Pipes are tubular, hollow cylinders used to transport liquids and gases. They are commonly found in plumbing systems around your house and carry hot and cold water, waste, and other liquids. Household pipes come in various materials, including copper pipes, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), galvanized pipes, brass, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, etc.
Water pipes with leaks can cause frustrations and serious property damage. And if this happens, you might need to call for expert help. If you’re trying to get to the bottom of your plumbing woes, this guide is for you.
Here, we’ll provide a no-nonsense approach to help you fix pipe leaks and prevent further property damage. Whether it’s an old or new pipe, a large or small leak, or an interior or exterior issue, our easy-to-follow steps will help you resolve your plumbing problem quickly and effectively.
What Causes Leaky Pipes?
Leaky pipes can result from the following:
- Worn-out pipe material, such as those made of copper or galvanized steel.
- Poorly installed pipes, especially if the joints and connections are not properly secured.
- High water pressure exerts too much stress on the pipes and causes them to crack or burst over time.
- Corrosion due to corrosive chemicals in the water supply or from acidic soil around exterior lines.
- Extreme weather conditions can cause freezing and cracking of exposed pipes in colder climates.
How to Locate a Leak in Pipes
Before you begin any damaged pipe repairs, you will need to know the exact location of the leak. Some leakage may be hard to spot and can require professional help to find it.
Meanwhile, here are some of the ways to detect the source of leaking pipes:
- First of all, you need to find your water meter. It is usually located near the street and has a long flexible tube connected to it. If you believe there is a leak, check for abnormal water pressure or strange sounds from your pipes.
- Turn all faucets in your home and watch the meter for any changes. If the needle moves, it’s an indication that there’s water leaking somewhere in your home’s plumbing system.
- Next, check your house for any signs of moisture or dripping water. Check under sinks, behind toilets, and along exterior walls where pipes are located. If you still can’t find the source of the leak, consider using a specialized device like an acoustic stethoscope that can help pinpoint its location more precisely.
- Test faucets for weak pressure or low water flow. This could indicate a blocked pipe somewhere in the line. Increasing the pressure could force a leak from an already weakened pipe segment.
- Look for water stains on walls, floors, and ceilings that might point to an area with a potential leak. If it has been going on for a while, you may need to call in a professional plumber and a restoration company for remediation services. They can identify the source of your leak and make the necessary repairs.
- Listen closely for any hissing noises within the wall cavity or behind furniture items that might indicate a hidden leak.
Steps in Leaky Pipe Repair
Step #1: Turn Off the Main Water Supply
Turn off the main water supply. This will stop any further damage and prevent flooding. You can often find the main shut-off valve near your water meter, on a basement wall, or in an outside utility room.
Step #2: Inspect and Clean the Pipe
Now that you know where to look, it’s time to inspect and clean the pipe. If there is any corrosion buildup, use a wire brush to scrub it away. Also, you can use a cleaner specifically designed for pipes, such as vinegar and baking soda solution.
For unsightly mineral deposits on the outside of your copper pipe, wash it first with a sponged dipped in warm water. Make a paste of one part vinegar or lemon juice and two parts of cream of tartar. Apply the paste to a stiff brush and scrub away all the alkaline deposits on the pipe. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Step #3: Seal the Leak with Epoxy Putty
Once you have cleaned and inspected the pipe, you can seal the leak using an epoxy putty. This will help keep water from leaking out and help prevent any further damage. Be sure to use latex or nitrile gloves to protect your hands when handling the epoxy putty.
Step #4: Test the Repair with Water
After sealing the leak, it’s time to test your repair by turning on the main water supply again. If there are no further leaks or drips, you have successfully fixed your leaky pipe.
Step 5: Call a Professional if You Need Help
If you find the problem too complicated for DIY repairs at any point in this process, don’t hesitate to call an expert plumber who can diagnose and fix the issue quickly.
It’s important to note that this is only a temporary fix, especially for older pipes. Regular maintenance and servicing are essential for a lasting solution.
DIY: How to Fix Water Damage in Your Home
If you’ve experienced a pipe leak, you should fix any water damage that may have occurred in your home to prevent further damage. To do this:
- Remove wet materials and furniture from the area as soon as possible. Before beginning any repairs, remove any water-damaged items and furniture from the affected area.
- Dry the area with a wet/dry vacuum, fans, or dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers help remove additional moisture from the affected area and speed up drying.
- Clean and disinfect all wet surfaces, walls, carpets, and furniture. Use soap and warm water to clean all surfaces the leaky pipe has damaged thoroughly.
- Assess the damage and repair or replace any structural components. If there is extensive water damage in your home, you may need to hire a pro to assess the severity of the damage and make repairs as necessary. They have the required equipment, tools, training, and experience to do the job right.
- Take steps to prevent further water damage in your home. Once everything has been dried out and repaired, you should prevent further water damage, such as replacing old pipes or installing shut-off valves in case of future leaks. Also, make sure to inspect the area around your pipes regularly so you can catch leaks early.
Remember: Leaky Pipes Lead to Water Damage
If you’ve experienced leaks on your water supply lines, you must take steps to fix the issue and prevent costly repairs. With some knowledge and elbow grease, you can identify, repair, and protect against future leaks. As a result, you avoid water damage in your home. If you ever need help with leak detection or repairs, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber. For water damage, it may be best to call a restoration company for restoration services.