Lightweight, durable, cost-effective and corrosion-resistant, Polyvinyl Chloride pipe, more commonly referred to as PVC pipe, is incredibly popular for use in plumbing. Thanks to its smooth surface, PVC pipe offers leak free connections; joint fittings are permanently fused with the PVC pipe with a special solvent glue. But this means repairs are slightly different than other types of plumbing pipes. In the event of a leak in a PVC pipe in your home, it’s important to know how to perform the needed repair.
Next Steps After Discovering a PVC Pipe Leak
When you discover water leaking, the first thing to do is locate the exact source. You’ll know you’ve found the leak when you dry the suspect area thoroughly, place a paper towel over (or under) that location and moisture is visible. The second step is to turn off the water. Whether you’re making permanent repair or stemming the worst of the leak until a plumber can arrive, it’s important to turn off the water so additional water damage is averted.
The Best Repair Options for PVC Pipe Leaks
There are several different repair options available to fix a leak in a PVC pipe. Before we get into the details, please keep in mind that this blog content is solely educational and informational in nature and is not to be used as a basis for a repair in your home.
Consider your goal here. Do you need a stopgap measure before a professional plumber can arrive? Or do you plan to make the complete repair yourself?
We will first address these temporary repair methods for PVC pipe: silicone repair tape, fiberglass wrap and rubber and hose clamps.
Silicone Repair Tape for PVC Pipe Repairs
An excellent option to create an air and water-tight seal is using strong, conformable silicone rubber repair tape. Available for purchase online and in-stores, silicone repair tape is a stretchy, durable solution to wrap around the source of the PVC leak. You must thoroughly clean and dry the damaged section of piping first. Then apply the silicone repair tape to the pipe, winding it tightly to compress and create the needed seal.
Fiberglass Wrap for PVC Repairs
Also called fiberglass tape or fiberglass resin wrap, this type of repair option offers water resistant sealing. The tape itself has a water-activating resin to provide a waterproof leak seal. Fiberglass is made of plastic reinforced with glass fiber for increased durability. Use gloves at all times before using fiberglass wrap.
After cleaning and drying the source of the leak, wipe a damp cloth around where you intend to place the tape around the PVC pipe or joint fitting. Wrap the tape tightly around the affected area while the moisture remains in order for the resin to activate, bond and harden. The bonding process will take roughly 20 minutes.
Rubber & Hose Clamps for PVC Repairs
At times, you may need to make do with what you have on hand. It’s safe to say most people don’t readily have silicone repair tape or fiberglass wrap. This is where rubber and hose clamps come in handy as the durable PVC pipe won’t be affected by compression. Use a piece of rubber or silicone to lay on top of the area, then grab a hose clamp to firmly secure it in place. With the water off, this should give you long enough to call a professional without allowing further damage.
Now, we’ll address more long-lasting solutions to leaking from PVC pipes. The first option, using epoxy, will not fully solve the problem for the long-term. Eventually a plumber will still need to make repairs. However, it is a strong immediate solution if you’re unable to seek professional repairs promptly. The second option, replacing the damaged portion with a new section of PVC pipe, is often the best way to fully repair the leak.
Epoxy for PVC Repairs
Epoxy is short for epoxy resin. Epoxy is often used as a sealant or protective coating thanks to its adhesive characteristics as well as its durable, strong, versatile, chemical resistance qualities. It can come in either a putty or liquid form. In most cases, epoxy must be mixed according to the packaging instructions.
Be sure to clean and thoroughly dry the section of PVC piping first. Put on gloves, then mix the epoxy according to the packaging. Use a foam roller or sponge brush to coat it on the damaged area in question. It should harden or cure within 10 minutes.
Replacement Piping for PVC Repairs
At times, the damage is too great for any other repairs. When that is the case, the best solution is to cut out the damaged portion of PVC piping and secure a new one in its place. You’ll need to purchase the appropriate sized replacement part as well as PVC solvent glue before considering any further steps. Once you’ve ensured you have those items, you can begin.
Always ensure the water is off, and that no one is using any appliances that may discharge water to the PVC pipe you are repairing. Cutting away the leaking part will require a hacksaw or a PVC tubing cutter. Once you’ve cut away the section responsible for the leak, you can install the replacement part with PVC solvent glue. As we explained at the beginning of the post, the special solvent glue permanently fuses the pieces together. You’ll first need to fit the sections of pipe together, ensuring it is firmly secured. Once you’ve done that, remove the new section and apply glue to the inside and outside of the sections that will be fused together. Then, place the piping back together. Be sure to wait a full minute for the solvent glue to firmly bond.
Your home’s plumbing system, including the PVC pipe, should last you a long time. But in the event leaks should occur, it’s best to be prepared and know what your options are for an immediate repair. If you need professional plumbing assistance to repair your leaking PVC pipe and prevent further water damage, contact Atlas Home Services today.