Diy Plumbing Leaks

A common Problem, DIY Plumbing Leaks!

DIY plumbing leaks are so common that it will pay everybody to get to grips with what it takes to fix them. You don't have to be a plumber to fix your own leaks, whether they are in the kitchen, the bathroom or in pipes or taps outside on the patio or garden. But you do need to know a bit about DIY plumbing leaks so that you don't have to call in the plumber. So let's see what you need to know to start a project involving DIY plumbing leaks.

First of all, what is likely to leak? Taps or faucets and stopcocks probably top the leak list, followed by toilet or WC (water closet) cisterns. Pipes sometimes leak, while drains simply overflow, creating what could be described as a really ugly "leak".

If a tap or faucet leaks from its spout it's usually because the washer that seals the inlet of the tap is worn or broken. If the tap leaks from its handle, or the handle is difficult to turn, the spindle seal is probably worn. Older type taps with rising spindles are sealed with fibre packing; you can usually fix this with plumber's tape. Newer types have rubber O-ring seals that may be replaced. If the taps are badly worn you may need to replace the entire mechanism or tap fitting.

If water leaks from the toilet cistern it may be because the lever mechanism in the cistern isn't working properly. If the float doesn't return to its normal position, the water will continue to fill up and will eventually overflow. Sometimes just fiddling with the float arm will do the trick, but if the lever is broken you'll have to replace the mechanism. Faulty washers and seals may also be the cause of leaks in and around the cistern. These include the siphon sealer washer, the washer at the top of the flush pipe, as well as the other seals within the flush pipe itself.

When stopcocks haven't been used for a while, you might find it difficult to open or close them. After all, unlike taps/faucets that we use on a daily basis, stopcocks are there to control the flow of water through a section of pipework. If you have to wrench a stopcock open, you might find that it leaks slightly around the spindle. Usually all you will need to do is loosen the top gland nut on the spindle and wind some plumber's tape (PTFE) round the thread in the body of the spindle. Then tighten the nut using your hand (not a wrench). It does need to be tight, but you also need to be able to loosen it reasonably easily.

When pipes or joints burst you will undoubtedly have an emergency situation. Once you have coped with the emergency, by switching of the mains water or nearby stopcocks, and stemming the flow of water, you can get on with the job of mending the leak. In many instances you will be able to use a suitable plumbing fitting to join the two pieces of pipe on either side of the leak, even if the pipes are made of copper. If you have to remake the joint, you'll need plumber's tape (PTFE) or if the joint has to be soldered, you will need soldering equipment. When it comes to buying new pipes and fittings, you will need to know what types of pipe you are dealing with and what size the pipe is. You can check the external size of pipes with an ordinary school compass or dividers.

If a compression joint in a pipe leaks, you may just be able to tighten the nut. If there isn't any visible thread or if this doesn't work, then you'll need to dismantle the side of the fitting that is leaking. You might even have to patch in a new section of pipe.

 

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