How to Repair a Copper Pipe Leak
If you've identified a leak from your plumbing system in a copper pipe, then the first thing you need to do is shut off the water main to the house.
Depending on the size of the hole, you might be able use a regular pipe coupling or a sweat coupling.
The easier repair occurs when less than 0.5 inches of pipe need to be removed.
Here's what you need to do.
Step #1: Cut Out The Damaged Section.
You must remove the damaged copper pipe.
Just plugging the hole and wrapping it up will not create a permanent repair.
The key to a solid repair here is to have a dry pipe, so once you've removed the damaged sections, make sure each end has no water or condensation remaining.
Step #2: Clean And Flux The Two Openings.
You need to clean and flux the repair sleeve and the inside of the pipe sections.
You'll also want to clean the outside of the copper pipe with sandcloth.
Start by removing the corrosion from the surfaces with a wire brush.
Then you can use the sandcloth or some emery paper on the outside of the pipe.
Once completed, you can then brush on the flux.
Step #3: Cut The Sweat Coupling If Necessary.
The sweat coupling is about the same, but you'll need to custom cut the repair sleeve from stock pipe based on the length of the repair you need to complete.
The local hardware store may be able to do this for you.
Otherwise you'll need a pipe cutter to cut the proper length.
Remove any burrs and prepare the fitting as describe in Step #2.
Step #4: Install The Repair Sleeve.
The repair sleeve is going to fit over the existing copper pipe plumbing in the home.
Make sure the sleeve is centered so that there is about half an inch of support on the existing pipe for the repair.
Step #5: Solder The Joint.
Hold the flame on one side of the joint and the solder wire on the opposite side of it.
The goal is to have the solder melt completely into the joint.
You may need to rotate around the pipe to get a solid repair. If there are air bubbles in the joint, you may have to start over because the repair may not hold.
This is one of those household repairs that may take some practice before you get the skills down to complete it.
Once you get used to this repair, however, you'll know how to repair a copper pipe leak and that's something that can save you a lot of money over the years in repairs.
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