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- By James Wisler
- Pipe Repair
If a pipe bursts or a faucet leaks, you can’t always afford to wait for a plumber. Water damage will quickly take its toll. Knowing a few basic but important quick plumbing fixes can make a big difference in recovering from a plumbing disaster.
Here are some simple repairs you can make to minimize the damage before your local plumber arrives. These simple emergency solutions may seem small, but they could save you money and save your home from a major disaster.
No matter how small a pipe leak is, you don’t want water getting into your home. Even small drops can become big problems. Fortunately, there are many home plumbing tools available to help you find quick solutions to avoid disasters.
Whichever method you choose, start by turning off the water. and measure the circumference of your leaking pipe.
How to Turn Off the Water
To shut off the water supply to a leaking pipe, locate the nearest shutoff valve. Sinks and toilets have a small button at the bottom that connects the water supply. Showers and bathtubs often have an access panel on the opposite side of the wall. Simply turn the shut-off valve counterclockwise to prevent water from leaking.
If your leak is not near a local shutoff valve, you may need to turn off your entire home’s water supply until the leak is repaired. Locate your water line where the city water supply flows into your home. It has a button or lever valve that allows you to turn off your home’s water supply.
The Right Repair Supplies
Your nearest hardware store should have everything you need to temporarily stop leaky pipes until they can be replaced. If you have iron pipes, purchase an epoxy compound. If you have copper, PVC, or something else, purchase a cable tie or cable sleeve.
- How to Fix a Leaking Iron Pipe: Apply epoxy directly to the leaking pipe, just as you would with a caulk or plumbing putty. The epoxy will temporarily seal the leak.
- To repair leaks in PVC or copper pipes: Attach the hose clamp or wrap it around the leak. The pressure should remain in the water until you can replace the hose.
Keep in mind that none of these three products provide a permanent solution. Although they work great as a quick fix, replacing the pipe is the only surefire way to permanently eliminate a pipe leak.
Leaking Pipe Joint
Leaking pipe joints are a little more difficult than regular pipe leaks. The joint angle can make quick repairs difficult or ineffective. Luckily, there are some tools specifically designed to quickly fix annoying leaks like these.
Rubber hose repair sleeves and fittings are flexible enough to wrap around a leaking connection and press on it to force water back through the hose.
How to use a rubber hose fitting or repair sleeve:
Measurement is important here. Cut the rubber hose fittings to fit snugly around the leak. The rubber on the connector is water resistant if tightened enough, but it won’t last forever. Repair sleeves work well for small connection leaks. Add a clip to your rubber sheet to hold it in place.
However, over time the leak may expand beyond the sleeve. If necessary, you can supplement one of these tools with tape, but keep in mind how temporary this solution would be.
Like anything else, toilets, bathtubs, sinks, and showers can crack or break. But unlike everything else, these devices are sometimes filled with water. It’s easy to panic when the bottom of your toilet cracks and your bathroom floods. In such cases, you want to prevent the leak from damaging the floor as quickly as possible.
This is where our old friend’s plumber’s putty comes into play. Start by applying plumber’s putty into the leak. Try to tighten it as comfortably as possible. Plumbing putty is naturally water-resistant, so it should last quite a while. After pressing the grout as much as possible, apply the grout directly on top. Caulk helps form a secondary seal and lasts longer than a plumber’s putty, but without the putty it would be difficult to apply. However, since neither caulk or caulk lasts forever, consider replacing your toilet, sink, or bathtub soon afterward.
Faulty Water Heater
If your water heater is not working properly, there is likely a buildup of sediment in the tank. When a layer of sediment builds up at the bottom of a water heater tank, it blocks the heating element. The water heater wastes time and energy trying to heat the sediment. You’re not getting hot water as quickly and your water heater is saturated. At some point, all water heaters will need to be replaced, but flushing your tank can significantly extend its lifespan.
To Flush your Water Heater
First, turn off the water heater. Run hot water in a sink for about 10 minutes to drain the hot water tank. Turn off the cold water supply to the tank, then connect a garden hose to the drain valve. Make sure the pipe leads to the nearby floor drain. Reopen the cold water supply WITHOUT closing the drain valve or disconnecting the hose. Watch the water flow until you can no longer see the discoloration of the sediment.
For Plumbing Emergencies in Roanoke, Salem & throughout Virginia.
Try these quick solutions for all of the above plumbing emergencies and then call us immediately. We can solve your emergency quickly, efficiently and permanently. Wisler has been working in Roanoke, VA since 1986, solving all types of home plumbing problems.