How to Fix a Leaking CPVC
Water Pipe in the Wall

OK, so I mess up from time to time. Here’s what happened...

A few months ago, I needed to drill a hole into our bathroom wall to install a new linen cabinet. And I drilled smack-dab into a 3/4-inch CPVC pipe hidden behind the drywall. Yikes!

As you can expect, a stream of cold water blew out, slapping me right in the face.

Later that day, after sopping up the water and soothing my bruised ego, I remembered a neat trick that a plumber friend once told me.

Tip: the obvious first step is to shut off the water at the source... fast!

Materials Needed:

1. CPVC Coupler (Connector)

2. Small Can of "One-Step" CPVC Cement

Both are available a most any hardware store that has a plumbing section.

Before proceeding to fix the broken  CPVC pipe, you'll need to carefully remove a section of drywall in order to access the pipe. The cut-out needs to be large enough to cut the pipe and to allow you to pull a section of the pipe out an inch or two. I’ll explain why in a second.

Using a rotary-type tool – you can also use a rat-tail file – grind out the "lip" or "edge" inside the coupler. Dry fit to see if you’ve removed all the lip. The coupler can now be slid freely up and down the pipe. 

Tip: be careful not to grind the inside of the coupler. Doing so will cause a poor fit and possible leaking. Grind out only the thin lip in the middle of the fitting.

Next, cut the pipe right where the damage occurred. A ratchet-style PVC pipe cutter works best. But if you cut the pipe with a hacksaw or a flexible wire saw, be sure to sand off the burrs inside and outside the ends of the pipe. Clean and wipe the pipe completely dry.

Then, using a permanent marker, mark the "top" pipe about half the length of the coupler to make sure you don’t move the coupler up too far when gluing.

Now, here’s where you have to work quickly.

Apply the CPVC cement to each end of the cut pipe and to the inside of the coupler. Pull the bottom section of the cut pipe towards you and quickly slide the coupler down the bottom half of the pipe, then slide it up to the mark you made on the top half of the pipe. Twist the coupler back and forth as you move it upward to evenly distribute the cement and ensure a snug fit. Hold it in place for about 10 seconds. Wipe off any excess cement.

And, presto! You’ve repaired the damage.

Note: with "one-step" CPVC cement you don’t have to first apply messy primer to the pipe and coupler. Be sure to follow the instructions on the can label.

You can repair a broken PVC pipe in the same manner using Gorilla PVC Glue.

How-to Photos

Coupler's Lip, or Stop

Set the Coupler in a Vice and Remove the Lip Inside

Note the Hole in the Pipe

Cut the Pipe Where the Damage Occurred

Mark the Pipe About Half the Length of the Coupler. See How the Coupler
Can Now Freely Slide Down the Pipe.

Apply "One-Step" CPVC Cement to the Inside of the Coupler and to Each
End of the Cut Pipe. Quickly Slide the Couple onto the Pipe then Up to the Mark.

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