If you’ve never done it before, you may not know where to start. If you’re familiar with this type of home repair, you know it can get complicated. Don’t let it sneak up on you. Now’s the time to brush up on how to fix a leaking pipe.
We can help.
Our water damage pros take care of many water damage disasters caused by pipe leaks in homes and businesses all across Chicago. We understand what you’re dealing with.
Let’s start with a quick overview of different pipes and repair routines. Add our tips on fixing leaks behind walls and under kitchen sinks, and you’ll be ready to repair pipes anywhere in the house.
Are All the Pipes in My House the Same?
Your home’s plumbing stays busy 24/7 handling water distribution, fluctuating pressures, temperature extremes and everyday use. In order to accommodate different conditions and locations, the system typically operates with a combination of these five types of pipe.
- Galvanized – Older properties often have galvanized pipes which need frequent water pipe repair.
- PVC – Lightweight and easy to fix, PVC handles high water pressure and resists blockages.
- PEX – Flexible PEX is ideal for sink drain lines, and it’s strong enough to span distances.
- ABS – Durable and temperature resistant, black ABS is mainly used for large drain and waste lines.
- Copper – This metal is considered the industry standard because it’s strong, lightweight and corrosion-resistant.
What Are the Best Ways to Fix a Leaky Pipe?
When you’re deciding on how to fix a leaking pipe, think about its material and location. For example, pipes leaking in the garage are usually a bigger repair problem than a supply line under the bathroom sink.
Most DIY pipe repair jobs start with one of three basic fixes. Keep in mind that these are considered temporary. Once you have things under control, bring in a professional for permanent pipe repair.
- Epoxy Putty – This popular water leak repair product is easy to work with. The compound requires blending before application, so you’ll need to wear latex gloves. Epoxy putty dries in 10 minutes and forms a hard-cured seal. That makes it a good choice for large pipe leaks.
- Pipe Tape Repair Kit – If you’re dealing with a break that spans more than several inches, break out the pipe tape. It can often stop a leaking pipe in situations that prevent shutting down the water supply. The self-fusing silicone tape wraps around all types of pipe leaks.
- Repair Patch and Clamp Kit – Before applying a patch and clamp, sand down rough edges around the leak. This prevents the neoprene patch from tearing. Position it so that it overlaps the entire damaged area, and secure it with the clamp. This is another good temporary repair for large breaks.
How to Fix a Leaky Pipe in 5 Steps
1. Locate the Leak
Most pipe leaks are obvious. You spot the damage and get to work. If you don’t see the source right away, trace the leak upward along the pipe’s length. This detective work is especially important in apartment and condo buildings.
2. Turn the Water Off
Once you confirm the leak’s location, turn off the water supply to the damaged line. Supply lines feature shut-off valves that stop water flow with a clockwise turn. Otherwise, shut off the main water supply coming into your home.
3. Empty the Lines
You can sometimes stop a leaking pipe with water in it by using a pipe tape kit, as described above. Otherwise, wait a few minutes, and then empty lines near the leak.
Power Tip: Keep a tape repair kit, patch and clamp combo and epoxy putty in your DIY toolbox.
4. Match the Fix to the Leak
Identify the type of pipe you’re working with. Take a close look at the size of the leak or break. This gives you a better idea of which pipe fix will work best. Make the repair, and then slowly turn the water supply back on.
5. Inspect and Call
Inspect your work to make sure your temporary fix for the leaking pipe holds. Finally, call emergency water leak pros, like our teams here at ServiceMaster by Zaba in Chicago, IL who can clean up the plumbing leak.
How to Fix a Leaking Pipe Behind a Wall
By the time you notice signs of pipe leaks behind a wall, the damp has already spread beyond visible stains or peeling paint. This type of repair can quickly turn into a big job, but it needs attention right away.
Slice out a rectangular portion of drywall over the affected area. Give yourself space to inspect the leak and room to work. Follow one of the repairs outlined above, and then finish by drying out walls and affected spaces.
If drying and restoring the walls seems like too big of a DIY project, our technicians can help. We take care of leaky pipe water damage too — we can handle the entire job!
How to Fix a Leaking Pipe Under the Sink
Leaking pipes under the sink are usually easier to repair than drips behind the walls. However, you have a variety of possible suspects under kitchen sinks, including these common components.
- Main supply lines
- Main drain pipes
- Dishwasher lines
- Disposal lines
- Line valve stems
Most pipes under the sink can be temporarily repaired with epoxy putty, but a large drain pipe leak needs a clamp and patch kit. You may also want to tighten, seal or replace pipe joints, supply line retention nuts and valve O-rings.
How Much Does It Cost to Fix a Leaking Pipe?
When you consider the average cost of pipe leakage repair, it often makes sense to leave the job to professionals. Expect to pay a plumber between $150 and $350 for leaky pipe repair. Water-damaged drywall restoration can add from $750 to $1000 or more to the final project cost if you take too long to address the leak.
Dealing With Damage From a Leaky Pipe in Your Chicago Home? Let Us Help!
We recommend adding one more item to your DIY toolbox: our contact information. You can fix most damages caused by emergency pipe leaks by yourself, but you don’t have to. If it’s more than you want to deal with, let us help.
We’re here 24/7 with Chicago’s best water damage restoration services, and we take care of the suburbs too. Our teams are always just around the corner, ready to fix emergency pipe leaks: 773-647-1985