Here’s the Story:
Last Sunday I got a frantic text from my wife…
…water was leaking from the kitchen ceiling!!!!!!!
What would you do in this situation?
If you don’t have an immediate answer you’re in luck.
Today you’ll see how to fix a copper pipe in less than 20 minutes.
Seriously, EVERY homeowner should know this skill.
Let’s dive in head first…
Step 1: Check for Sponginess
How much does a plumber cost on Sunday?
You don’t want to find out…trust me.
So it’s good to know how to repair copper pipe leaks.
After today you’ll have the confidence to do this yourself.
Here are the supplies you need
- SharkBite Couplings
- SharkBite Depth Tool
- AutoCut Copper Pipe Cutter
- Ridgid No. 10 or 15 Tubing Cutter
- Milwaukee PEX Tubing Cutter
- Emery ClothDrywall SawPEX (optional)
- Copper Pipe (Type L)
- Sharpie Marker
- Utility Knife
You don’t need all these tools.
But they’re nice to know about.
What’s the first step when assessing a water leak?
Unless there’s water gushing from the ceiling, leave the water on.
That way you can identify the location of the leaking pipe.
I know this sounds NUTS, but it helps spot the leak.
Feel the ceiling or wall for sponginess.
Step 2: Saw a Small Hole or Rectangle in Your Drywall
Saw a small square or rectangle in your drywall ceiling.
Yah, this is scary but you have to do it — PLUS your drywall is ruined, so who cares, lol.
Step 3: Inspect for the Leaking Pipe
Do your best Magnum PI impression and inspect for the leaking pipe.
Mustache is NOT optional.
Step 4: Finding Your Leak...
Here’s what I found…
…a copper pipe pinhole leak, FUN TIMES
Step 5: Drain Water Lines
Once you locate the pipe leak, shut the water off to the house.
Drain the water lines, I did this at our laundry tub.
Please excuse it’s grime.
I wasn’t expecting to do this tutorial on a Sunday night!!
Whew, dealing with a water leak can be stressful.
What’s the easiest way to repair a pipe leak?
Step 6: Can You Fix a Copper Pipe Leak Without Soldering?
Fortunately I had some spare 1/2 inch SharkBite couplings in my tool box.
These slide onto copper, PVC, or PEX pipes.
AND anyone can use them.
Start the repair by cutting out the leaky piece of pipe.
This is surprisingly cathartic (in the video I show you my favorite tool for doing this)
Step 7: Drain Copper Pipes at Cut
It’s not a bad idea to hold a container under the pipe.
When you cut it, any extra water will drain – prior experience and harsh words from my wife have trained me to do this!
Step 8: Choosing New Copper Pipe
If you use copper choose Type L because it’s thicker than Type M and will last longer.
Step 9: Debur Copper Pipe
Debur your copper pipe with a pipe cutting tool or utility knife.
This is ULTRA important for SharkBites (or soldering if you choose to go that route).
Step 10: Smooth First 1 Inch
Then smooth down the first 1 inch of copper pipe with emery cloth.
Step 11: Mark Up Copper Pipe
SharkBite fittings are great because you simply push them onto pipes.
Seriously, I’m pretty sure my 11 year old daughter can use them.
You need to make sure they fit on the end of the pipe by 1 inch.
Use the SharkBite depth tool or a measuring tape to make your mark.
Step 12: Slide SharkBite Onto Pipe
Push the SharkBite onto the pipe and make sure it’s flush with the mark.
Step 13: Using PEX
Since we’ve had issues with copper I chose to use PEX as my replacement pipe.
Cut the end of the PEX square with a PEX tubing cutter, Milwaukee makes a good one.
(NOTE: PEX tube cutters make great cigar cutters, too)
Step 14: Ceiling Pipe Prep
In the ceiling, I cut the copper 2 inches shy of the T fitting.
I had to debur and emery cloth this pipe as well.
Then I made my 1 inch mark for the SharkBite fitting.
There was slack in my copper line, so I decided to use two 1/2″ SharkBite couplings.
If you don’t have slack in your copper line you can use a SharkBite Slip Fitting.
The Slip Fitting can slide on the pipe and allow you to attach your replacement pipe without trouble.
Step 15: Measure for New Pipe
Measure the distance between your two SharkBite couplings and add 2 inches onto your dimension.
I’m not good with measurements but this is easy.
Step 16: Putting Pipe Together
This is the dimension for your new piece of pipe.
Once it’s cut square, debured, and emery clothed you simply push it into the two SharkBite couplings.
Step 17: Watch the Video Tutorial
The video tutorial has a few extra tips…
…PLUS a cool SURPRISE at the end
Would you use SharkBites to fix your pipe leak?
Tell me down in the comments.
Thanks for reading, watching, and making Home Repair Tutor an inspiring place to learn DIY.
Without you I wouldn’t get up at 4:00 am to write about pipe leaks!
See you in the comments,