Plumbing Tips from an Avid DIY-er

Quick Fixes For Plumbing Emergencies

It's always a good thing to contemplate the miracle of being able to simply turn on a faucet and have fresh drinking water at your command. However, when your cup runneth over, and the flow of water won't stop and seems to portend a flood of biblical proportions, it's not quite as magical and awe inspiring. You just want it to stop.

When a pipe leak occurs, you best bet is to hire an emergency plumber, who has the equipment and experience to deal with the problem. However, until the plumber arrives, you can try a few simple emergency plumbing services on your own, or at least stop the water from flowing until help arrives.

What to do if a supply pipe bursts

Your supply pipes are pressurized, so if a pipe is breached or has even a small pinprick of a hole, the water will not just flow out, but spray with great force. The most important thing to do is to turn off the water supply to a pipe in question.

If there is a supply valve that controls the flow of water to that pipe, shut it off by turning it clockwise until it can turn no more. If there is no dedicated valve, or you are not sure of its location, don't run around in circles looking for it. Shut off the main valve to the house, which will  be located at the water meter.

If the water meter is outside the house, the shutoff valve will be located on the inside wall of the house closest to the meter.

Temporary fixes for a burst supply pipe

If you need to turn off the main valve, you have no water for drinking, bathing, or flushing toilets. If you can't get an emergency plumber for awhile, there are a few ways to stop the leak in the pipe so you can turn on the main valve.

Pipe repair wrap

This is a roll of a stretchable material that can create a strong seal that will stop the leak, at least temporarily. To use it, you need the clean the area of the pipe around the leak, and allow it to dry.

You will then place one end of the wrap against the pipe and begin to wrap multiple layers around the area surrounding the leak, pulling and stretching the material as you wrap. The more you stretch, the better the seal.

When you come to the end of the wrap, stretch it and press it against the wrapped layers. It won't adhere to the pipe.

Pipe repair clamp

This clamp consists of two semicircular pieces that form a ring around the pipe to hold a rubber gasket in place that seals the leak. It is held together and secured by two bolts and nuts. Before the clamp is installed, you must clean and dry the area around the leak. 

You will then wrap the rubber gasket around the leaking point and place the two halves of the clamp around the gasket. Tightening the clamp will require some finesse, because you will want to tighten it securely, but not so much that you may create more damage to the pipe.

If you have a leak in a galvanized steel pipe, it's likely that the pipe is rusted from he inside out, and can be easily crushed by the clamp. Tighten with care.

Whichever method you chose, you can test it by turning on the main valve while an assistant remains at the leak. Even if there is still a slight leak, the quick fix was successful, because you can place a bucket under the leak while you run water for personal use, and turn it off and on periodically until the plumber arrives. For more information, contact companies like Sparrow & Sons Plumbing and Heating.