Friday, April 13, 2018

6 Easy Steps to Plumbing

How to Fix Leaky Plumbing

Fixing the pipes under the kitchen sink has been a source of great stress and discomfort for many people who are smart enough to realize the parts themselves are cheap, so why pay so much for repairs? Well, plumbing is tricky business. Water can seep through the tiniest of cracks, so knowing how to properly seal a leak or fix a broken joint under the sink is a highly sought after skill.

First the supplies. You’ll need

1. All Purpose Cement for PVC, CPVC and ABS
2. Plumber’s Putty caulking and sealing compound
3. Thread seal tape with PTFE

I The Cement

To begin, let’s familiarize ourselves with the supplies. First the cement; it’s a strong, noxious glue that demands good ventilation, which there isn’t much of under a kitchen sink. The cement is yellowish in color and a consistency slightly thicker than regular olive oil. It releases fumes that can make you dizzy and light headed, so remember to take frequent breaks when working with them is glue. The cap of the cement does not twist off, so don’t make the mistake I made and try to twist it, or you’ll end up pulling the skin off your fingers before the cap budges any. Use a flat hand screwdriver or other strong flat tool to pry open the cap from under its base. It won’t be easy, but I wasn’t able to find any easy way to open it. Someone suggested it requires a tight vacuum seal in order to remain in liquid form before it is sold, and I’m going to agree with her and add that it begins hardening almost instantly so have a game plan in place before committing to opening one of these little bottles. Beginners should consider buying a bunch of bottles, accounting for the error and improperly fastened seal-still-leaking factor, but then that’s why we have these instructions, to reduce waste, increase efficiency, and expand the knowledge-base for novices and experts alike.

The Putty

Next is the putty. This was a thick hard substance that mimics play-doh in texture and application, though somewhat rougher and gradually stickier over time. Right off the bat, you can try using a putty knife or spatula of some sort to manipulate the putty, but I’ve found getting your hands dirty and molding the putty with your hands, pressing it into place with your fingers, is the best way to ensure it conforms to the shape you press it into, rather than simply rolling off the knife against the surface. Speaking of which, you may want to consider scratching up the surfaces where the putty or cement will be placed with a steel brush using a back and forth motion to create micro-grooves in the piping to allow the substance to lock into place.
Finally there’s the tape. This seemingly innocent looking rather small, ineffective roll of tape is anything but that. First of all, it’s waterproof. Don’t ask me how or why, but that tiny strip of tape blocks water like a cement wall. Secondly, it must be handled with extreme care and precision so that it layers onto a coating of the cement in flat, straight, clean rows that double up to ensure the seal is locked permanently. Typically, the tape will be used to lock together the crack between two joints or wrapped around some glue over a crack or leak in the piping, although, the tape is mainly for joints, and the putty is mainly for cracks or holes.

The Tape

The secret in applying the tape is trust. You must trust that the thin narrow layer of ultra thin tape will actually hold together two joints and keep a seal. You have to place the tape over a coating of glue without overdoing it or caking on too much or warping the straight flat sides into uneven impossible to use wrinkles, which is all too easy to do given how soft and gently the tape is. So remember not to overdo too many layers of tape,?which would negate the sealing properties of a thin layer locked into place with the cement. The cement is not what keeps the water out or perhaps inside the piping. It’s really all in the tape. I dare say the tape is even more effective than the putty, which presents a more lasting impression, but sure enough you have to trust the tape.
As for the putty, to need a fresh serving of cement underneath it as well to hold and lock it into its new permanent home, hence the steel brush, which adds an additional abrasive dimension to the puzzle of how to get the putty to stick before it hardens. The putty and cement mixed together reduce the consistency of the putty to a stickier; thinner fragment of the putty that will be useful for creating water right seals.


1. Make sure the area needing attention is dry to the touch and will remain that way throughout the next 24 hours.
2. Rub a thin layer of cement liberally over the area where a seal is needed.
3. Quickly but carefully place a layer over the crack between the two joints or hole or crack. Be careful to keep the tape straight and clean.
4. Wrap a double or triple layer of the tape over the area so that it completely covers any openings and seals in any water exposed from the pipes.
5. Repeat over each joint or connection between two pipes or other water transporting apparatus.
1. Again, make sure the area to be repaired is dry to the touch and abrasive at the grain.
2. Use a steel brush to scratch the piping gently, forming micro-grooves.
3. Massage and form a golfball-sized amount of putty in your hands, shaping it into a flat thin patty that exceeds the opening by at least twice the size.
4. Place a thin layer of glue around the opening in question, ensuring it’s otherwise dry except for the cement.
5. Note: water or liquids will cause the cement to cake up, separate, or otherwise render it ineffective for the purposes of applying tape or putty to piping. Keep the glue dry and covered whenever possible.
6. Apply the putty over the cement surrounding the opening so that it forms a cover or bandage effect over the hole or issue being addressed.
7. You may choose to roll a layer or two of tape over the putty to lock it in place until it dries. This becomes a fine line of how much is too much or not enough. The general rule of thumb is any thickness greater than four layers of the tape is too much.
8. That’s it. Repeat the steps as necessary for each additional application and enjoy the huge savings on your plumbing bill next time you have a water leak or plumbing issue.