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How to manage emergency plumbing leaks

Published On: Nov 19 2013 03:37:22 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 04 2013 10:34:36 AM CST

(NewsUSA) - In the event of a ruptured pipe, it is not uncommon for some people to panic. But anyone can perform emergency leak repairs, helping to prevent further damage until a professional can fix the problem.

According to the EPA, fixing a known leak can save the average homeowner 11,000 gallons of water a year. If you happen to find excess water in your home due to a leak, perform the following steps:

- Find the leak. You can't repair a leak if you can't identify its source. Sometimes, a hole or rupture in the pipe will prove immediately obvious. Other times, you will need to follow the water's path to find the leak.

- Turn off the water. Once you've found the source of the leak, turn off the water. You don't want to shut off all of the water entering your home unless absolutely necessary, so try turning off fixture shut-off valves or branch shut-off valves before closing the main shut-off valve.

- Drain and dry the pipe. Open the faucet or valve that connects to the pipe, then allow any remaining water to drain out. Dry the empty pipe.

- Fix the leak. You can perform an emergency fix so you can still use water before a professional makes permanent repairs. For example, if you only see a very small hole, you can insert a pencil into the hole, break off its tip so that it plugs the hole, and then wrap electrical or duct tape around the hole.

If you have a washer and a screw, you can put the washer around the hole and then drive the screw into the hole, being careful not to pierce the other side of the pipe.

If the leak is at a joint between two pipes, flexible epoxy might prove a good bet. Simply cut a piece of epoxy from its tube, work it between you hands, press it to the hole and allow it to set.