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Fix Leaking Pipe The First Time
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Fixing leaks is the name of the game for all plumbers and do-it-yourselfers. And while many plumbers have this down to a routine, some times we over look the obvious. I recently had a situation where the obvious cause of the problem was….. Well not so obvious. It ended up costing me a lot of time, and as a plumber in the field, time is money. Here are a couple of things to look for, so you can fix leaking pipe the first time.

The obvious plumbing repair that fooled me recently, involved a urinal in an old commercial building. The fixture was leaking from the wax seal at the wall. The problem seemed pretty simple, and I knew just what to do. Attempted to reset the urinal with a new wax ring and hooked everything back up. Tested for function and leaks, and found it still leaking from the drain outlet. Water was still leaking down the wall; I thought the new wax ring was not making a proper seal.

Assuming that the new wax ring was not making a proper seal, I went thru the steps to change out the wax ring again….and again…and again. I made a rookie mistake of not recognizing that something else could be causing this reoccurring leak. I got so consumed by the problem, that the real issue was over looked. Eventually it became apparent that the drain pipe in the wall (connecting to the outlet of the urinal) was the cause of this leak. Put a wrench on the pipe and it snapped right off. Wows…imagine that, the pipe was corroded and leaking in the wall.

The point I am trying to impress upon you is that sometimes our problem is a little below the surface and requires us to take a step back and think. This advice probably applies to many things in life, but for now we will stick to plumbing. This same situation leak scenario can be scene with floor mounted toilets. For instance you keep trying to reset a toilet, and can not get it to stop leaking. In the end you find the toilet flange is broken and has to be fixed. All of this can be avoided if we take a few minutes and really assess what the problem is.

This same idea can be applied to water pipe repairs. For instance, it is common to have leaks on older galvanized water lines buried in the ground. Sometimes we are in a hurry and repair what we think is the leak, only to find other leaks once the water is turned back on. This problem is not always avoidable, but sometimes we can make a better diagnosis and make a better repair the first time.

This information is presented in the hope to make your plumbing repairs go smoother. Work gets crazy sometimes; schedules, customers and bosses can really jumble our minds. It is important to stay focused on the task at hand and assess the root of the plumbing problem. Try not to just fix the immediate leak, but look a little deeper for the real cause. Good luck.


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