A leaky pipe might seem like a small inconvenience, but it can actually be a sign of a bigger problem, not to mention a huge annoyance. You don't want to let a leaky pipe go on for too long; it can lead to rot and other expensive damages that take away from the family budget. Here are some simple plumbing solutions for your family's home that you can use to fix leaky pipes and prevent ones in the future.
You should shut off any water valves as soon as you notice a leak. This is an important step because it prevents any water from entering the pipe in question. Even if the leaky pipe still outputs water and drains like normal, a leak means that there will be bigger problems in the future. Long story short, the less water you have in the pipes, the better. Professionals know that turning off the water valve also gives you the ability to unscrew the pipe and investigate without having to worry about flooding to mop up. Next, you should shut off any faucets leading to the pipe and use an air compressor to remove any leftover water.
Filling a Leaky Pipe
Although stuffing a sock inside is a classic solution, it's a big no-no. In fact, don't insert anything into the pipe under any circumstance to get it to stop leaking. This will only obstruct water flow and allow it to build up over time, leading to rust and increasing the risk of a rupture.
The Pencil Trick
A temporary fix is to stick a pencil into the pipe (if it's small enough) and break off the tip before wrapping the pipe in an electrician's tape. This isn't a permanent solution by any means, but it should allow you to use the pipe without any additional leakage until you can call in a pro to identify the source of the leak.
Garden Hose Repurposing
A garden hose from the garage or the one you never use out back can tide your leaky pipe over while waiting for a permanent repair. Cut the rubber and wrap it around the leaking portion of the pipe. Then, set it with C-clamps and small blocks of wood or some hose clamps. Note: This will not permanently repair your leaky pipes, but most families can't even spend a day without water, so these fixes can help keep all systems go until a repairman arrives.
Check for Condensation
Pipes are affected by the seasonal temperature changes almost as much as people. Warm, humid air from the outdoors or the furnace can cause cold pipes to accumulate moisture. This will drip off and often be mistaken for a leak. The best way to prevent pipe sweat is to insulate your pipes. Professional plumbers can do this for you with minimal hassle and may even offer a special when the issue is most common — summer and winter.
Even the best family handyman gets stumped on occasion. If you have leaky pipes and either can't locate the source or don't have the time to fix them, don't hesitate to call a professional.
Plumbers can be expensive, but they can often give you preventative advice that will ensure your pipes stay clean, clear and functional year-round.