flooded by a leaking pipe. So, be prepared to wear protective clothing. Many plumbers will not crawl into a flooded subarea. Have a teenager at home. How about a neighbor with a teenager. Ah, to be young again.
No one wants to spend money to unnecessarily inventory plumbing repair items on the oft chance that such an event might occur. But if you think about it the first three of the four repairs are made with scraps of material that can be acquired for free and three inexpensive items that have multiple uses: the hose clamp, the c-clamp and duct tape. Good junk to have in home dweller’s workshop.
Leaks in joints of threaded pipe can often be repaired with a pair of pipe wrenches. Be careful though, old galvanized iron pipe (20 years and older) should be left to a plumber or an experienced do-it-yourselfer. We have seen iron pipe crumble under the force of a pipe wrench. It’s best to conduct sewer cleaning during summer or spring.
Use the main shut-off valve to turn the water off to the house until the leak can be temporarily stopped. A professional at Graham and Sons plumbing will be able to assess the situation and determine a permanent solution to your problem. Plan for the worst, prepare for the best – and have a happy holiday season.