A leaking water pipe can be a chaotic experience. Water rushing from a pipe will cause a good deal of confusion and possibly even panic. In these instances all you can think about is how much you want the water to stop pouring from the leak, but often you don’t know exactly what to do to make this happen. The first thing to do in the event of a pipe leak is to shut off the water supply to the pipe. This is usually done by turning off the supply valve on the pipe, but may involve turning off the main supply valve as well. Doing this will at least stop the surge of water and allow you to think about the problem.
After shutting off the water, you will want to find out where the leak is coming from and what kind of leak it is. Depending on the nature of the leak, you may or may not be able to pull off a quick fix. A split pipe will be different than a pinhole leak. Once the water is off and you have assessed the leak, you will need to either fix the pipe yourself or call a plumber. Either way, you may need to turn the water back on and still buy yourself some time by improvising a solution to keep the water in the pipe.
Rubber Tube Fix
For a quick fix to a troublesome leak you can use a piece of rubber like part of a hose or a bike tire tube to wrap over the hole in the pipe. You will need some good clamps to hold the tube in place and apply enough pressure to keep water from coming out of the leak. After securing the rubber around the pipe and leak, you can also position small blocks of wood on either side of the pipe and then set the clamps. This provides some added pressure to keep the rubber in place and better secure the leak.
Pencil Point Fix
This quick fix really only works with small leaks such as pinhole leaks. This is probably one of the quickest and cheapest methods of quickly securing a leak. Basically you stick a pencil head into the hole and break it off. Then use duct tape to wrap the pipe around the leak. Finally, apply some plumber’s putty around the tape where you plugged the leak and allow it to set for a couple of hours. If the area around the leak seems secure, turn the water back on. The integrity of this ‘fix’ may be questionable once the water is back on, so consider finding a more permanent fix as soon as possible.
Pipe Clamp Fix
Pipe clamps are specially designed for sealing leaks. They feature a rubber gasket inside the clamp which can be tightened to fit securely in place over the pipe. If you happen to have these lying around or have the time to procure some after spotting a leak, installing them to the pipe will be a much more reliable fix. If your home has galvanized pipes, consider investing in some pipe clamps since these types of pipes corrode from the inside and are prone to leaks over time. If a leak does occur and you have these clamps on hand, you will be well prepared for a quick fix. All you need to do is place the clamp over the leak and tighten the screws to seal the leak and hold the clamp permanently in place.
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