How to Repair a Water Leak
Apart from dripping faucets, water leaks can occur at any time in your pipes. With copper pipes, a weld can “break” or the copper becomes porous as it ages. On a PVC drainage system, it is most often a siphon ring that has not been tightened enough or a seal that is defective.
In all these cases, it is possible to intervene quite simply to repair the leaks: for a leak on a copper pipe, it is necessary to apply an anti-leakage product; at a fitting, it is necessary to tighten the ring or change the gasket.
Follow this step-by-step guide to repairing a water leak in your pipe.
The leak may come from a pipe or fitting.
Leak on a copper pipe
There are 2 types of anti-leakage products for repairing copper pipes:
– special adhesive tape (self-amalgamating);
– the two-component putty (adhesive and hardener).
Both are equal in terms of ease of application and effectiveness. However, the putty can be painted, which is not really the case with tape.
Leaking at a joint
If it is not a tightening problem, the seal may need to be changed.
Good to know: Pipes can, however, have other problems, especially due to frost, which can cause them to burst. In this case, the damaged section must be replaced.
Identify the leak and shut off the water
– Locate the leak.
– Then, like any repair on a water inlet, cut off the water from the corresponding circuit or, failing that, cut off the general inlet just after the meter.
Case 1: Repair a water leak on a copper pipe with mastic
Strip the pipe
– Dry the area to be repaired with a cloth.
– Strip the hose over an area slightly wider than the leak to make it easier to catch the product. Use a piece of fine emery cloth, fine steel wool or a fine-wire metallic brush (for polishing).
Prepare the putty
– Cut a small slice of putty into a bar, or remove the protection from a mini-dose if it looks like this.
– Then knead the product between your fingers.
Good to know: always put on gloves (sometimes supplied with the product) before handling the putty.
– When the putty gradually forms a ball of uniform color and becomes sticky, it is ready to be applied to the pipe.
Apply the putty
– Flatten the dumpling right at the leak. This will spread it over a larger area (which has been stripped previously).
– Check that the sealant adheres properly to the pipe. Sometimes the putty lifts a little when you lift your fingers (especially with latex gloves). If this happens, put some water or saliva on your fingers and press the putty around the pipe again.
– Then let it dry for the necessary time.
Case 2: Repair a leak on a copper pipe with tape.
Dry the pipe
– Strip and clean the hose if necessary: paint, grease…
– Dry the area with a cloth or hairdryer.
Apply Water-activated tape (WAT), also known as gummed tape to the area.
– Soak the belt according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
– Surround the leakage area on the hose with the tape, like a bandage.
Good to know: Wrap the tape so that the new layer is superimposed on half of the previous layer.
– Allow the necessary time to dry, always keeping the water in the system turned off.
Case 3: Repair a water leak at a fitting
A leak at a fitting can be a number of different problems.
Change the PVC ring
– Look for damage to the PVC siphon ring. Sometimes the ring cracks because the plastic is of poor quality.
– Replace the ring with the whole siphon if it is an economy model.
Tighten the ring
– If there are no signs of weakness on the ring, tighten it by hand.
– Wrap a cloth around the ring to get a better grip.
Good to know: on a copper fitting, hold the male part with a wrench and tighten the female part with a second wrench, without forcing.
Replace or change the gasket
If the leak persists after tightening the ring and it is the first ring located at the top of a siphon (just below the sink or lavatory drain), the problem is probably related to its flat rubber gasket.
– Unscrew the ring.
– Check that the gasket is not out of alignment with its bearing surface (bearing surface) under the bung body. It may have been incorrectly replaced after disassembling and reassembling the siphon.
– More rarely, the seal may be cracked. Replace it with an equivalent one and position it correctly.
– Tighten the ring sufficiently.
Check the repair of the water leakage
– Turn the water back on.
– Check that the repaired area remains dry.
Good to know: if you have any doubts about your installation, call in a professional to make a complete diagnosis.