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A leaky pipe can cause problems in your kitchen or bathroom. Water accumulating underneath a sink can rot the floor below and create conditions for unhealthy mold. Discovering a pipe leak can be stressful but making an immediate fix doesn’t need to be.
You can make temporary repairs to a leaky pipe with the right tools and supplies. This guide will show you how to fix a leaking pipe and outline the methods for the repair.
- How to Fix a Leaking Pipe Without Replacing It
- How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Plumbers Tape
- How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Self-Fusing Silicone Tape
- How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Epoxy Putty
- How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with a Patch and Clamp
- How to Tell If the Leaky Pipe is Sealed
- How to Clean Up After Fixing a Leaky Pipe
How to Fix a Leaking Pipe Without Replacing It
A crack or break may be the reason the pipe in your bathroom or kitchen is leaking, but a common reason for the leak is a loose coupling nut connecting the pipes.
Coupling nuts connect the drainpipes and P trap, the U-shaped pipe that traps waste and prevents sewer gases from entering your home. If this is the source of the leak, use a wrench from your plumbing tools to tighten the coupling nut.
How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Plumbers Tape
If the area where the pipe joins continue to leak after you’ve tightened the coupling nut, the watertight seals in the pipe threads may be worn or no longer viable. Plumbers tape is an effective sealant to provide emergency relief from leaks. The ease of application and flexibility of material make it useful as leaky pipe repair on threads and fittings.
- Unscrew the coupling nut joining the P trap with the pipe draining from the sink. Loosen the other coupling nut and move the P trap away from the draining pipe.
- Following the manufacturer’s instructions, wrap a length of plumbers tape around the threads of the pipe.
- Move the P trap back into position with the draining pipe and reconnect the pipes with the coupling nut. Tighten both coupling nuts.
- Run water to check if the seal holds.
How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Self-Fusing Silicone Tape
Self-fusing silicone tape is also effective as a temporary fix on low pressure lines. It creates a seamless waterproof layer when stretched. Wrap the tape around the pipe, stretching it as you make tight overlapping passes to cover the area of the leak.
How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with Epoxy Putty
Use epoxy putty or pipe putty as a temporary fix to a leaky pipe. Pipe putty is designed to harden at room temperature and seal the hole or crack.
- Turn off the water supply line in the house.
- Drain the damaged line and ensure that the area to be patched is clean and dry so that the epoxy putty will properly adhere to the pipe.
- Tear off enough plumbing epoxy putty to fully cover the surface around the leak.
- Knead the putty until it is pliable enough for application.
- Apply the putty to the pipe.
- After the putty has fully cured according to the manufacturer’s instructions, turn on the water flow and check for leaks.
How to Fix a Leaky Pipe with a Patch and Clamp
Use repair clamps with a neoprene rubber patch to make temporary repairs to larger ruptures in pipes. Follow these steps on how to fix a leaking pipe joint using a clamp and patch:
- Turn off the water supply to the leaking pipes and clean the area around the hole to be patched.
- Use a metal file to smooth any sharp edges that might cut through the patch.
- Apply the patch and repair clamp so it evenly overlaps the damaged section of pipe.
- Tighten the clamps to seal the leak.
- Turn on water supply and check for leaks.
How to Tell If the Leaky Pipe is Sealed
After you’ve finished making the repairs to a leaky pipe by patching or sealing the source of the leak, turn the water supply back on. Run water into the drain and check to see if the repairs hold.
- Look for moisture forming on the epoxy putty edges or around the silicone tape seals.
- Check for moisture forming where the rubber patch contacts the pipe.
How to Clean Up After Fixing a Leaky Pipe
You’ve completed the steps of a leaking pipe repair, but there is still the matter of the damp area that called your attention to the presence of the leak in the first place.
Drying out the kitchen or bathroom cabinet after you’ve repaired the pipe leak prevents significant damage to the cabinet. Follow these steps after you’ve finished sealing the pipe leak:
- Take all items out of the cabinet.
- Soak up any excess water with towels. Wipe the interior floor until it is dry. Wear cleaning gloves as you do this.
- Wipe down the interior cabinet surfaces with a disinfectant or a homemade solution of 1 ounce of bleach to 4 gallons of hot water.
- Place a dehumidifier in the cabinet. If possible, use a fan to dry the cabinet’s interior.
You should inspect the kitchen or bathroom cabinet for damage. Water from a leaky pipe over time will saturate the cabinet material. Particle board is particularly vulnerable to saturation. This creates conditions for unhealthy mold spores to thrive. If the cabinet floor is soft to the touch due to water saturation over a long period of time, you may want to think about replacing it right away.
Knowing how to fix a leaky pipe saves time and money, but remember that repair tape, pipe putty and clamps are temporary solutions. Once pipe leaks are sealed, your next step is just as important: Make plans for a permanent repair even if it's a small leak. Download The Home Depot Mobile App for the repairs supplies you’ll need. If the damage to your pipes is serious, call The Home Depot plumbing services if you are having trouble with leaking pipes.
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