How to Seal a Broken Water Pipe
No one likes to think about it, but a pipe bursting in your home means a plumbing disaster. When this happens, you have two options. First, you can contact a local plumber and hope you’ve caught them during business hours. If not, you can expect to pay more.
Your second option is to attempt the emergency repair yourself. A DIY repair s is a temporary fix, which means you’ll still need to schedule a plumbing service as soon as possible.
If you choose to provide a temporary repair to the leak, here is everything you need to know.
1. Turn Off the Water Supply
Begin by shutting off the valve closest to the leak. Turn the handle clockwise to shut off the water.
If you can’t find it or there is no local shut-off handle, you’ll need to turn off the main valve that controls your entire water supply. You can locate the main water valves in several areas, most commonly in the garage, basement, utility room, or under the kitchen sink.
2. Drain the Affected Pipe
After turning off the water supply, drain the affected pipe by turning on the connected taps. For example, if the issue is in your bathroom, turn on the bathroom sink and shower until no more water comes out.
Clean up the water quickly to ensure the least amount of water damage possible. Keep in mind that water damage also leads to mold, so grab some towels and dry everything as best you can.
3. Choose a Short Term Repair
You’re now ready to seal the affected area. You can do so in a few ways.
Self-Fusing Silicone Tape – Best for Active Leaks
If you have zero luck shutting off the water supply, use silicone tape as an emergency fix. It works great for either metal or plastic pipes. Silicone tape fuses itself, making a watertight seal. With this said, regular adhesive tape will not work.
To seal using silicone tape, cut a piece of tape about 8 inches long. Press it to one side of the hole and wrap it around several times while pulling taut. Grab a second piece of tape and do the same thing, but this time without stretching it.
Don’t have silicone tape? You can use electrical or duct tape.
Tape will offer a very short fix, but you’ll want to reach out to a professional plumber ASAP.
Hose Clamps & Gasket – Best If Pipe Is Starting to Split
If you’ve managed to shut off your water supply, you could use a small piece of rubber gasket. You need enough to wrap halfway around the pipe.
Place the gasket over the leak and secure it using a hose clamp. Tighten until it’s snug but not excessively tight.
A clamp is a good solution for pipes that are beginning to split. It will take some stress off the damaged area.
Epoxy Putty – The Strongest Temporary Fix
Epoxy putt is the most robust fix. However, it will require you to keep your water shut off for a few hours.
Wearing gloves, push the putty over the crack or hole until completely covered. Be sure to follow instructions on the label on how to apply and how long to let dry.
For best results, use an epoxy putty formulated for the same material as your pipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Causes a Water Pipe to Crack?
Water pipes can crack for several reasons, the most common cause being freezing. If you live somewhere cold, this can happen because water increases in volume by 9% when it’s frozen. This expansion stresses the pipes, causing them to break or weaken.
Pipe age and material are other common causes of cracked pipes. The older it is, the higher the chances of breaking.
For example, older homes have water lines made of cast iron. While this is a durable material, the constant expansion and contraction make it brittle. Newer pipes made from materials like plastic or ductile iron are more resistant.
Can You Seal a Cracked Water Pipe?
Yes, you can seal a cracked water pipe yourself, but keep in mind this is only a temporary fix. To seal, turn off the water supply, drain the affected pipe, and choose a short-term repair option.
Silicone tape is best for active leaks, while hose clamps are best if the pipe is starting to split. Epoxy putty offers the strongest temporary fix.
How Much Water Can Leak into Your Home From a Broken Pipe?
The amount of water that will make its way into your home depends on how big the crack in the pipe is. If it’s minor, water will slowly leak out. However, a full broken pipe will cause significant damage to your home since it can leak up to 10 gallons of water per minute.
Get in Touch With a Plumbing Professional ASAP
These tips offer temporary fixes to prevent flooding and extensive water damage. By no means should you consider this to be a long-term repair. Along with temporarily repairing the pipe, get rid of the water as quickly as possible to prevent water damage or mold.
Get in touch with All Dry USA to schedule service. We’ll get your home back to pristine condition in no time!