Many homeowners find themselves in a panic when they discover a leaking pipe. When there’s water dripping or gushing into your home, you may immediately call in a plumber, but what should you do while you wait for them to arrive. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to minimize the damage of a leaking pipe and patch it if you’re plumber may not be able to get to your home quickly.
Stop the Water Flow
Before you even pick up the phone to call your emergency plumber, you need to shut off the water. Stopping the water flow is a priority as gallons of water could be gushing into your home every minute you delay. If you’re unsure about the specific pipe that needs to be shut off, err on the side of caution and turn off your main shutoff valve. This will turn off all the water in your home, but you’ll still need to open up the faucets closest to the leak to draw any water that is remaining in the pipes out.
Clear the Area
Once the water is off, you’ve halted the leak for the moment, so you have some time. This time can be used wisely by clearing out the immediate area. You should move any soft furnishings from the area, mop the floor and wipe down any surfaces to prevent damage. Remember that water can easily soak into surfaces, so you’ll need to act quickly. It can also be a good idea to clear a path to the leak, as the plumber may need to come through your home with a heavy tool bag to make the repairs.
Prep Your Pipe
Before a temporary patch can be applied to a leaking pipe, the damaged area will need to be prepared. Use rough sandpaper to smooth the leaking area to eliminate any limescale, rust or roughened edges. This will help you to have a more effective patch, so you can turn the water back on if necessary.
Use Water Pipe Epoxy
Plumber’s epoxy is the easiest way to patch a leaking pipe. This can be picked up at most hardware stores and is always handy to have in your toolkit. Tear off a piece of epoxy and work it with your hands until it’s fully mixed and ready to be applied. Roughly shape the epoxy to cover the full gap in the pipe and press it down to ensure it is properly applied. Once the epoxy is in place, smooth down the edges and allow it to settle. The specific time needed will depend on the product you’re using, so read the instructions carefully.
For additional protection, put a strip of rubber over your newly applied epoxy once it has dried. Use pipe clamps to ensure that the rubber is fully secured.
Calling in a professional plumber
to repair a leaking pipe is important, but it is important to know how to minimize damage. Even the most efficient plumber is not likely to immediately get to your home, so ensure that your home is protected against costly water damage.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solution.