Identifying and fixing a leak

A common problem in the colder months, when pipes freeze and expand it’s sometimes challenging to find the exact origin of a leak and repair it effectively.

Before you can inspect your pipes it’s important to first turn off your water supply.

Normally to be found under the kitchen sink, once you’ve located your stop tap, turn it off. If you have a water cylinder turn off the stopcock and if you have a drain tap, this should also be switched off.

Leaks from connections or joints

Most leaking pipe joints can be repaired simply by using a spanner or wrench. Tighten the joint slightly, by turning no more than a quarter or the way round. In the event that this doesn’t stop the leak, avoid turning further.

Instead, isolate the area by closing the valves, or drain the system to below the leak and use PTFE tape to tighten the connections.

If the joint has been filled with molten solder it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to tighten it to fix the problem as the seal is already weakened or broken. If this is the case you may need to replace all or part of the pipe in addition to the solder fittings.

Leaks from overflow pipes

An overflow pipe leak can be caused by the ballcock not fully shutting off the water tank’s valve. Resulting in a damaged float valve or a worn washer, this is a relatively cheap and straightforward problem to repair.

Once you’ve purchased a replacement valve or washer from your local DIY store, drain the pipe until you can get access to the valve or washer and replace the necessary parts.

If you need help repairing any leaks contact your local plumbing engineer.

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