Plastic Pipe

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Plastic Pipe

Leaky Pipes Are Not The End Of The World

Like many other things, plumbing pipes break when it is most inconvenient. Usually during extreme cold, when it's almost impossible to get help because that's the time when plumbers are busiest. Luckily, most of these plumbing related leaks can be repaired by means of do-it-yourself methods, either temporarily or permanently.

While many leaks result from freezing and splitting of pipes, other leaks are caused by punctures and thin spots in pipes caused by corrosion. Leaks also frequently occur at joints of pipe and fittings. Splits resulting from freezing are the most difficult to handle and usually require replacement of the damaged section of pipe.

The moment you notice any pipe leak, you should turn off the water supply. But most of these leaks can be prevented by simple planning. Cracks near pipes that run close to wall should be carefully caulked and those pipes, which have a tendency to freeze, should be insulated using heat tapes.

It is very important that every person in a home knows where the main water shutoff valve is. In some homes it is under the kitchen sink. But if your house has a basement, you can usually find it close to the water pump or meter.

Most fixtures and some individual runs of pipe also have their own shutoff valves, so it is sometimes possible to halt a leak while keeping water service in part of the house.

Frozen pipes that develop leaks won't drip until they start thawing, of course, and can't be fixed until they are fully thawed and emptied of water. Thawing can be speeded by opening the faucet at the end of the frozen pipe and applying heat working backward from the faucet so steam and melting water have an outlet.

Use of a propane torch for thawing a pipe is not recommended, since the sudden generation of steam can cause additional damage to the pipe and there is danger of starting a fire. Rags soaked with hot water and wrapped around the pipe are a slow but safe method to use.

Most homes have copper pipes. To repair this type of pipe just use a hacksaw to cut out the damaged section. Make sure that you do this very carefully on both sides of the split.

A fast repair without soldering can be made by joining the cut ends of the copper pipe with a plastic coupling or short length of polybutylene or CPVC plastic pipe, both of which will handle cold or hot water. Some plastic fittings work by compression and require no adhesives or solvents, while other plastic pipe requires so-called solvent welding. Ask for directions and tips before buying.

Before going shopping for replacement pipe and fittings, make sure that you measure the diameter and length of the section you need to replace. Better yet, cut out the section of the pipe which needs to be replaced and bring it with you.

Plastic Pipe
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