How to Repair a Small Hole in a Copper Pipe


Copper pipes carry water through the plumbing system in your house to feed faucets, appliances and heating systems. Small holes drip water onto the surfaces below the pipe and can cause stains, mildew, mold or rot. Many times the first indication of a leak is a spreading water stain on a ceiling or wall, which requires immediate attention to prevent damage in the home. Repair methods vary from temporary to permanent fixes.

Emergency Patch - Break through the wall or ceiling to access the leaking water pipe. Find the hole in the pipe.

Sharpen a pencil to a fine point. Insert the tip of the point into the hole as far as possible. Pull the pencil quickly to the right or left to snap off the pencil point. Leave the pencil point in the hole.

Dry the pipe with a rag using care so as not to dislodge the pencil point. Wrap duct tape around the pipe and over the pencil point. Begin 2 to 3 inches to the left of the pencil point and end 2 to 3 inches past the pencil point.

Emergency Repair - Gain access to pipes concealed in walls or ceilings by cutting through the wall with a drywall knife or saw. Locate the small hole in the pipe.

Cut a 6-inch section of rubber hose lengthwise with a utility knife. Center the rubber hose over the hole. Place one hose clamp over the hose in the center and one clamp on each side, spaced 1 inch from the center clamp. Tighten the clamp with a screwdriver.

Temporary Repair - Open the wall or ceiling to access the leaky pipe. Locate the hole in the pipe.

Fit a rubber-lined metal pipe sleeve over the pipe. Center the pipe sleeve over the hole. Tighten bolts, nuts or screws with an adjustable wrench or screwdriver.

Gain access to the leaky pipe. Locate the hole in the pipe. Turn off the main water supply valve. Open faucets in the house to drain the water lines. Rub a rag over the pipe to dry the pipe.

Rub the section of pipe that has a hole with an emery cloth until the pipe is a shiny copper color.

Coat the hole with an acid-based, lead-free soldering flux. Light a propane torch and wave it back and forth over the hole until the pipe is hot enough to melt the silver solder. Touch the silver solder to the hole and move the solder over the hole to form a permanent patch. If the solder does not melt immediately, continue to heat the pipe with the propane torch until the solder melts upon touching the pipe. Let the pipe cool to room temperature before restoring the water supply.


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