5 temporary fixes for a pipe leak

A temporary stopgap measure can minimize damage until a plumber can assess the situation. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Michelle B.)

A temporary stopgap measure can minimize damage until a plumber can assess the situation. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Michelle B.)

In a plumbing emergency, every second counts. A burst pipe can flood a home in a short period of time causing considerable damage, so you should have a plan in place to manage the damage until a plumber can arrive on scene.

The following stopgap measures might help to contain the damage until a plumber can assess the situation.

1. Pipe clamps

These clamps are used on aircraft carriers and submarines, so they're sure to be sturdy enough to keep your broken pipe in tact for a while. They don't solve the problem, but they do a good job of containing it until a plumbing professional can help.

2. Epoxy compounds

Suitable for cast iron pipes, this compound will patch up a leak until the pipe can be replaced. For older pipes, replacing them is sometimes the best option, but it will depend on your situation. Repairs can sometimes be less expensive, but not in all cases.

3. Rubber pipe connectors

For leaks on the joint or in the middle, rubber couplings or connectors can be wrapped around to tighten up the leak. These can help stop toilet water, used laundry water or other drainage materials from pooling around the leak. They do require some cutting, so it's best if you know what you're doing.

4. Pipe wraps

Available at most hardware stores, these wraps will harden around a pipe to patch a leak. They're similar to epoxy in that they simply need to be put in the right place. They work anywhere on the pipe for all types of leaks and cracks.

5. Repair sleeves

These are ideal for joint or pinhole repairs. They're similar to clamps and can provide a strong fix for a limited amount of time. Repair sleeves work well for smaller cracks, but keep in mind that the problem can spread if it is left unattended for too long.


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Make sure you hire an experienced, licensed plumber to work in your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Abby K.)
Make sure you hire an experienced, licensed plumber to work in your home. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Abby K.)

Many homeowners can resolve minor plumbing issues like a clogged toilet or leaky faucet, but when your plumbing pipes suffer damage - you should leave the repairs to the professionals.

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