It’s midnight and one of your pipes springs a leak. You are woken up by the sound of running water and shoot out of bed to find water spraying everywhere. You call a plumber, but what can you do to stop the leak wrecking your carpets and your floorboards while you wait for them? Just as important – are there things you shouldn’t do when dealing with leaking pipes?
In an emergency, there are temporary quick fixes that you can do to contain the leak until a professional plumber gets there to do a long-term leak repair. Before attempting a temporary fix, find where the leak is, and see if you can shut the water supply off.
Drips from a threaded joint can be slowed down by using a wrench to tighten the joint. It may stop the leak completely, or it might slow it down enough to save your carpets.
Before you start, check if the pipe is threaded. If it isn’t a threaded pipe, don’t use a wrench. You should also avoid the wrench if you can see welding around the joint. Those types of joints can only be repaired by a plumber.
Big puddles can be caused by small holes. Fortunately, small holes are among the easiest to fix. Here are two different ways of tackling the problem.
This might sound crazy, but it is a very effective temporary fix. Use a sharp pencil, stick the tip of the lead into the hole. Break the tip off and leave it stuck in the hole. Use duct tape wrapped around the pipe to hold the tip in place. The broken-off pencil lead will seal off the hole until a plumber can do proper repairs.
For small holes or cracks in pipes, epoxy putty can seal off leaks temporarily. To use the putty properly, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The putty will set in place, causing a hard seal that will keep the water in the pipe and away from your carpets.
What if your pipes are leaking because of a big hole, or even worse, a crack? Don’t despair. With some old garden hose and a few clamps, you can stabilize the leak until the plumber arrives.
Cut a piece of garden hose long enough to extend past the hole or crack by two inches on either side. Split the hose lengthwise and slip it over the damaged pipe. Use three hose clamps to secure it, one on each end and one in the middle. This should shut off the leak. Once your temporary repair is in place, avoid using the plumbing in that area until after the plumber has inspected it. If there are still a few drips, a handy bucket should be enough to catch them.
Pipes can spring leaks at the most inconvenient times. When you’re up to your ankles in water and it’s still rising, it can be hard to keep your cool. Here are some quick tips on what to do, and what not to do when you’re caught in the cross-spray.
Sometimes a leak is only a symptom of a bigger plumbing issue that needs to be addressed. Temporary fixes can lull you into a false sense of security, while the real issue is still brewing. Plumbers have the right tools, equipment, experience and knowledge to get to the root of your leak and make sure it’s fixed properly. Give Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric a call at 1-800-475-1504 and kiss your leak goodbye!
For Immediate Emergency Assistance Call 1-800-475-1504