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Strauss's avatar

I have a leak in a copper pipe. Is there any easy fix for this?

Asked by Strauss (20551points) February 6th, 2010

The leak is at a joint, and it is leaking about 1 gallon per minute, onto the top of a concrete basement wall. I can repair the rest of the damage (drywall, insulation, etc), but I’m not that experienced with plumbing. Is there any type of tape, or other repair medium that I can use, or do I need to replace the joint?

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12 Answers

buckyboy28's avatar

Insert Billy Mays voice: “MIGHTY PUTTY!”

Judi's avatar

I will ask my hubby when he gets home. He is a general contractor and has become quite the plumber lately. But you do know the plumbers motto don’t you?

“Pay me now or pay me later.”

Strauss's avatar

@Judi, I know. That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Too bad it’s at the joint other wise you could put a pressure seal on it. A pressure seal uses a rubber patch to cover the hole and then a pressure bracket to hold the patch in place. In the join I really am not sure. Unless yuo can swear a new joint or solder some copper into it.

Pressure Seal looks like this saddle clamp. Actually I guess they are the same thing but this saddle clamp is piercing the pipe to add a valve.

jrpowell's avatar

This is a easy fix if you know what you are doing. A plumber can probably do it in about 10 minutes. The thing is it will probably cost you more to buy the stuff you need to fix it yourself than it would cost to have a plumber come out and fix it properly.

It is a shame that this happened on a weekend.

I really wouldn’t try doing this yourself. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to turn off the main until you can get it fixed.

liminal's avatar

A good temp fix is to turn off the water. Make sure the joint is dry. Wrap multiple layers of electrical tape around the joint (extending out past the joint a bit). Then surround with plumber’s epoxy. For the plumber’s epoxy to work it has to be dry. There are some water proof tapes out there, but joints can be tricky.

TPS's avatar

If you are at all comfortable with cutting, you might want to use a “shark-tooth”. It’s a type of connector which you can push on to the end of a pipe and it will hold with now sweating or soldering. If it’s close to the joint, cut on either side of the joint and get a 90 degree connector with shark-tooth connection at either end.

babaji's avatar

a quick easy TEMPORARY fix is to turn off the water , make it dry, get some plumbers epoxy, mix it together and cover the whole area, pressing it in to seat it .
dries in 15 minutes or so and turn the water back on after it is dry.
This is what a lot of people would do, but then when you fix it properly it will take more time and $ to fix it.
The best way, turn off the water,
drain the pipe of water by opening the lowest faucet, get yourself a mapp gas torch
(turbo torch etc, like propane)
heat up the joint,put some flux on it to clean the area,(use a little flux brush) and stick solder into the joint all around the perimeter, brush it off with your flux to seat it and you are good to go. turn your water back on.
the pipe must be drained of the water for you to be able to solder the joint.
it’s really quite easy to do. Use lead free solder.

alamo's avatar

Second the “shark bites”. They’re at local home improvement stores, Lowes and Home Depot around here. Cut the leaking area out, the shark bites just slides on. They also have a “C” shaped removal tool, to reset the shark bite if it doesn’t slide on well. Follow the directions on the package and you can’t go wrong. They also have a “sliding/expanding shark bite repair for just this situation(Assuming the pipes on either side won’t move away from each other much once it’s cut.). I use them all the time. If the repair is in a wall or will be covered after the repair, some areas don’t approve their use, but it’ll let you not have to pay weekend rates for a plumber.
Sweating the pipes together can be a challenging endaevor if you haven’t done it before.It’s not difficult, but the pipe has to be completely dry and the repair area sanded cleaned and fluxed. You’re also using an open flame next to a wall or insulation. It can start a fire in the repair area. If you have no sweating experience, stick with the “shark bites”.

rottenit's avatar

As alamo said the shark bites are a good fit for this type of thing. You still need to drain the lines tho.

liminal's avatar

@tps I am very excited to hear about these shark bites. I’ve never been interested in sweating pipes (until I get the plumbing bill). Cutting, this, I can enjoy!

Strauss's avatar

@TPS The shark-bite worked perfectly. I brought home a 90 degree shark-bite fitting, turned off the water, cut either side of the old elbow, and pushed the shark-bite on. Then I turned on the water…temporary flood!

I then turned the water off, went back to the point of interest, tapped the shark-bite farther down the end of the pipe, and went to try it again. success!

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