Repairing pipe is an issue that any homeowner has to face quite often during the life span of the home plumbing system. Pipes are subject to wear and tear all the time and there comes a time when it might develop crack, break and leak all of a sudden. During initial installation there might have been some omission or imperfection which has resulted in an issue now. And in the absence of proper insulation pipes may freeze and burst during winter.
If you have the requisite equipment and tools, you can repair the pipe yourself. Almost like do-it-yourself projects. You should have the proper tools to repair pipes of copper and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC), as these pipes are being used commonly now. Lead pipes are rarely used now days as they are easily corroded and likely to pose health hazard.
If you are going to repair a copper pipe you will need soldering flux, a propane torch, sandpaper, a piece of identical copper pipe and a pipe cutter. The first thing that you have to do is shut off the supply of water to the damaged pipe. Locate the shut off valve nearest to the concerned area and cut off the water supply. If the job demands cutting off water supply from the main water valve, you will find it either in the basement, or near the water meter.
Measure six inches on either side of the damaged area and with the help of the cutter, cut out the damaged section. Cut out a similar length of pipe from the new piece of pipe. With the sandpaper smooth the surface of the edges. Apply the non-corrosive soldering flux to the cut edges. Align the pipe properly and with the help of the propane torch heat the soldering flux to boiling. When you notice the pipes joining together put out the torch and let the pipe to cool. After the joint has cooled, open the water supply and observe if a leak still there.
To repair a plastic pipe you will not need a propane torch instead you will require pipe cement to join the pipes together. The initial procedure is the same as for copper pipe. Here prepare the pipes, couplers by swiping about 1.5 to about two inches on the outside of the pipe and inside the couplers. Apply pipe cement and slide the two pipes together. Then leave it to dry completely before you open the supply of water.
You have dealt with some major cracks, for the minute cracks you can use silicone sealant to repair them. After shutting off the water apply sealant directly on to the crack and allow it to dry before you turn on the water back. If you find that the water is still leaking through such minor cracks, then you will have to replace the damaged section as per the procedure above.
In case you feel that with the set of skills that you have you are not qualified to replace the cracked section of the pipe, then you will have to hire a plumber to do the job