Category: Plumbing

Never Overflow A Clogged Toilet Again

Never Overflow A Clogged Toilet Again


Does it seem like you’re plunging your toilet at least once a week (or more)? Not fun. Here are a few of the most common causes of a toilet that just keeps clogging and how to fix them.

You’re flushing stuff you shouldn’t be

The only things you should flush down a toilet are human waste and toilet paper. Nothing else. Even facial tissues can be a big problem. They’re not made to break down in water the same way that toilet paper is.

Common things people flush that cause clogs include:


Facial tissues

Cotton swabs/Q-tips


Dental floss


How to fix it: Put a garbage basket next to the toilet so the next time you’re tempted to flush something you shouldn’t, you can just throw it in the wastebasket.

Flapper not opening completely

The flapper is the part of your toilet that lets water flow from the tank on the back down into the toilet bowl, creating the flush. If the flapper doesn’t open all the way it won’t release enough water, which means you’ll get a weak flush. Clogs are common in toilets with a weak flush. How to fix it: Adjust the chain that connects the flapper to the flush handle so that the flapper opens completely when you flush.


How to Unclog a Toilet When You Don’t Have a Plunger

It truly is the stuff of nightmares: faced with an away-toilet situation in someone else’s home, you do your business, flush … and nothing happens. Or worse, you flush and the toilet water (as well as its contents) slowly starts rising like super-gross flood waters. That alone is anxiety-inducing, but then you do a quick scan of the bathroom and realize that there is not a plunger in sight. Don’t panic or jump out a window. Try these tactics instead.

Run the hot water in the sink

This trick can work for a clogged toilet at someone else’s place or your own, but it’s definitely the most useful for those of us who embarrass easily when we’re away from the homestead. To get things moving again, YouTuber Aaron Bjorn says that you’re going to need some hot water to pour into the toilet bowl. But the sink will probably need a while to heat up and give you water that’s hot enough to be useful. So, get it running at maximum heat.

Reach for the liquid hand soap or shampoo

While the water is heating up, look around for some liquid soap. Dish soap is ideal, but you’re stuck in the bathroom so you might not be able to find any of that under the sink. Fortunately, liquid hand soap will suffice. Shampoo can even work in a pinch. When you find some, pour a lot of it into the toilet bowl. It will act as a lubricant for whatever is causing the clog

If the host is the type of person who only has independently made oatmeal bar soaps or something, Tess Wilson at Apartment Therapy suggests you look for some epsom salts, or even a bath bomb. Or, if they’re the type that keeps cleaning products under the sink or in a bathroom closet, try and find some bleach and powdered dish detergent. Wilson says to use a couple cups of bleach and one cup of powdered detergent. Really, anything that can lubricate or effervesce should do.

Dump hot water into the toilet and wait

Now that you have your lubricant in place, find a cup or container—use their toothbrush holder if you have to—and start pouring hot water from the sink into the toilet bowl. Again, the hotter the better here. But don’t flush yet!


End The Nightmare Of A Clogged Toilet Forever

The Root Causes Behind the Constant Plunging of a Clogged Toilet

We can all agree that having a consistently clogged toilet is a terrible problem for a homeowner. Unfortunately, there is no pleasant way of addressing this problem. If you’re continuously flushing the handle on the toilet, crossing your fingers and sending out a silent prayer, you may have a problem.

Have you noticed that your toilet is becoming clogged up more frequently? If you are having constant plumbing problems there may be a reason why your toilet is having a harder time flushing its contents

How Old is Your Toilet Bowl?

The simple fact behind the constant clogging may be that your toilet bowl is old. You may have a first generation, low flow design. The low flow design was originally created to help homeowners save on water, but the earliest models ended up lacking the necessary pressure to properly clear the internal trap and drain. In other words, this means that it can continuously become clogged if you aren’t careful. To find out what model your toilet bowl is, check the stamped date located on the back of the toilet. If you’re always fighting a clogged toilet, it’s better to get an update

Was a non-flushable flushed?

Obviously, a toddler’s toy is not a flushable item and can cause some serious damage. However, there are still items we flush that aren’t actually flushable. Be aware of what items can and can’t flush and save your ivory throne

The Flapper isn’t Working!

The flapper is what creates the flush. It lets the water flow from the tank on the back of the toilet and down into the blow. If the flapper doesn’t open all the way or it is worn out, it won’t release water that’s strong enough to actually create a flush. Luckily this is an easy fix.


How To Unclog A Toilet When You Don’t Have A Plunger

Do It All Again, Then Flush

After a few minutes, the soap should work its way down into the clog and you should see the toilet bowl water level start to go down a bit. Add some more liquid soap and hot water, then give it another couple minutes. Now you can make a judgement call and decide when it’s time to flush. Hopefully, everything goes down smoothly when you do.

Last Resort: Force It All Down

If you tried the soap with hot water trick and the toilet is still clogged, you might have to deal with this clog physically. Reach for the toilet brush or find a wire hanger you can uncoil—you can even stick your hand in a garbage bag if you’re truly desperate—and start poking down into the drain hole. It will be gross, yes, but you can always clean things up after the clog is gone.

Dump Hot Water Into the Toilet and Wait

Now that you have your lubricant in place, find a cup or container — use their toothbrush holder if you have to — and start pouring hot water from the sink into the toilet bowl. Again, the hotter the better here.

Reach for the Liquid Hand Soap or Shampoo

While the water is heating up, look around for some liquid soap. Dishwashing liquid is ideal, but you’re stuck in the bathroom so you might not be able to find any of that under the sink. Fortunately, liquid hand soap will suffice. Shampoo can even work in a pinch. When you find some, pour a lot of it into the toilet bowl. It will act as a lubricant for whatever is causing the clog.

Run the Hot Water in the Sink

This trick can work for a clogged toilet at someone else’s place or your own, but it’s definitely the most useful for those of us who embarrass easily when we’re away from the homestead. To get things moving again, YouTuber Aaron Bjorn suggests you’re going to need some hot water to pour into the toilet bowl.


Things You Should Never Flush Down The Toilet

There are certain things you know you shouldn’t flush down the toilet (even if your kids didn’t get the memo, like the Great Lego Flushing Incident Of 2017), but for every obvious pick, there are a few we’re all guilty of tossing in, just because we didn’t realize it’d cause any issues. Until we had to call the plumber … and get that bill afterward.

Baby Wipes

Yes, even the ones that say they’re flushable. According to plumbing company Boulden Brothers, these are frequently the cause of clogs and should always be thrown out in a wastebasket instead. Mike Agugliaro, co-owner of plumbing company Gold Medal Service also backed this up to TODAY, noting that even “flushable” wipes don’t disintegrate the way toilet paper does, which can eventually cause plumbing issues.

Menstrual Products

This one might shock you, but menstrual products (tampons, pads, etc.) should also never be flushed down the toilet. Why? Because as Agugliaro told TODAY, they’re products that are meant to absorb water, not break down in it, meaning they’ll only expand when you flush them — and that’s no good for your plumbing.

Q-Tips & Cotton Pads

Cotton balls, cotton pads, and Q-Tips are definitely not safe to flush — they don’t break down the way toilet paper (even cotton toilet paper) does, and according to Boulden Brothers, all they really do is clump together in your pipes and


Condoms are also not designed to break down in water, so flushing them can cause clogs in toilets and septic tanks, according to Agugliaro.

Finding Electronic Leak Detection In Your Household Plumbing

Finding Electronic Leak Detection In Your Household Plumbing

Quick Tips for Electronic Leak Detection

Use Your Detector Second

Before starting to use your detector — stop! Look for signs of leaks and corrosion throughout the entire system. I see many techs who use an electronic leak detector with a very large leak when they would have been better served pressurizing and pinpointing the leak with soap bubbles.

Get a Good Detector

Use a good quality leak detector. Hint: If it costs less than $300, it probably isn’t great. I am fan of the H10G and the H10Pro, although we are testing the Tifzx-1 as a possible option on the recommendation of a few good techs I trust

Test Your Detector

Check your detector and make sure it actually works every time. The H10G has a reference bottle for testing — use it.

Let the Detector Warm Up

Many leak detectors require a warm up time for the sensor. With the H10G I allow it to run for at least five minutes before I start to use it.

Start Testing at The Top

Most refrigerants are heavier than air. Starting at the top and working your way down will help keep you from picking up a leak below the actual point of origin


How To Choose A Leak Testing Method That’s Best For Your Needs

When deciding on the best solution for a leak testing challenge, many factors need to be taken into consideration including the risk, suitability and cost of each method.  Various technologies are available and it’s critical to choose one which is optimal to your application requirements.

In recent years, huge strides have been made in electronic leak testing methods that use air or tracer gases resulting in new techniques, enhanced sensitivity and faster test cycles.  These changes have resulted primarily as a response to cost pressures as well as the need to adapt to a changing environmental and safety regulatory environment

Before making any decision on which technology offers the best solution for your specific application, it’s best to discuss your options with a professional equipment supplier so that you get the most practical and cost-effective solution.  In many instances, there will be more than one technology available, but by consulting a leak test supplier that has the knowledge, experience and genuine desire to find a long-term solution, you’ll get a solution that is not only optimal to your leak test challenge but which meets all other requirements too such as cost, performance, risk management etc.

Air leak testing with micro-flow sensor at pressure conditions.

In this method, the test part is pressurized from a pressure source with the regulator and valve isolating the test part from the source once pressurization is complete.  The pressure sensor then monitors and measures the pressurized test part and if the pressure measurement decreases, air is leaking out of the component or assembly under test.  As air leaks, the micro flow sensor replenishes the lost air to maintain a constant pressure, with the loss causing an electrical signal which is proportional to volumetric or mass flow. This method has a sensitivity of 5 x 10-4 mbar*l/s.

Air leak testing with mass extraction (vacuum conditions).

This method is an extension of the micro flow sensor one detailed above, and operates on the basic principle of rarefied gas flow.  The test is done under a vacuum in order to achieve a higher sensitivity, with sensor designs operating either in a shallow vacuum (continuum/slip flow conditions) or a deeper vacuum (transitional/molecular flow regimes).


Residential Leak Protection: How To Choose The Right Leak Detection System

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

Whether it is a slow leak from a plumbing fixture, or a catastrophic pipe failure, leaks can be destructive for a residence and extremely costly. We have all heard the stories of homeowners receiving extremely high water bills due to a flapper on a toilet starting to fail, or seeing disaster recovery companies at a residence due to a pipe or valve failure leading to major flooding. With todays technology, there are a myriad of ways to avoid leaks and detect them when they start, but which technology is the best?

How Do Leak Detectors Work?

In short, leak detectors will sense water flow in a building usually through a unit mounted on the incoming waterline. Messages can be sent out either via Wi-Fi or through a homes automation system. Ideally, the leak detection system will let you know if there is a small leak (showing water usage even if there should be no water flow at all). It will also shut the entire water system down if it detects a catastrophic failure such as a break in the main waterline.

What To Consider When Choosing A Leak Detection System

Important factors to consider when suggesting a leak detector for your customers are features, types of communication protocol, how the unit is powered, and whether the system will work if there is a breakdown in connectivity.

Automatic Water Shut-Off

While receiving a message about a leak in a residence is great, damage can be done between when the leak occurs and the time the homeowner receives the message. Automatic shut-off features will ensure that in the event of a catastrophic failure, the message is sent, but in the meantime, the system is shut down immediately.

Leak Detection For Small Leaks

Small leaks that can cause major issues tend to originate from water closet flappers that should be replaced. Homeowners often only realize they have this sort of leak once they receive an exorbitant water bill. Some of these leak detection units also provide sensors for various areas in a residence that may be more susceptible to leaks than others (water heaters and washing machines for example).



How to Choose and Why Use Leak Detectors?

Refrigerant leak detection

The chart below shows the most common groups of refrigerants we use. With the wide variety of refrigerants now available we have to ensure that the type of leak detector we are using is both suitable and SAFE to use with the refrigerant in the system. Most electronic leak detectors are suitable for CFC, HCFC and HFC’s. Caution should be taken to use suitable electronic leak detectors with HC’s which are flammable. We must not forget soapy water as a very effective leak detector. Many people discount it, but for finding leaks it is possibly the most effective method and lots of people have certainly used it to successfully find some very small leaks

Corona discharge detectors pull air through an electrical field (corona discharge) around a wire. The presence of refrigerant or other gases in the air changes the current in the wire and triggers an alarm. The problem with this is that it’s not compound specific so any substance the leak detector senses could give false alarms including cleaning chemicals. Not HC suitable!

Heated diode detectors use a heated ceramic diode. The diode generates an electrical current when it comes into contact with halogenated gas which the electronics convert into an alarm. The heated diode sensor is sensitive to contamination, especially from moisture or oil and will need replacement after approximately 100 hours of operation. This type of detector is much less likely to give false alarms and works especially well with R134a. The more expensive models have their own built in sensitivity check mode to ensure the sensing head is actually working. Not HC suitable! This type of leak detectors is produced by such trademarks as: ExTech, Fielpiece, Testo etc.

Halide detectors were very popular for use with CFC and HCFC refrigerants. The detector was normally powered with butane and worked in a similar way to a Bunsen burner. The air was channelled into the flame via a rubber tube connected below the flame. As air with refrigerant passed through the flame the chlorine element turned the flame from normal to green through to bright blue dependant on the refrigerant content of the air. Be aware that the by-products of burning refrigerants are highly toxic. DO NOT USE this type of leak detector with HFC’s or HC’s!

Fluorescent (UV) detectors use an additive which is added to the oil in a system. It travels around with the oil and can be detected using ultra-violet (UV) light where it has leaked from the system. The hand held UV kits come in various forms typically consisting of a UV lamp, additive injection kits and polarising goggles. The system relies on the oil leaking from the system (with additive) though in some cases oil separators almost totally remove the additive as it leaves the pack or condensing unit rendering it useless around the remainder of the system. Almost all car manufacturers charge this additive with the refrigerant into car A/C systems and some gas manufacturers supply refrigerant with the additive included. Suitable for HC’s. This type of leak detectors is produced by such manufacturers as: La-Co, Mastercool, Uniweld etc.


Tips To Make Electronic Leak Detection

Refrigerant leaks can lead to downtime.

Hotels, restaurants, bakeries, catering facilities, cold storage facilities, supermarkets, medical facilities and many other commercial and industrial facilities rely heavily on air conditioning and refrigeration systems to run their daily operations. A refrigerant leak followed by an unexpected breakdown can cause unplanned facility downtime, negatively impacting your revenue and reputation.

Importance of Spotting Leaks

It’s vital to identify and repair any leaks in your A/C unit early. The benefits vast outweigh the short-term burden of paying to have them fixed, and you’ll be kicking yourself down the road if a smaller leak grows larger and becomes a serious issue.

Savings! – When refrigerant leaks, the A/C unit has to kick into overdrive to compensate for the loss. As a result, your energy bill is going to spike to match that extra work.

Environmental factors – An improperly charged unit becomes much less energy-efficient, and the carbon dioxide emissions contribute greatly to the greenhouse effect. By getting ahead of refrigerant leaks, you’re helping out the environment!

Prevents damage – If an undiagnosed leak flies under the radar, it can gradually become something that can cause significant damage to your home. Water that freezes due to the leak can thaw and seep into the rest of the house and wreak havoc.

Must Know About Trenchless Pipe Replace

Must Know About Trenchless Pipe Replace

Signs That Indicate You Need Trenchless Pipe Repair For Your Ottawa Home

Pipe Bursting

Pipe bursting is best if there is a lot of damage over large stretches of the sewer line. This method is less intrusive than traditional techniques because it only involves having 2 holes dug for repairs rather than having a large section of your yard dug up. The holes are dug across the entire length of the damaged area of the pipe.

Pipe Bursting Benefits

The benefit of using pipe bursting is that only two incision points are required, and the repairs made are made to last. With this method, your new pipe or pipe liner will end up being more durable than the old pipe. The new pipes are also code-compliant and the material they are made out of is chemical-resistant.

Pipe Relining Method

This method is typically done by digging one hole, inserting a lining material and balloon into the existing pipe. This coats the interior of the pipe, hardening on the inside. This creates a new pipe inside the old one.

Pipe Relining Benefits

This method is great because it involves the least amount of damage done to the yard with only one hole being dug. This is a much superior alternative to traditional trenching because its quicker, less disruptive, cheaper, and is much safer for you and your family as well as the technicians.

Typical Cost for Repair

The cost is going to vary for a job like this, so it’s best to speak to a professional company that knows what they’re doing. The cost of a trenchless pipe repair is $80-$250 per foot. The average is approximately $160 per foot. With traditional trenching the typical budget on private property is between $8,000.00 and $12,000.00 can cost up to $20,000, making these newer methods a much more cost-effective way to fix your lines.


Is Trenchless Pipe Repair Always the Best Solution?

Yes, going trenchless is the best choice

Normally, offering such a blanket answer might seem foolish. But we’ve been in the business for a long time and know the benefits of choosing trenchless technology for pipe repair. The alternative to trenchless is the old-fashioned method of digging up the ground to reach the buried sewer or water line to fix or replace it. Trenchless offers so many advantages compared to the old techniques that there’s little question which one is the best

Trenchless doesn’t mean only one technique

There ­are choices involved when it comes to trenchless repair services. Most of them you can leave up to the professionals handling the job. Before starting the repairs, the trenchless experts will inspect the pipe to find out the extent and type of damage so they’ll know the best way to fix it. These inspections are also part of trenchless technology: push-cams inserted into the pipeline which send back images to monitors where technicians can observe the pipe interior. Using these push-cams eliminates an enormous amount of guesswork and saves time—the technicians know exactly what type of work they need to do, where to do it, and how to do it

Once the inspections are complete, the technicians will decide on whether the best way to fix the pipe is pipelining or pipe bursting. Pipelining fixes a leaking or decaying pipe from the inside by sliding a liner into the pipe and setting it in place. Pipe bursting involves slipping a new pipe into the old one, then expanding it to shatter the old pipe and replace it.


Pipe and Sewer Drain Replacement

Stumped as to why your drains aren’t in good shape in your residential or commercial property? There could be many factors that contribute to your recurring sewer line issues. Even the most well-maintained systems are subject to develop faults as decades old materials eventually break down or perform less efficiently over time. When this happens, you’d want to consider having a new drain line replacement to get the issue over with in the soonest possible time.

DIY Sewer and Pipe Drain Replacement

Cut the section of the pipe you wish to replace. Have your assistant hold the pipe as you do the cutting. Cast iron pipes will need specialized equipment in the form of a cast iron snapping tool. Sewer drain pipes made of plastic or copper can be cut using a hacksaw. Steel pipes are best cut using an electric saber saw. Even out the edges for a smooth fit.

Replace with a new pipe according to the exact length and dimension as the old pipe. Install rubber connecting couplings on the open holes of your existing pipe structure. Slide them down so they connect the sections where the new pipe and the existing pipe system firmly and securely.

Clean the drain pipe with a fine grit sandpaper before installation. Apply glue to the top interior part of the coupler. Sewer drains will have to slant downwards to where you wish to have sewage flow.

Better Leave it to the Professionals

We wish there was a simple way to replace your sewer pipes. That is why you are better off hiring a licensed professional technician to ensure the right process and steps are observed. Some possible problems that could arise in an improper installation are leaking and inefficient drainage.  It could also be the cause of an even more catastrophic event that could put you in great inconvenience


How Affordable is Trenchless Pipe Lining Compared to Other Repairs?

Traditional, dig-and-replace pipe repair

$50-250 per foot, resulting in roughly $3,000-$6,000 for small jobs, and $5,000-$13,000 for repairs over 50 feet. Any additional landscaping, road closure, and labor will contribute a great deal to cost

Trenchless pipe bursting

One of the most common dig-free pipe renovation techniques, pipe bursting costs roughly $60-200 per foot, resulting in $3,500-$20,000 for an entire repair. Bursting is essentially underground pipe replacement, and cost depends on the length and depth of your existing, damaged pipe. Using a cone-shaped bursting head, trenchless experts can typically replace an entire pipe in a single day.

Trenchless pipe lining

Relining your damaged lateral or sewer pipe will typically cost $80-250 per foot, with an average of around $160 per foot. For standard sewer lines, repair costs can vary between $4,000 and $20,000, depending on circumstance. In most cases, homeowners pay between $6,000 and $12,000 to repair critical sewer connections

Small-scale pipe lining applications

For broken pipes below 50 feet in length, lining can typically be completed for around $3,000-$4,000, again depending on the location and depth of the pipe.


How Affordable is Trenchless Pipe Repair Vs Traditional Repair?

If there’s one problem that every homeowner dreads, it’s the prospect of discovering faulty or damaged pipes somewhere on their property. Whether it’s a water or sewer line, broken pipes can cause a number of problems if they’re left unattended for too long. Traditionally, the digging required to repair or replace these pipes was a major undertaking that could last for several days and inflict significant property damage. Today, however, trenchless technology allows experienced plumbing contractors to do the same work in a fraction of the time with minimal digging.

The Upfront Costs of Trenchless Vs Traditional Pipe Repair

On paper, traditional sewer pipe repair solutions are slightly less expensive than trenchless repair solutions. As this method of pipe replacement is more common, homeowners typically have many contractors to choose from

Lateral Pipe Lining

Sometimes called cured-in-place piping (CIPP), this technology uses existing pipe, adding a layer of epoxy resin to re-line the pipe, repairing cracks and closing gaps to prevent leakage and soil intrusion—basically creating a new pipe within the existing pipe. Costs for lateral pipe lining can range from $80 to $250 per foot.

Pipe Bursting

This technique uses a pneumatic or hydraulic head that destroys the old, broken pipe and drags in a new pipe to replace it. Pipe bursting tends to be a bit less expensive than lateral pipe lining, with costs ranging between $60 and $200 per foot of pipe replaced.

Hidden Costs of Traditional Pipe Repair Vs Trenchless Repair

There are a number of additional costs to consider when making repairs to a pipe that the sticker prices listed above simply don’t cover. For example, traditional trenching repairs don’t always include the cost of excavating the old pipe. Trenching can cost anywhere between $4 and $12 per foot; if the job is especially complicated, it may even require another contractor to perform the work. Also, if any large, heavy objects are located over the sewer pipes, there may be separate charges for relocating them before and after work is completed

We Can Fix Broken Pipes With This Tips

We Can Fix Broken Pipes With This Tips

How to Fix a Broken Pipe

Turn off the relevant supply valve if it’s a water supply leak. If you have a water supply leak, which is a leak in the piping from the water supply outside your home to a particular region of your house, turn off the closest valve. For example, if the leak is in the supply piping extending to your washroom, turn the washroom water supply valve clockwise to turn it off.

Turn off the sprinkler valve if the leak is in the sprinkler pipe. If your home has a fire sprinkler system, be sure to turn the sprinkler valve off. The sprinkler valve is located right before the primary water supply valve, which is the second valve downstream from the sprinkler system.

Drain the affected water line if it’s a water supply leak. Turn on any taps connected to the problematic water supply piping and drain them. For example, if your affected piping is in the washroom water supply piping, turn on the washroom faucet and let it run until no water comes out.

Locate water leaks in your wall. If your leak is located in water supply piping in your wall, you have to open it up. Score a line 10 inches (25 cm) long into the wall where you see signs of a leak. Now, cut along the scored line with a drywall saw and create a hole big enough to peek inside. Once you spot the source of the leak, make the hole bigger until you can access it.

Remove the damaged piping 1 inch (2.5 cm) from each side of the leak. Start by marking the locations to be cut on each side of the leak using a measuring tape and permanent marker. Now, wrap pipe cutter blade jaws around the first mark and grip the handles firmly. Tighten the screw on the cutters while at the same time rotating them clockwise. Continue doing this until the pipe breaks off.

Cut a repair sleeve 1 inch (2.5 cm) longer than the damaged pipe. A repair sleeve is the new piping—cut from the longer repair coupling—that connects the two exposed pieces of piping. To determine the length of the sleeve, measure the length of the damaged piece of piping and add 1 inch (2.5 cm). Now, mark this amount on a repair coupling from one of its ends using a permanent marker. Using your pipe cutter, grip the marked section firmly and turn the screw while rotating the cutter clockwise.


How to Fix Water Pipe Leaks & Problems

How to repair water supply pipes, including burst or leaking pipes, noisy or frozen pipes, including information on how to locate underground pipe leaks

Water leaks and broken pipes can be a big problem for any homeowner. Because water in supply pipes is under pressure (normally about 50 pounds per square inch), if a pipe or fitting springs a leak, the water usually sprays out with considerable force.

Because of this pressure, it’s usually pretty obvious if a pipe is leaking—even if the pipe is inside a wall or above a ceiling. You can often hear water spraying inside the wall or ceiling. The drywall becomes wet, particularly at the joints between panels. And water often pools at the base.

If water is staining the ceiling or dripping, the leak may be directly above, although water can travel along a joist or other interior framing member and stain a wall or ceiling some distance from the leak itself. If there are no stains or drips overhead as evidence, grab a flashlight and check the pipes in the basement or crawlspace.

Most modern home water supply pipes are copper, soldered together with elbows, tees, and other fittings. Threaded galvanized iron pipes are also common, particularly in older homes, but are being phased out because they tend to get clogged by mineral deposits over time.

It always helps to have at least one pipe repair clamp on hand just in case a pipe bursts—especially if you live in a climate where pipes are likely to freeze. You can buy these quick-repair screw-on devices at any home improvement store or online.


Temporary Emergency Pipe Repair

No one wants to think about it, but a pipe can rupture at any time. Any time. If you’re very lucky, it’ll be during your local plumber’s business hours and they will be able to fit you into their schedule – after-hours or emergency calls almost always cost more than regularly scheduled appointments. So what are your options if you’re unlucky, and your pipes spring a leak at 2am on a weekend? One option is to attempt an emergency repair yourself. The following methods will hopefully provide a temporary repair to the leak, keep your water running, and allow you time to arrange for a plumber to come during business hours for a real fix.

First things first…

The first thing to do is shut off your water supply. Once this is done, turn on the faucet at the lowest point from the pipe to drain any remaining water, and relieve any pressure. Clean off the damaged area of pipe and wipe it dry.

Be extremely careful when handling the pipe, and when performing your short-term repairs – the pipe may be more damaged than it appears and could potentially collapse or break when handled.

Simple Short-Term Repair

For very small holes (“pinholes”), wrap electrical or duct tape around the pipe a few times, and keep it tight using hose clamps at both ends of the tape. This is a quick and very temporary fix – about long enough for you to get a hold of an emergency plumber. Depending on the hole and the condition of the pipe, it may look like this “fix” will hold up for a day or two – don’t let yourself be fooled! Repair the pipe posthaste.

If the hole is a bigger one or you have a leak at a fitting joint, epoxy putty is a versatile and easy way to plug it. Sold in almost any home improvement store (and on our site), it usually comes in a two-part “stick” form, and is activated by kneading the two component materials together. After the section of pipe has been cleaned and dried, put on a pair of gloves, break off a suitably-sized chunk of the epoxy, and prepare it. Work the putty into the hole and around it, using a putty knife if necessary to guarantee smooth coverage. Let the epoxy cure according to the manufacturer’s directions (usually under an hour). Once fully hardened, turn the water back on and check for leaks. Re-apply if necessary.

If you don’t have any epoxy lying around, or the store is closed, you can use hose clamps to effect a temporary fix. This simple technique uses hose clamps and a patch of rubber – an old bicycle inner tube will work, as will a length of old garden hose – to patch the hole and create enough pressure to keep it from bursting. All you need to do is cut a large enough piece of rubber/inner tube/garden hose to cover the hole and an area a few inches around it. Depending on the size of the hole, you may be able to seal it off using only one clamp, or you may need one around each end and in between as necessary. Although superior to using tape and clamps, this method is another that should not be tested for long.

Longer-Term Repair

The stopgap solutions mentioned above take advantage of items you may already have in your home. If you don’t have these things handy, or would like to have something designed specifically for long-term pipe repair among your supplies, we offer a few different easy-to-use repair kits that will set your mind at ease.

Utilizing special resin-permeated fiberglass tape, these repair kits make quick work of emergency pipe repairs. Fully cured between 40 and 90 minutes depending on the kit, all you need to do is prepare the pipe surface, activate the tape with water, and follow the application instructions. Within minutes, these kits create a permanent repair without the use of tools. Keeping a few of these in your arsenal can help stave off the potential debacle of a late weekend-night pipe emergency, and the cost of a professional repair!


Cracked Pipe Repair

Oftentimes you’ll find that the source of a broken, leaky pipe is just a small crack. Fixing a leaky pipe like this with SharkBite can save you the time and headaches.

Cracked pipes with a compromised section of two inches or less can be fixed with a SharkBite Slip Coupling. For any plumbing repair, first turn off the main water supply to the house. Then follow these steps:

Cut out the section of broken pipe completely clear of the crack. Make sure the cut is square–meaning that the plane of the cut forms a 90-degree angle with the pipe.

Deburr the pipe with the appropriate sized gauge. This creates a smooth surface to lie flush against the O-ring, which would otherwise be damaged.

If repairing a copper pipe or similar pipe without depth markers, be sure to mark the pipe for the appropriate depth of the fitting.

Push the end of the coupling marked “slip end” over the pipe as far as it will go.

Using a disconnect clip on the slip end of the fitting, slide the coupling over the adjoining piece of pipe to the depth that you marked

That’s it! No need for soldering or any messy materials; and remember, SharkBite can be installed wet or dry, no matter the circumstance. Want to find out how to fix a cracked pipe damaged because of freezing? This is it!


Things You Should Do When You Find a Burst Pipe

Shut off the Water

When water freezes, it expands in volume by about 9 percent. And it expands with tremendous force: The pressure inside pipes may go from 40 pounds per square inch to 40,000 psi! No pipe can hold that much pressure, so it breaks open. The break may occur where the ice forms, but more often, it occurs where water pressure finds a weak spot in the pipe. That may be inches or even feet from the frozen area. You might also need to shut off the electricity as well, depending on where the leaks occurs and how big it is.

Call a Plumber

Unless you feel comfortable trying to repair a broken pipe on your own, you’re probably going to need a plumber at some point. You can, however, do several things before calling the plumber that will help reduce the impact of a broken pipe.

Start Getting Rid of the Water

Grab the mop, buckets and a shop vacuum to start to get rid of the water because you certainly don’t want it soaking into everything else in the house. Plus, a quick clean up will reduce the chances of something getting moldy.

Turn up the Heat

Set up fans to blow heat into cold rooms. Keep the garage door closed. If you have reduced water flow, heat the most vulnerable pipes (usually in basements and crawl spaces or near exterior walls) with a hair dryer. Leave the faucet on while you apply heat. As you melt ice, the flow will increase.

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