How to Identify and Fix Pipe Leakage

How to Identify and Fix Pipe Leakage

Domestic pipe leakages account for the wastage of 10,000 gallons of water annually. Approximately 10% of homes have pipe leakage leading to the loss of 90 gallons of water every day. Whether your home is among the 10% or not, it’s essential to keep checking for leaking pipes.

Should you find out that your pipes are leaking, knowing how to fix them is equally crucial. Common types of leaks within the home include dripping faucets, worn-out toilet flappers, and other faulty valves. A professional piping plumber can help you establish whether you have pipe leakage and also with their fixing.

Read on for more!

How to Establish if You Have Pipe Leakage

The first thing you need to do is determine whether there’s water wastage in your home. Some tips for finding leaks include

  • Water consumption that exceeds 12,000 gallons in cold months like January
  • Changes in meter readings when no water is in use
  • A change of color within ten minutes in food coloring placed in the toilet tank
  • Moist pipe fittings and faucet gaskets on the surface

Remember to also check for the showerhead and outdoor leaks.

Fixing Pipe Leakage

Once you’ve established the source of leaking water, you need to stop the leakage. Remember that even those leaks that seem insignificant could potentially create a bigger mess. How you approach the process of preventing the leakage depends on the type of leak.

If the leak is at a joint, tightening the joint could do the trick. If the leaking is within the pipe, you’ll need to replace the leaking section and replace it with a new part. This kind of replacement is best left to a professional plumber.

How do you start the process of fixing leaking pipes?

1. Turn off the Water Supply

Locate the main water supply to the whole home and turn it off. In most cases, it’s either in the basement or crawl area. In case of an emergency, you may have to call your water company to see if they can shut the water supply to your home. Most water valves shut off by turning clockwise.

However, if the leakage is in a drain pipe, you may not need to shut off the water supply.

Next, you need to turn on the faucets connecting to the pipes. This will help in draining them. Allow the water to run out until the pipe is empty. Check the tap connected to the leaking pipe, and turn it on to drain it.

Once all the water has been drained, dry the pipe before working on it. This prevents the pipe from being slippery as you work on it.

2. Fixing a Leaking Joint

If the leak is at a joint, the first thing to do is trying to tighten the threaded fittings. In the case this doesn’t work, apply some epoxy putty or waterproof tape as a temporary measure. If using putty for the fix, ensure it forms a layer of about ½ inch around the leak.

Leave the putty to set in for about 10 minutes before turning on your water source. Remember to have the joint replaced to avoid future incidents.

Copper pipes will require soldering at the joints. This is a process best left to a professional. Take note that tightening joints may not be as easy as it sounds. The reason is that tightening one end causes the other to become loose.

Your best option would be to have a plumber handle the fixing professionally.

3. Fixing a Leaking Pipe

If the leak is on the surface of the pipe, a small patch may solve the problem. Your options include using a piece of thick rubber and holding it in place with hose clamps. Alternatively, you can also use epoxy putty on the pipe.

Some brands of putty claim to work well in wet conditions, but it’s best to dry your pipe thoroughly before applying it. Since this is a temporary solution, ensure a plumber replaces this section of the pipe as soon as possible.

4. Using a Slip Coupling on the Pipe

Slip couplings are small, watertight connections for two different pipes. The best slip coupling is one that has the same diameter as your pipe. It also should be long enough to cut off the pipe leakage.

Before you purchase, ensure it’s made from the same material as the pipe you want to fix. Slip couplings are available from your local hardware store. They can provide a permanent solution to your leaking pipes if set correctly.

To install the slip coupling on pipe, cut off the section of the tube that leaks using a pipe cutter. Then, use a debarring tool to scrape the inside of the unaffected pipe to restore its shape after cutting. Once it’s back to its form, slide the slip coupling over one end of the tube.

Push it as far as possible, ensuring to line it up with the other end of the cut pipe. Next, slip the other end of the coupling to the other cut pipe so that you connect the two pipe ends together. Tighten the coupling using your hands or a wretch.

When you do this right, water will flow through the pipes without leaks.

Final Thoughts

Having a leaking pipe can cost you a lot in water loss and water bills. It’s good practice to keep checking the condition of your pipes and drainage system. Keeping an eye on your water consumption rate will also help you know when water is going into waste.

Once you establish where the pipe leakage is, you can apply some temporary measures to fix it. If the leak is at a pipe joint, try tightening the joint. If this doesn’t work, use some epoxy putty and let it set before ruining on your water.

Sometimes you may need to have the joint replaced by a professional.

Leaks occurring through the pipe may need better solutions than just the application of putty. Have a plumber replace the tube for a more lasting solution. Remember not to ignore leaking pipes, no matter how insignificant they may seem.

Do you need help with any plumbing issue? Be sure to contact us for professional service.

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