If you find a leaky pipe in your home, what do you do? You call the plumber, of course. From that point on, you are free to step back, let the plumber do their work, and then return to admire the fixed, leak-free pipe. But if you're a homeowner who likes to know a bit more about what's actually going on in your home, then you will probably be wondering exactly how your plumber goes about fixing the leak. Actually, there are a few different strategies they might use depending on the location and size of the leak.
Leaks at Joints
If the leak is coming from the place where two pieces of pipe come together, then the plumber is likely to turn the water off, disconnect the two pipes, and then apply some new Teflon tape to the threaded joint. They will probably also apply a special plumbing compound, which is like glue, to the tape. Then, they will screw the two pipes back together. The joint should now be more secure, so it should not leak. The plumber will turn the water back on, let it flow for a while, and make sure the leak is gone before they leave.
Tiny Leaks in Copper Pipes
If you have copper pipes and there is a tiny crack or split in one of the pipes, then the plumber may opt to leave the pipe in place and just seal the leak. They'll use a product called plumber's epoxy to cover the area where the crack is located. This epoxy has a clay-like consistency. It needs to be kneaded and then pressed onto the pipe to create a good seal. Then, the epoxy will be cured, a process that usually involves applying some heat to the pipe. After the epoxy is cured, the pipe can be used again.
Big Leaks in Copper Pipes and Most Leaks in Galvanized Pipes
If you have old, galvanized pipes, then even a small leak usually indicates that the pipe is starting to rust out. This issue is therefore treated the same way as larger leaks in copper pipes — by removing and replacing the damaged section of pipe. The plumber will cut out the pipe that is leaking and then put a new pipe in its place, using epoxy and Teflon tape to connect the two pieces of pipe.
Now you have a better idea of how your pipes will be repaired! Reach out to your plumber if you need help with a plumbing repair.