How to Patch a leaky Pipe While Waiting for the Plumber

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When people notice a pipe that is leaking in their house, it is typically because they have noticed a spike in their water bill accompanied by a stain in their ceiling or on their floor. After they contact the plumber and arrange an appointment, they often try to temporize the leak to stop the damage that is occurring in their home. For those who are looking for assistance with creating a temporary patch for a leaking pipe while they wait for the local plumber, it is vital to remember a few important steps.

1. Turn Off the Water

Often, the first step is the one that is forgotten. Before any patch can be applied to a leaking pipe, the water has to be shut off. Without shutting the water off, the water pressure will remain high and no patch is going to stick. Residents who don’t know where their water shutoff valve is should start by looking on the water pipes that feed the sink or at branch points in the pipes. Don’t forget to run the faucets at points above that of the leaking pipe to clear out any water sitting in the pipes.

2. Wipe the Leak Location

Once the water has been shut off, wipe off the pipe with the leak with a clean cloth. If the pipe has rust in the area of the leak, this can be removed with some steel wool. It may require some scrubbing to remove completely.

3. Tighten the Leak

Take a look at the area of the leak and tighten the joints that are nearby. It is possible that the joint fittings are already tight; however, take an adjustable wrench and turn the pipe joint fitting until the joint is tight. This should form a strong seal.

4. Smooth the Area

Take a file and use it to smooth the area of the pipe around the leak. This will create a smooth surface that the patch can attach to.

5. Cut a Patch

For most leaks, a one-inch square of durable material, such as rubber or neoprene, is enough to plug most leaks. For larger leaks, cut a large enough patch to leave about one inch of excess patch on every side.

6. Place the Patch

Ensure that the leak is going to land in the center of the patch to evenly distribute the force. Use hose clamps to attach the patch to the leak site. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws on the hose clamps. This will make sure that the patch stays in place. Continue to tighten the screws until they have formed a watertight patch over the leaky area. Inspect the patch to ensure that it stays in place.

Following these steps should yield a patch that will hold the leak until the local plumber arrives.

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