How to patch and fix a leaking waste pipe temporarily and permanently

Leaking waste pipes can cause havoc in your home if left unattended. They can cause significant property damage and encourage mould to build in your home. That’s why, if you suspect one of your waste pipes is leaking, you should act as soon as possible to fix the leak or patch it to give you time to find a more permanent solution. 

In this guide, we’ll explain why waste pipes leak and how to locate a leak in your waste pipe. We’ll then take you through some options for patching a leaking pipe and eventually fixing your leaking waste pipe.

Table of contents

How to patch and fix a leaking waste pipe

What is a waste pipe?

Waste pipes carry the wastewater away from your showers, sinks, baths, washing machines and dishwashers. (Don’t confuse this with soil pipes which carry waste away from your toilets). Waste pipes have smaller diameters than soil pipes and usually come in white PVC or copper pipes in older houses.

How to locate a leak in your waste pipe

Usually, waste pipes feed directly from your sinks, baths and appliances through the wall to the outside drain, so if there is a leak, it’s easy to locate it. However, if your waste pipes run through the walls, under the floor or behind a bath surround like a leaking bath waste pipe, these are harder to access and find the leak origin. If this is the case, look for watermarks or damp areas.

If you suspect you have a leaking waste pipe, find the source as soon as possible, as water leaks can cause significant property damage and mould.

Why is my waste pipe leaking?

There could be various reasons why your waste pipe is leaking. For example, your joints could be loose. Someone could have put them on incorrectly or knocked them. Joints can also wear out over time, especially if they have a rubber gusset. Although PVC pipes are hardwearing and long-lasting, they can become brittle under pressure or freezing temperatures, which can cause them to crack. If you can’t see any holes in the pipes, check the joints, as this is the most likely place for a leak.

How to seal a leaking waste pipe

Luckily, wastewater pipes don’t contain pressurised water, so you can use temporary compression fixes without fear that the waste pipe will leak again. There are various ways to quickly repair a leak in a waste pipe that will stop the leak and give you some time to replace to pipe with a more permanent solution. Although these methods are robust and long-lasting, you should always look to replace a broken pipe and then repair it.

1. Rubber or silicone repair tape

Rubber and silicone tape fuses to itself, so it’s easy to take off and replace later. Firstly, clean and dry the area with the leak and apply the tape directly to the PVC. Wrap tightly around the pipe, overlapping the tape and extending beyond the leak. Rubber or silicone tape is a robust temporary solution to stopping a leak. For maximum pressure, stretch 3x its length. However, you might find it challenging to warp if the pipe is in a tight space. 
Ensure you have some rubber or silicone tape in your arsenal to patch emergency leaks.

2. Epoxy putty

If you need a quick fix for a leak in a joint, it’s better to use epoxy putty. First, clean and dry the leaking area. Then, mix and knead the two-part epoxy putty together to start the chemical reaction and apply it to the leak and around the whole joint with your fingers or a putty knife. The epoxy will bond with the PVC creating a firm seal. Allow the putty to harden for 25 minutes before testing the pipe for leaks. 
Discover our epoxy putty at Build & Plumb, and always have a temporary solution to fix an emergency leak.

3. Pipe repair clamps

Another way you can patch a leaking pipe is by using a pipe repair clamp. Our Professional Emergency Water Pipe Repair Clamp by Rothenberger snaps firmly around any pipework and requires no tools. You can reuse these pipe repair clamps again and stop damaged pipes from leaking for a lengthy time. 
Discover our pipe repair clamps at Build & Plumb for a quick leak fix.

How to fix a leaking bath or sink waste pipe

All our temporary fixes will successfully patch your pipe leaks until you can find a more permanent solution. The best way to fix a leaking bath or sink waste pipe is to replace the broken pipe. 

  1. First, switch off your mains water supply or local water supply that feeds the broken pipe. 
  2. Use a hacksaw or pipe cutter to cut an inch to the left and right of the hole in the pipe.
  3. Allow the water to flow out of the pipe, and dry and clean the area.
  4. Apply solvent joints and a replacement pipe. Alternatively, you could use push-fit connections to the new pipe joint. 

If the leak is coming from a faulty coupling joint, you may need to replace the rubber gasket. The rubber ring can crack if it’s old and the water-tight seal fails.

Get all the tools you need to fix your pipe

At Build & Plumb, we want to provide you with the knowledge, tools and expertise to complete DIY projects and fixes at home. Now you know how to fix a minor leaking waste pipe temporarily and permanently with our handy guide; you can get all the tools you need to complete the job from our plumbing tools and waste pipe collection.

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