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Emergency pipe repairs

Finding a water leak is bad news for a homeowner, but a knowledge of emergency pipe repairs can help to limit the damage until an experience plumber arrives.

The first thing you need to know is where the main stopcock is situated - this enables you to turn off the water. There will normally be two - one under the kitchen sink, and another outside the property. Find one or the other and turn the water supply off.

If a tank, cistern or toilet is leaking, you might be able to isolate the water supply independently. You will also need to put buckets under the leak and turn on all the taps in the house to drain the system faster.

Methods of making emergency pipe repairs include:

  • Flattening the pipe so it is closed on the supply side - if the pipe is made of lead or copper, you may be able to hammer it flat to limit or stop the flow of water. This is a fairly primitive option.

  • Cut a length of hosepipe that extends at least 8 cm (3 inches) past the hole in the pipe at each end. Slit the hosepipe down it's length then wrap it around the damaged pipe, with the slit away from the hole, and secure it with at least three Jubilee clips.

  • Alternatively you can clean the pipe and wrap it well with self-amalgamating tape or similar pipe repair kit.

If you feel comfortable with your basic plumbing skills you can replace the damaged section with an off the shelf push fit pipe repair.

To do this, you will need to cut away the damaged section of the pipe and install a new section of pipe with either compression fittings at each end or push fit connectors. When you are cutting, remember that the pipe will need to slide inside the pipe repair by about 20mm each side before locking.



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