There are many reasons that one of your home’s hot water pipes may burst or leak. Old, delicate pipes may decide to give out at the last minute, or other work being done on the house can disrupt pipes and cause them to break. Whatever the cause, you need to act fast to fix it with minimal mess and damage.
Before getting started, knowing how to use a torch, flux and solder is important. Make sure you have replacement material, a pipe cutter and pocket knife, couplers and a hacksaw. Follow these simple steps:
- Measure the pipe that will need to be replaced. If it is copper or any other hard material, you will need a pipe cutter. PEV material is soft and flexible and can be cut with a regular knife.
- Mark the pipe clearly so that you can see what needs to be replaced. Use a bright piece of chalk or crayon, anything that will not require you to move around with the cutter too much.
- Put a bucket underneath if you haven’t already done so. It will catch watch that drains out. Often the water is dirty, so protect the floor with rags or newspaper.
- Fit the cutter or knife around on the marked-off parts. It’s better to cut too little off than too much, so novices should take care and cut slowly.
- The replacement piece should be cut roughly ¼” shorter than the original, unless it is PEV or another flexible material. Fit the replacement with the couplers to get an accurate cut. Usually it is two to three inches shorter for the flexible materials.
- Grind down the end of the replacement part before fitting it into the couplers.
- With the torch, the joints need to be sweated so that solder can be placed around it when it starts to split. The solder should be allowed to go into the joints and cool down without being disturbed.
You can prepare for random pipe bursts by purchasing replacement material in advance. It’s a smart way to take care of a common household problem. To prevent pipe bursting, do a regular thorough investigation of pipes once a month. Listen for odd noises and look for small leaks. Have the materials you would need if one did burst. One home’s plumbing problem can become the problem of an entire neighborhood if small problems aren’t properly corrected.
About Preferred Plumbing & Drain
Preferred Plumbing & Drain has been providing plumbing services to the Oakland and surrounding East Bay areas since 2004. Preferred Plumbing & Drain is a Licensed Contractor (Contractors License #856944) and a PHCC member.
With Preferred Plumbing & Drain, the estimate is always free and there is no extra charge for nights, weekends, or holidays. There are no trip or travel charges. And you approve the estimate before any work is started.