Tip & How-To about Plumbing

What to do When Your Copper Piping Springs a Leak

One of the greatest improvements to come along for quite a while for the do it yourself market is a push type fitting that fits any CTS (copper tube size) tubing. It does not matter if the piping material is copper, cpvc, poly, pex, or whatever. Just so long as it is standard CTS size. These fittings come in many different forms, configurations, and name brands. A couple of the most common name brands would be Sharkbite, Tektite, Cash-Acme, and Watts. I have tried many of them and they do all work well, so do not be as concerned with the brands as the availability. In others words use whatever you can find quickly, it will probably work just fine.

Copper piping has been a great way to run the water lines in your home. But what do you do when the piping does not keep the water on the inside? The most common way a pipe will leak in copper piping is a “pin-hole” leak. This type of leak can be easily repaired very quickly and with some new innovations on the market today.

To repair a leak what you have to do is to identify the source of the leak. Sometimes it may be a very slow drizzle that can run along the pipe before dripping off of the pipe. Do not assume that where the water is dripping is the spot of the leak. Often times the leak will be a very fine spray. That can make it very difficult to identify exactly where the water is coming from. If you hold up a piece of paper or cardboard, and then watch where and how the water is hitting it, this will help you trace the spray back to the hole in the water pipe.

Another problem can be getting the pipe cut without crushing it. Copper piping that is leaking can often be so thin that it has very little structural integrity. A good sharp tubing cutter will help you to cut through the pipe with out crushing it. You need to be very patient and only crank the cutter closed a quarter turn at a time, so you do not crush the pipe as you cut it. A quarter turn of the knob on the cutter will be enough to slowly cut the pipe and not crush the pipe.

Make sure you have a good clean cut on both ends of the pipe, then carefully push the repair coupling onto one end of the pipe. Next, carefully get the other side of the pipe started into the coupling and then push them together firmly till they are seated into the coupling. This is a very simple process that will take you less time to do, then it will for you to find the fitting in the store and purchase the fitting.

Push repair fittings are a great item to have on hand “just in case”. The next time you go to the hardware or home center, look for them and grab a couple extra for that next time you may need to make that quick repair in your water lines.

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