PVC pipes have been proven to work well in many residential plumbing systems. They are lightweight, ideal for long-term use, and very flexible. However, any pipe is subject to leaking or breaking. This can cause changes in your home’s water quality and can lead to some costly problems down the road. Luckily, when it comes to PVC pipes, there are relatively simple ways to fix this problem. Another benefit of using PVC pipes is that they can be repaired with ease. If necessary, replacing PVC pipes is very simple as well. Below is a list of simple steps to help you fix PVC plumbing pipes stress-free!
- Finding the Leak: The first step might also be the most important—locating the leak! It can become difficult to locate the exact source of the leak as time goes on due to the movement of water in and on the pipe caused by the break. To make this easier, try to soak up as much water as possible with a towel. By determining the source of the break or leak you will discover the severity of the situation and the steps needed to mend the problem. This way, you can tell which parts of the PVC pipe need to be fixed or replaced entirely.
- Shut Off Water Supply: After finding the leak, shut off the water supply. The easiest option is to turn off the shut-off valve but, if you cannot locate that, turning off the main water supply will work as well. To guarantee that all the water is out of the pipes, turn on the faucet after shutting off the water supply and let it drain out of the pipes into a bucket. It is always helpful to have a bucket nearby to catch any unexpected water.
- Remove: Once you locate the source of the leak, it becomes apparent whether or not this was a situation that required repairing or replacing. If you need to replace, use PVC cutters to remove the area in the pipe where the leak is occurring. PVC cutters are the best option because they create smoother lines than some other products but any cutter or hacksaw will work. Be sure to cut at least an inch away on both sides of the break or leak. Once the area in the PVC pipe is removed, some water might drain out from the plumbing. The bucket and towel from the above steps will come in handy here. Be sure to dry in and around the pipe opening to prepare for the new parts.
- Assemble Parts: Test out the fit of the replacement parts to ensure that they will mold well with your system. This way, you can make any adjustments before committing to a fit. It is not wise to glue in the replacement before making sure that it is the right part. After making any necessary adjustments, disassemble them and get ready to apply adhesive.
- Apply Primer and Glue: Once the replacements are ready, use an applicator brush to apply the primer on each fitting and pipe, according to where it will be attached. Usually, the brush will come with the primer and it will allow for even, thin layers to be applied. Next, apply one coat of PVC glue to the pipe and fitting, going over the area where you have already primed. It is important that you make sure the solvents and adhesives go outside the pipe and inside the fitting.
- Insert Replacements: After applying the glue, insert the pipe into the fitting. Use a twisting motion to help spread the glue and join the pipe with the fitting completely. Hold the parts together in place for about ten seconds to guarantee that the parts fit together tightly and to prevent slipping. Repeat this process as necessary until all parts are in place.
- Test for Leaks: After waiting at least 15 minutes for the glue to dry, turn on the water supply and check for leaks.
While these steps are specifically for those leaks that are best repaired by being replaced, that is not always the only way. Another option is to repair a small hole or leak using epoxy. By sanding and smoothing the surface of the PVC pipe, you can create a space over the hole where the epoxy will be able to attach easily. Mix together the repair epoxy that is large enough to cover the damaged area and massage it in place over the source of the leak. Finish by sanding over the epoxy surface and test for leaks. It is important to note that this should be used mostly for small holes. Bigger leaks will be best repaired by replacing the area entirely.
Be sure to check the steps above the next time you need to replace and repair leaks or breaks in your PVC pipe. By fixing breaks and leaks in your PVC pipe system, you are preventing costly consequences from building up as time goes by. Hopefully, by following this how-to guide, this repair process will be easier than imagined!
Tim McFall is the Marketing Manager at Commercial Industrial Supply, a supplier of commercial & industrial piping, fittings, valves, and more. Tim enjoys his creating DIY piping & fittings projects and educating others on topics related to piping & PVC products. He also enjoys writing for the company blog.