Fixing a Leaky Pipe Until the Plumber Arrives
You wake up on Saturday morning, ready to enjoy the weekend, when you hear the sound of dripping water in your bathroom. Curious, you open the under-sink cabinet, where you find a leaky pipe and water spraying everywhere! What do you do?
First things first—call an emergency plumber that offers same-day plumbing service in Utah County. Once you do, you can rest assured that a licensed professional will knock on your door as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can stop the pipe from leaking with a temporary fix. Simply follow these steps.
1. Shut Off the Water
Before you can hope to fix a leaky pipe, you must stop the water flow. If the leak is coming from a specific plumbing appliance or fixture, you should be able to shut off the water by turning a valve on the wall behind it. Twist the valve clockwise as far as it will go to shut off the water.
If a pipe far from any appliance is leaking, you’ll need to find your home’s main water shutoff valve. The most likely location for this valve is on a street-facing wall on your home’s lowest level. The basement, crawlspace, garage, and mechanical room are plausible locations to check.
If you can’t find the shutoff valve inside your home, it could be buried in a water meter box near your property line. This underground box typically has a round or rectangular metal lid labeled “water” that sits flush with the grass or sidewalk.
You shouldn’t need tools to turn the shutoff valve if it’s located inside the house. Simply twist the valve clockwise to stop the flow of water. For shutoff valves buried in the ground, you may need a meter key to open the box and pliers to turn the stiff valve.
2. Wipe the Pipe Dry
Once you have turned off the water, you can stop there and wait for the plumber to arrive. However, if you want to continue using your plumbing system until then, you’ll need to apply a temporary patch.
To ensure the patch will stick, take the time to wipe the pipe dry. While you’re at it, mop up the floor and other wet surfaces as best you can to prevent further damage. Your efforts will also allow the plumber to get straight to work when they arrive.
3. Tighten the Plumbing Joint
Examine the area where the pipe started leaking and see if you can identify the source. If you spot any loose connections, tighten them with an adjustable wrench. You may want to place a rag on the pipe first to prevent scratching the finish.
Be aware that some plumbing joints can leak even if they feel tight. To ensure this doesn’t happen, consider applying pipe thread tape, also known as plumber’s tape, PTFE tape, and the brand name Teflon. This creates a watertight connection so future leaks don’t form.
If you can’t find any other visible signs of a leak, consider turning the water back on and testing your repair job. You might not need a plumber after all if a leaky joint was the only problem.
4. Prep the Pipe
Instead of a loose plumbing connection, a hairline crack could be the reason your pipe is leaking. In that case, you need to create a temporary patch. Before you begin, make sure the pipe is smooth to the touch. Otherwise, the patch won’t stick. If the pipe is rusty or has any rough spots near the source of the leak, file it down with sandpaper or a metal file.
5. Patch the Pipe
You have a few options for temporarily fixing a leaky pipe. Here’s a look at each one in order of effectiveness:
- Silicone tape: Also known as self-fusing or self-amalgamating tape, silicone tape provides an excellent temporary fix for a leaking pipe. In fact, it’s specifically designed to seal pipe leaks and may last for up to a few weeks. To apply silicone tape, start an inch or two from one side of the crack and wrap the tape as tightly as you can, overlapping itself several times as you go. Overshoot the crack on the other side as well to prevent water from seeping through.
- Epoxy putty: If you have some epoxy putty on hand, you can use it to fix a leaking pipe. Simply break off a piece, knead it in your hands to soften it, and push it into and around the crack as a temporary plug.
- Rubber garden hose and pipe clamps: The naturally rounded shape of a garden hose makes it an effective pipe patch. Clamp or tape it into place to seal the leaky spot until a plumber can provide a more permanent fix.
- Duct tape: If you don’t have any of the above materials on hand, reach for a roll of duct tape. This all-purpose tape has fabric woven into it for superior strength and adhesion in wet applications. Apply it the same way as silicone tape, overlapping it several times and overshooting the crack on both sides. The fix should hold until the plumber arrives.
A leaking pipe can cause tremendous damage on its own, but it may not be an isolated problem. Luckily, Triple T Heating, Cooling & Plumbing can help. After fixing your leaky pipe, we can examine the rest of your plumbing system upon request. By tightening connections and replacing damaged sections, we can help you avoid future leaks and property damage. We offer other preventative plumbing services as well, including drain inspections and water heater maintenance.
With help from the knowledgeable plumbers at Triple T, you can expect your plumbing system to flow smoothly for years to come. For more information about our services, or to request a same-day plumbing visit to your Utah County home, please call 801-798-7711 or contact us online.