How to Fix a
Leaking PVC Pipe

By Brooks Owen

Materials and Tools Needed

• Short length of the appropriate size PVC pipe
• Two PVC couplers
Small can of PVC cement
• Small can of PVC primer
• 100 grit sandpaper
• Hacksaw or flexible wire saw
• Old rag


Step #1: Be certain to completely turn off the water, if need be. Even a small dribble of flowing water will weaken the PVC cement we’ll use in Step #4. Wipe the pipe dry.

     With a pencil, mark three to four inches away from each side of the damaged area. (See Photo #1.) That'll give you some wiggle room to splice in the replacement pipe... especially if you're working inside a wall.

Photo #1

Step #2: Cut out the damaged section of pipe. I like to use a hacksaw or PVC pipe cutter, but in tight situations you may have to improvise. A rotary tool can be useful. Or, use a flexible wire saw available at most hardware stores. (See Photo #2.)

Photo #2

     Once you’ve removed the damaged section, sand and wipe off any burrs that remain. If the pipe is dirty, clean the ends with a bit of acetone dribbled on an old rag.

Step #3: Measure the distance between the broken pipe ends that you’ve just cut. Next, determine the thickness of the lip inside the couplers. (See Photo #3.)

Photo #3

     Cut the replacement pipe the length between the two pipe ends, minus the width of the lips.

     For example, if the distance between ends is 6-inches, cut the replacement pipe 5 3/4-inches to allow for each lip. (In this example, the coupler lip is 1/8-inch... two lips = 1/4-inch. Lip thickness will vary.)

Step #4: Cement (or glue) the two couplers to each end of the replacement pipe, following the directions on the PVC cement can. It should like the one in Photo #4. You’re now ready to attach the couplers to the ends of the broken pipe.

Photo #4

Step #5: Cement one coupler to the end of one of the broken pipes.

     Apply cement to the other broken pipe end and coupler. Then quickly, carefully pull the pipe towards you and insert the coupler.

TIP: If the pipe inside the wall isn't free to wiggle back & forth, you’ll need to cut the replacement pipe a smidge shorter... about enough to position each coupler about half way onto each end of the broken pipe. Insert one end of the replacement pipe onto one end of the broken pipe, then quickly slide the second coupler half way onto the other pipe.

     The repair is now complete. (Photo #5.)

Photo #5

NOTE: See How to Fix a Broken CPVC Pipe Inside a Wall for alternate repair tips.

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text and photos copyright 2000 - 2014 by Brooks Owen
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