When water escapes from your pipes and left unattended, it will eventually create a huge problem in no time. A tiny leak which is ignored will soon damage and flood everything in its vicinity. It is crucial that you take immediate action as soon as you notice any sign of leak in your pipes. But how do we know that our pipes are already leaking if they are hidden beneath our walls, ceilings, and floors? Well, you can pretty much tell if your pipes are leaking when you notice wet spots on any of these areas. That is one indicator that you’ve got a leaking pipe which you shouldn’t just ignore. Puddles of water anywhere at your house also point out to a leaking pipe. If you don’t want your entire house to turn into a swimming pool then you should fix it as soon as possible.
Once, you spot any sign of leak, you can first turn the water supply off as this would take the pressure off the pipeline. Then find the exact location of the problem. However, this could be difficult especially with pipes that are concealed or hidden. There are also instances where the pipe appears to be wet but is not actually leaking. This usually happens because of condensation. You can stop the condensation by insulating the pipe. But if you’re unfortunate enough to have a leaking pipe, here are emergency measures you can take to instantly stop the leak.
If your pipe has a small water leak or a pinhole leak, you can just wrap it with a tape to stop the flow of water temporarily. The first thing you should do is dry the pipe off and wrap the hole in several layers using an electric tape. You have to tape it six inches on either side of the hole. Once you’re done taping the pipe, you can go to the hardware store and look for a pipe patch kit which is composed of a pipe clamp and rubber gasket which you will use later on to give a more guaranteed solution to the leak.
Applying an automotive hose clamp with rubber patch is actually a better solution for pinhole leaks. You can purchase this at a local hardware store or you can make your own pipe patch with the use of a heavy rubber you no longer use and a c-clamp. What you do is position the rubber so that the hole is centered right exactly underneath it. Wrap the rubber around the pipe and then directly place the clamp over the hole. Tighten the clamp afterwards. Make sure to keep the rubber in place while tightening the clamp. Clamps are made to seal small leaks and cracks. Although, this solution may only be temporary but this could still last for several years.
If you find that the leak comes from a fitting, applying a plumber’s epoxy is the best solution. Don’t attempt to clamp it because it won’t work. Flatten first the epoxy on the palm of your hand and then paste it into the connection or fitting. Using your thumb, push it in. You can use a putty knife in pushing the epoxy, as well. Continue packing it in until the leak stops. Allow the epoxy to harden for an approximate of 20 to 25 minutes. Remember that an epoxy paste is only effective when applied to dry pipes, so don’t forget to turn the water supply off before applying it.
If the leak is at a joint, then you can just simply tighten the joint. A leak can be caused by a loose threaded joint in between the pipes. This type of pipe problem is quite easy to deal with. You can use a pipe wrench or you can just hand tighten it. Loosen it first to make sure that the fittings and the threads in it are correctly lined up and then tighten it. For soft metal and plastic fittings, a half turn using a wrench would do. Remember not to over tighten it as it could result to cracking of pipes. Wrenches are usually used for large pipe fittings but adjustable wrenches are also available for smaller ones.
Another option is using a compound stick to seal small leaks. You can find this mostly at hardware stores. To stop the leak, rub the compound stick directly over the hole. You don’t need to shut off the water supply not unless the leak is already gushing. The sealant will hold even on wet pipes.