How to Repair a Leaking Pipe

Anyone who’s driven a nail into the wrong spot will know the panic that hitting a hidden pipe instils; bursting a water pipe isn’t fun. Prevention is the best policy, so always use a pipe and cable detector before nailing or drilling. However, even experts in the building trade have been known to accidentally burst a pipe. Whatever you do, don’t panic, you won’t need emergency architects, if they exist or even a plumber. Repairing a leak can be a manageable DIY project if you know what to do.

First, chop away the plaster, if necessary, to expose the damaged portion of pipe. You’ll have to do a touch of painting, decorating and plastering after your plumbing work, of course. If you’re timid, use epoxy resin to mend the hole: you’ll need to clean the area to be fixed with emery cloth, all around the pipe’s diameter, to remove the oxide layer. Mix the two resin compounds together according to the manufacturer’s instructions, make sure you know the thickness needed to make the leak safe and wait until the resin is completely dried through before restoring the water supply.

A more permanent repair is to use a pipe-slice to cut the damaged section and solder ‘end-feed’ copper pipefittings in place, replacing the damaged section with a length of new copper pipe. The pipe has to be bone dry for the solder to take and you’ll need a blowtorch, emery cloth and flux, as well as solder, to do the job and a heat-retardant mat. Another, simpler, solution is to cut the damaged section out and replace with a compression joint.

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