With so many choices on the market today, choosing which product to use when repairing a broken water line may be the most difficult part of the job.
Step 1: Turn off the water supply and dry the area as much as possible. If there is frozen water in the line, allow it to thaw before making the necessary repairs. Clear away any loose debris and smooth the area to be repaired with emery cloth. Make sure the pipe is as clean and dry as possible.
Step 2: Use self-fusing silicone tape or a Fernco Pow-R Wrap kit to fix smaller leaks on almost any type of pipe. Start by sealing the leak with two-part epoxy putty. Begin wrapping the tape at least 2 inches away from the putty seal. Pull the tape taut and wrap it around the pipe, overlapping each wrap until the tape extends 2 inches beyond the putty patch.
Step 3: For pipe shorter than 1 inch in diameter, with cracks less than 2 inches in length, a metal pipe repair clamp can easily solve the problem. Position the rubber gasket material lengthwise over the crack, overlapping the two pieces if necessary. Place the metal clamp over the rubber gaskets and tighten the screws to hold the clamp in place.
Step 4: PEX and copper waterlines can also be repaired with push-to-connect fittings. Use a tubing cutter to remove the broken section of pipe. For larger breaks, use two fittings and a short piece of pipe to fill the gap. Push the fitting onto the existing pipe and position it to slide onto the opposing pipe end. Make sure the pipe ends are seated evenly and securely inside the fittings.
Step 5: Repair larger diameter pipes using a replacement section of pipe and two couplings. Couplings can be glued onto either end of a PVC pipe and slid into position. Clean and prime the pipe before gluing. For galvanized pipes, choose a rubber Fernco brand fitting. Slip the couplings into place and tighten the clamps on either end of the coupling.
Step 6: Compression repair sleeves and compression couplings are available for PVC, copper and galvanized pipes. Cut the broken section out and slide the nut and ferrule onto each pipe end. Position the sleeve and tighten the nuts onto the sleeve until the pipe is joined together once again.