You probably never thought of doing this but huh, did you know you could fix a broken pipe with electrical wire? You read right, electrical wire!
Step 1: ELECTRICAL WIRE?
Alright so, first of all, why would you use electrical wire versus the right fitting to repair a burst pipe? Let’s just say you’d use this trick in an emergency situation or as a last case scenario to give water back to the tenants in a building instead of leaving them with no water.
Step 2: THE TEMPORARY SOLUTION
So here’s your burst pipe. Normally, you’d cut the bad portion out, add 2 couplings and a piece of pipe and solder everything back together.
But seeing we don’t have the proper fittings, we need to find a way to block off the hole to be able to turn the water back on, until we are able to get the appropriate fittings to fix this the PROPER way.
Step 3: HOW
So the first thing you wanna do is shut-off the water at the main entrance of the building. Then, if you don’t know how to solder copper pipe, stop here. Go ahead and read my “how to solder copper pipe” article, it’ll show you how to correctly solder copper pipe and you’ll then be able to get your burst pipe fixed in no time. Once you're comfortable with the soldering process, grab your electrical wire and strip the plastic envelope to expose all the wires. You’ll only be needing the copper wire in this case.
What you wanna do is clean both the wire and the portion where the wire will be going with sandpaper to make sure there aren’t any contaminants before soldering.
Then, apply some flux on the pipe and go ahead and start winding the copper wire around the pipe. Make sure to overlap the wire about ¼” of an inch on both sides to make sure you cover the damaged portion correctly.
Once the hole is covered, join both ends of the wire and twist it just like this to make sure it doesn’t come undone while soldering.
You’re now ready to solder, add some flux on the wire and start heating everything up. You’ll wanna use a low flame for this or else you’ll just burn off the flux. To start off the repair, use 95/5 solder as this type of solder doesn’t contain any lead and it’s the portion that’ll be in contact with the water inside the pipe.
95/5 will serve as a foundation for the fix, but I recommend capping it off with some 50/50 solder to make sure it’s nice a solid.
So go ahead and make a second pass while everything is still hot and you’re done!
As you could see, this will fix the problem but you’ll need to come back and fix it with the right fittings
Step 4: INSPECTION
Wait till the solder is fully cooled down and wipe off any remaining flux and inspect your joint. If you’re hesitant, add some solder up until you are satisfied with the results.
Step 5: TURN THE WATER BACK ON
When you’re ready to turn the water back on, do it slowly to make sure there are no leaks and voila, you fixed a burst pipe.
This isn’t the correct way to fix the problem but it could get you outta trouble at 1-o-clock in the morning if you don’t have the parts and you need to reestablish the water in the building.