How To Create Temporary Seals for Leaking Pipes

Leaking pipes are among the most annoying problems any homeowner can face. It not only makes a mess in an otherwise clean bathroom or kitchen floor. Leaking pipes can also prove to be expensive if water keeps on dripping. A professional is usually the best person to handle repairs on a leaky pipe. Your plumber should know whether to replace the pipe, or to just fix joints, or maybe even apply some sealing material over the pipe.

While you wait for your plumber to come, though, you can create a temporary seal to prevent your leaking pipe from making a bigger mess.

What you need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hair dryer
  • Electrical tape
  • Inner tube from a bicycle wheel
  • Pipe clamps
  • Wrench
  • Epoxy sealant

Turn off the main water supply. The first thing you should do when doing any pipe repairs is turn off the main water supply. This will either be located in your basement, at the front of your house, or anywhere the water meter can be found. You will need a wrench to twist the valve switch clockwise. Or, your valve might have its own switch, which you will need to twist clockwise by hand.

Drain excess water from the tap. After turning off the water supply, you will need to drain residual water from the tap, so that your leak can be controlled while you are fixing it.

Use electric tape for small leaks. Small leaks that come from low-pressure pipes like those leading to faucets and bidets can be remedied with some electrical tape. Simply wind a few layers of electrical tape on the problem area tightly. This will help stop the leak except for instances in which the leak is high-pressure.

Use bicycle wheel inner tube. For bigger leaks, you can use a portion of the inner tube from a bicycle wheel. As with smaller leaks, first tightly wind electrical tape around the problem area. You will then need to cut off a section of the bicycle inner tube, and then wrap it around the area with electrical tape tightly. Wet the inner tube with rubbing alcohol and then heat it up with the hair dryer. The combination of heat and alcohol will melt the inner tube rubber and will effectively create a seal around the area.

Use epoxy sealant. For bigger leaks, you can use epoxy sealant to temporarily stop the flow of water. Open the packaging and mix the compounds according to manufacturer specification (usually one-to-one correspondent of adhesive and hardening compound). This will look like clay putty. Thoroughly wipe the leaking area dry. Stuff the putty into the leak, making sure you cover the leak adequately, and that you wrap the putty around the pipe, to ensure maximum hold. You will have to wait from four hours to overnight for the compound to dry, depending on manufacturer specifications.

Leaks are best solved by replacing the pipes with newer ones. PVC pipes are usually more durable and flexible than metal ones, which are susceptible to corrosion. After you’ve temporarily plugged the leak, it’s best if you can get in touch with a local plumber to have the pipes permanently fixed.


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