I’ve seen many improper attempts at plumbing repairs while inspecting houses. In fact, many of the houses I inspect have at least one piping joint that has been “repaired” with what I would refer to as only a temporary bandaid fix.
Putty, Teflon tape, caulk, and spray foam are all popular options for people who attempt to stop a leak – especially in drain piping. This seems logical since these products are all either designed to aid in water sealing or are water resistant. Needless to say, though, while they may slow or stop a leak for a while, they are not likely to hold up long-term and are not a proper repair.
Instead of temporary half measures, you are far better off repairing the leak properly and more permanently. Of course, this does mean a little more work, time and expense, but you will be very glad you fixed the leak the right way since you won’t have to worry about the leak creeping up again at some point (and likely a while before you realize it’s resurfaced).
In most cases, the proper and best way to repair a leak is to replace the leaking section of piping. Often times, a joint simply needs tightened, in which case replacement is unnecessary and the repair is simple; but if that’s not the case, replacement is usually the best method. Fortunately, a wide array of pipe fittings and connections are available (and at an affordable price) to make replacement less difficult and costly than it sounds. Even joining different types of piping together is usually a simple process thanks to products like Fernco “no-hub” fittings that boast a very simple yet effective design.
While waste pipe fixes are normally pretty simple, it is still best to call in a qualified and reputable plumber if you aren’t experienced enough or completely comfortable performing the repair on your own. Just be sure that you repair leaks the right way no matter how tempting a simple but less effective solution may be.
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