DIY plumbing 101: How to fix a leaking pipe

Leaky pipes are a huge problem in the UK. According to 2022 statistics, water companies lost over 1 trillion litres via leaky pipes, and for homeowners who are unlucky enough to have the leak on their property, the price of the lost water can be high – and that’s on top of significant property damage.

Whether you’ve had a leak or not, fixing one isn’t just for the professionals. It might sound intimidating, but the plumber is not always needed when there’s a leak – you can DIY it too. Here’s how.

How to know if you have pipe damage

First things first, do you have a burst or leaking pipe? To check, watch out for a loss of water pressure, boiler pressure, or patches of water appearing outside in your garden, on your walls, in your ceilings, or on your floors. A burst pipe is much more obvious than a leak – large volumes of water, compared to a drip or trickle of water.

Where is the leak?

The right fix for your leaking pipe is dependent on the type of leak that’s occurring. First, work out whether it’s inside or outside your home by taking a meter reading, turning off your stopcock, waiting for half an hour, then taking another meter reading. If the meter hasn’t gone up, the leak is inside your home within your plumbing. If it’s continued to rise, then the leak is between the meter and your home – typically the supply pipe.

How to fix leaks yourself

The approach you take to fixing the leak will differ depending on the type. Firstly, you need to locate exactly where the leak is. Once you know where it is, turn off your water supply, and drain the pipes – your taps or central heating system, depending on where the leak is. Find the leaky or broken pipe and use either pipe sealants or a clamp to cover the leak. These two options should be enough to stop the leak until you get an expert plumber in to replace the piping.

If you feel confident enough to repair the pipe yourself, you can cut out the section of broken pipe and attach a slip coupling. The process is relatively straightforward, though you will need some specialist tools and knowhow, so make sure to study plenty of video guides before you start so you know exactly what you’re doing.

Fixing your own pipes is a pretty advanced DIY task, and if you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, it’s crucial you get the help of a professional. Have you ever done this job yourself? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.

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