Opening a cabinet door to discover a pool of water can really put a kink in your plans for the day. If it isn't possible to get a plumber in for a permanent repair right away, you may be worried about the leak worsening or that you will have to go without water until you have time to call for help. Fortunately, many leaks can be fixed temporarily, which will buy you a day or two to get a plumber on site.
Step #1: Shut off the water
All repairs need to start with a water shutoff. If the leak is in a pipe that directly feeds into a fixture with its own main shutoff valve, such as the toilet or kitchen sink, you can simply shut off that valve while leaving the main on. Otherwise, you will need to shut the main house valve if there isn't a dedicated valve. Main valves are sometimes located in the basement or in a utility box near the home or the street.
Step #2: Dry the pipe
The pipe needs to be dry and smooth before you begin any temporary repair. Use an absorbent towel to wipe it down, removing all moisture. Then, inspect the leaking area. If it is rough or corroded, take a piece of steel wool and gently sand off any burrs or roughness to make it smooth. Then, wipe again with a dry towel to remove the sanding residue. Drying and sanding ensures that the patch material adheres and isn't damaged by the condition of the pipe.
Step #3: Grab the plumber's tape
Plumber's tape creates a tight bond to pipes – at least for a few days. Begin wrapping the tape about an inch in front of the leak. Then, continue to wrap the pipe until you are an inch past the leak. Make sure the tape is wrapped tightly and that it overlaps itself so that water won't squeeze out.
Step #4: Create a stronger seal
For larger leaks, you can create a stronger seal by making a rubber bandage. You can also use this method on its own if you don't have plumber's tape available. Take a piece of sheet rubber, such as that used to line a pond or a piece cut from an old bike inner tube. Wrap this tightly around the leak. Then, secure the rubber to the pipe with a pipe clamp. Place one clamp directly over the leak, sealing the rubber to the leaking pipe. Then, place a second and third clamp on either side of the leak to further secure the rubber patch.
These repairs won't last long, but they can get you through a weekend. Contact a plumber as soon as possible so the pipes can be repaired or replaced properly. For more information, contact The King's Helper or a similar company.