How to Repair PVC Leaks

How to Repair PVC Leaks

Feb 14th 2024

PVC pipes and joint fittings are known for their durable properties that make them a sustainable choice for plumbing and irrigation in homes. The lightweight and smooth surface of PVC pipes allows water to flow more effectively. The best part is that these pipes are stress-resistant, which makes them a cost-effective alternative to pricey metal pipes.

While PVC is incredibly durable, many homeowners experience pipe and joint leaks or bursts with aging pipes or due to weather conditions like freeze. This can result in water wastage, flooding, and improper drainage. The beauty of these pipes is that they are DIY-friendly and don't require any specialized skills or tools to fix.

We have you covered if you're dealing with PVC leaks in your home. This guide outlines the causes of PVC leaks and shares the best ways to repair PVC leaks in your home.

Common Causes of PVC Leaks

Age and Wear

PVC pipes and fittings can degrade with time due to rapid weather changes, UV exposure, and regular wear and tear. This might weaken the walls, leading to cracks and holes under constant water pressure.

Wrong Adhesive Glue

Choosing the wrong PVC cement or applying adhesive glue the wrong way is one of the common causes of damaged or leaking PVC pipes. Buy the correct PVC adhesive glue. Before choosing the one, please read the instructions to confirm that it is designed for PVC.

Improper Installation

If the PVC fitting is not installed correctly onto the pipe, a leak can occur. This happens due to loose-fittings. PVC joints are connected using PVC glue. The joints will leak if you haven't used the right amount of glue or force joining the pipes.

Exposure to Harsh Weather

PVC is durable and resistant to freezing, but it is a plastic polymer, so it can become brittle and damaged under freezing winter weather. If you live in a location that experiences very low temperatures, you must insulate your PVC pipes to prevent freezing. In addition, damage to pipes can also occur from ground movements and expansion/contraction of the soil.

Signs of PVC Leaks

Now that you know the common causes of leaks, let's discover how to identify a leak in your PVC pipe and joints.

Decrease in Water Pressure

A sudden decrease in water pressure can be a sign of PVC leaks.

Mold Growth and Rotten Smell

If you smell foul or moldy odors, it can result from a leaking pipe causing mold growth. Check around visible PVC pipes to locate an unusual mold development.

Water Stains or Visible Moisture

If you see water stains on walls or floors and notice moisture outside the pipe, it could be caused by a hidden leak in that area.

How do you fix Leaky PVC pipe, fittings, and joints?

From fiberglass resin tape and epoxy to rubber repair tape, here are some easy and best ways to fix a leaking PVC pipe or joints. Depending on the cause and extent of the leak, you can use a different solution.

Use Fiberglass Resin Tape and Cloth

Fiberglass resin tape is a quick and effective option for temporary repairs and minimizing damage. This method is best for small leaks as it slows them using water-activated resin that hardens around the pipe. If done correctly, this leaking solution will last several months or even years.

Here are the steps to repair the PVC leak using fiberglass resin tape.

  • Turn off the water supply, clean, and drain the pipe thoroughly to ensure it is empty and debris-free.
  • Next, clean the leaking or damaged area of the pipe and lightly sand the surface with high-grit sandpaper to create an extra adhesive surface.
  • Damp the resin cloth, dry it, and wrap it around the leaking area.
  • Cut off the fiberglass resin tape to cover the length of the pipe. Seal the cloth with tape and let it dry for 15-30 minutes before resuming water flow through the pipe.

Use Epoxy Putty

Epoxy putty is used to repair leaking or cracking PVC pipe, fitting, and joints by creating a new surface. PVC epoxy comes in two parts. When you mix both parts, the epoxy is formed like a putty, which seals to PVC and fixes the leak.

Here are the steps to repair your PVC pipe or joint using epoxy putty.

  • Clean the pipe and dry the leaking area, making sure the water cannot reach the damaged area.
  • Mix the epoxy parts according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Apply the epoxy over the affected pipe or joint.
  • Let it cure for around 20 minutes or as per the manufacturer's directions.
  • After curing, test the pipe to check for any leaks.

Use Rubber and Silicone Repair Tape

Rubber and silicone repair tape is an easy solution if you are dealing with a small leak. This thick, heavy-duty, gummy, self-sticking, and stretchy tape uses rubber to seal the leaks. Like fiberglass resin tape, silicone repair tape comes in a roll to wrap directly on PVC pipe. It's important to note that these tapes work well to repair pipe leaks but not for joints.

Here are the steps to repair the leak using rubber and silicone repair tape.

  • Clean the PVC pipe thoroughly with a cloth or cotton rag and dry the area.
  • Cut the repair tape and wrap it around the damaged area. Hold the tape firmly and make multiple layers to create a secure seal.
  • Rubber and silicone repair tape gets stronger over time. Let the tape cure according to directions.
  • Test the repair by running water through the pipe and check the area for leaks.

Replace the Pipe and Fittings

If your PVC pipe is too damaged for a simple fix, you might need to replace it with a new piece of pipe. Replacing the damaged section of the pipe is a permanent solution. Thankfully, PVC pipe is affordable and readily available at stores. First, make sure the water supply is turned off before starting the process.

Here are the steps to replace the damaged PVC pipe.

  • Cut the pipe from both ends of the damaged area using a hacksaw or ratchet cutter.
  • Drain excess water from the pipe and dry it.
  • Once the damaged part of the pipe is cut away, measure the length, and cut a new piece of pipe to the same length.
  • Dry fit the new pipe in the hole to ensure the pipe fitting is secured around the existing PVC.
  • Next, apply PVC primer solvent to the inside of the PVC pipe fittings you plan to use and outside of the existing pipe.
  • Apply PVC glue to the existing PVC pipe and around the inner side of the replacement fitting.
  • Now, insert the existing pipe into the fittings and twist it to secure the pipe with glue.
  • Hold it firmly for 15 seconds for a strong seal. Repeat the same procedure for the other end.

Can PVC Leaks be repaired with Glue?

Yes, minor damage or leaks can be fixed using glue. Although it is a temporary fix that won't last as long as something like epoxy, this can be a suitable option. However, it is best to use PVC epoxy, PVC Lock Slide Repair Couplers, PVC flex coupling or slip coupling for a permanent fix.

How to Remove PVC Pipe Fitting after it is Glued?

PVC fittings are either connected with PVC glue or threads. The PVC pipe is glued into the fitting to form a permanent seal. PVC pipe fitting that is bonded with glue can be challenging to remove, but it isn't impossible. The glue used for PVC fittings is unique because it forms a chemical connection with pipes. PVC fittings glue is a solvent that melts and connects the pipes. When PVC glue is applied to the pipe, it softens the top layer of PVC and starts to dissolve.

Here are different methods to remove PVC pipes and fittings connected with glue.

Cut the Pipe

The first method is to cut the PVC pipe using a pipe cutter or hacksaw to separate the pipe and remove the glue. PVC pipe is soft and straightforward to cut. Experts usually cut away PVC pipe rather than separating it. Make sure to cut the pipe straight a few inches on each side to leave enough space for the new PVC fitting. Use sandpaper to clean the pipe on both sides.

Heat the Joint

Apply heat to the glued joint using a heat gun. The heat will soften the glue enough to separate the pipe from the fitting. When the pipe heats up, twist the pipe away from the fitting. Go slow to prevent the burning or melting of surfaces. Remember, this process takes time, so be patient.

Twist the Pipe

Twisting the PVC pipe and PVC fitting in opposite directions will provide torque to separate the pieces. This will help break the glued bond.

If you successfully separate the pipe and fitting, use sandpaper to remove the glue from the pipe.


The Bottom Line

Fixing PVC leaks is easy if you know the damage, have the right tools, and know the right technique to repair it. Regular inspection of your irrigation or plumbing system and early identification of leaks will ensure the effectiveness of your PVC pipes. Following this guide, you can repair PVC leaks yourself and save money.

Choose the method that suits you and save yourself from the frustration of water leaks and unnecessary costs!