How to Fix a Leaking Copper Pipe - Pipe Restoration, Inc (2023)

No matter what, you’ll eventually have to deal with leaky pipes in your home. It’s a given, and to some, almost like a rite of passage. Copper pipes do provide some advantages to homeowners, but like any pipe, they will wear with age, encounter a small leak, and eventually falter. A leaking copper pipe can be cause for stress, but our guide can help you through the process of addressing and fixing them as painlessly as possible. Here’s a quick overview of copper pipes and a look at how to fix them when they’re leaking.

Problems With Copper Pipes

Despite the fact that copper water pipes are UV ray and bacteria-resistant, copper pipes are still susceptible to problems and are by no means invincible. Here are some key issues that may arise that require repair:

  • Corrosion & Pitting Leaks: Copper is a metal that will corrode under the wrong conditions. Generally, it occurs when copper oxidizes with other substances. The corrosion goes undetected until there is a leak.

  • Pinhole Leaks: Pinhole leaks are small holes in the pipe often a result of abrasion, erosion, or corrosion. These are slow leaks that can cause a lot of damage when left untreated for an extended period.

  • Deterioration of Water Quality: As the pipes corrode, the copper will slowly leach into the drinking water, resulting in a metallic or bitter taste. If you find high levels of copper in your water, repair it as soon as possible because it can make you sick and may present health issues if ignored.

Scaling: Scaling will build up in the pipes over time; this makes the pipe’s diameter smaller. Ultimately, it’ll affect water flow and make your plumbing system less efficient.

How to Fix A Leaking Copper Pipe

DIY pipe repair might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely possible. In situations where the damaged area is fairly small and only requires you to remove a short section of pipe, the repair can be done quickly.

In a pinch, you can use repair tape or epoxy putty for pinhole leaks. In many cases, you can even get everything you need to fix it at your local hardware store or on Amazon.

Keep in mind that this is just a temporary fix. More serious leaks or damages will usually require a plumber to assist you. If you want to take on the challenge of a DIY pipe repair, here’s an overview of the key steps.

  • Locate the leaking copper pipe.

  • Remove drywall.

  • Inspect the pipe thoroughly.

  • Shut off the water supply.

  • Drain the water lines.

  • Cut out the leaky piece of pipe.

  • Get a replacement section of pipe. (Type L is thicker than M.)

  • Debur the copper pipe.

  • Smooth down the first inch of the pipe with an emery cloth.

  • Measure 1 inch on your pipe to allow for your compression fitting such as a Sharkbite fitting.

  • Push the fitting onto the pipe to make sure it’s flush with the mark.

  • Cut your existing pipe to leave room for the Sharkbite fitting.

  • Measure the distance between the two couplings and add two inches to your dimension.

  • Cut, square, debur, and emery cloth the new pipe.

  • Push into the couplings.

That’s a lot of steps to repair a leaking copper pipe. It can leave a lot of room for mistakes as well.

If none of these steps sound like something you want to take on, then epoxy coating is the winning play here. While you can opt for a CPVC or PEX pipe solution, you’ll still have to install and ensure you’ve done it all correctly by yourself. ePIPE’s epoxy coating can save you the hassle of having to do any of these steps and most importantly, having to do any of these steps on your own.

What About Soldering?

If you’d rather solder, you can follow much of the same directions. When you solder, you need to keep the inside of the pipes dry, so you’ll want to stuff a cotton rag or cloth in the pipe at each end to catch any dribbles of water that may come up until just before you solder.

Open a faucet above that level of pipe (after the water is shut off, of course) to prevent pressure build-up.

To solder the pipe, you’ll need:

  • A tube cutter

  • Emery cloth

  • Flux and brush

  • Solder

  • Pipe fittings

  • A propane torch

Once you’ve gathered all the equipment and materials to solder the leaking copper pipe, follow these general steps below. Here’s what to do:

  1. Use a tubing cutter to cut the bad or leaky section of pipe.

  2. Clean the pipes and fittings with a steel brush and emery cloth.

  3. Apply a thin layer of tinning flux to both sides of the joint. It has a metal alloy similar to solder. It works better than regular flux because the alloy melts to coat the inside of the joint to ensure it is leakproof and completely filled.

  4. Assemble the pipes, then solder the joints. It’s important to do them all at the same time.

  5. Heat the joint with the propane torch just enough to melt the solder. If you don’t heat it enough, the solder won’t flow into it. But, if you heat it too much, you’ll burn the flux, causing it to smoke and turn black. This makes it harder for the solder to flow into the joint. Heat the joint for about five seconds, or until the flux starts to bubble.

  6. To test, start by touching the solder to the seam on the side that is opposite of the flame. When the copper reaches a temperature that’s high enough, the solder should easily melt. Remove the flame from the joint and feed the solder into the joint. It will flow into all the areas of a joint that has been properly cleaned and fluxed.

  7. Make sure the joint is completely filled by running the tip of the solder around the seam quickly. If it beads up and rolls off instead of flowing into the joint, you’ve either got copper that isn’t clean enough or you have burned the flux. If that’s the case, you’ll have to take everything apart and clean it well before trying again.

And the Best Option? ePIPE’s Epoxy Coating

If you want to avoid all of the above and you also don’t want to spend the time and money to completely repipe your house, consider using an epoxy solution. Here are a few benefits of epoxy pipe coating:

  • Stop Pinhole Leaks: The epoxy coating will close pinholes and will prevent future pinholes from developing and causing damage. It provides a legitimate and durable solution to these pesky pinholes and you can sleep soundly knowing they’re secure with epoxy coating.

  • Reduce Lead & Copper in Your Water: The coating also protects pipes from pitting and corrosion, reducing the lead and copper contaminants to below WHO and EPA standards.

  • Minimally Invasive: There’s no need to destroy walls, ceilings, and floors to access pipes for repair. In most cases, you can also stay inside your home and won’t have to be displaced.

  • Cost-effective: Because you don’t have to completely replace your entire home’s piping, reconstruct walls, floors, and ceilings, it is an affordable alternative.

  • Improve Water Flow: Before the lining is applied, pipes are cleaned to remove the buildup of corrosion and abrade the pipe wall to allow the epoxy to adhere to the original piping.

A leaking copper pipe isn’t for any novice. While it’s a relatively easy home repair, it might only be successful if you’re dealing with a very minor leak. Doing a quick, DIY repair to a leaky copper pipe is no match for an epoxy coating.

Don’t depend on a store-bought pipe repair kit as every home is different and presents its own set of challenges. Instead, depend on ePIPE and our team to solve any issues for you using epoxy.

Epoxy will provide a permanent repair solution and you can have the satisfaction of knowing it was done correctly and safely. If you’re not a fan of home improvement jobs or want to go beyond a quick fix for the water leak in your home, contact us today to learn more about our ePIPE solution and our financing solutions.


What is the best way to fix a leaking copper pipe? ›

Wrap & Seal Pipe Burst Tape is one of the most effective pipe repair tapes on the market. It stretches by 300% and is extremely easy to apply. You start by anchoring the Wrap & Seal next to the leak area before stretching the tape to its full length and wrapping it around the copper pipe until the leak is sealed.

How do you temporarily stop a copper pipe leak? ›

Probably the most common temporary method is to use a pipe repair clamp. All you need to do here is locate, measure, and mark the leak, stop and drain the water in the pipe, and pick a repair clamp that's of the appropriate size for the leak hole. Then, just open the clamp, secure it over the hole, and snap it closed.

Can Flex seal fix a leaky copper pipe? ›

Flex Tape provides quick, easy, and long-lasting repairs for leaky pipes. Since Flex Tape can be applied to PVC, acrylic, metal, steel, and copper, you can fix and prevent leaks for a wide variety of pipes and plumbing systems.

How do you permanently fix a leaky pipe? ›

Turn off the water supply to the leaking pipes and clean the area around the hole to be patched. Use a metal file to smooth any sharp edges that might cut through the patch. Apply the patch and repair clamp so it evenly overlaps the damaged section of pipe. Tighten the clamps to seal the leak.

How do you stop a leaking pipe with water in it? ›

For tiny leaks in pipes, use a compound stick available at most hardware stores. Simply rub the stick over the hole to stop the leak. The compound stick can even stop small leaks while the water is still running in the pipe. Epoxy paste can be applied only to dry pipes, and the water must be turned off.

How do you fix a pinhole leak in a copper pipe fast? ›

Because pinhole leaks are small, the easiest repair method is to fill them with epoxy putty. The best tool for the job is an epoxy putty stick, which combines the resin and the hardener in a pre-measured format. To use an epoxy putty stick, you tear off the amount of putty required and knead it by hand.

How do you fix a leaky pipe joint without removing it? ›

Fixing a Leaking Pipe With Pipe Wrap Tape

Self-fusing pipe tape forms a compression seal over a leak and can be effective for small leaks in a pipe or at a joint in the pipe. Stretch the tape around the pipe as you wrap the damaged area. Overlap the tape so it bonds to itself and creates a watertight seal.

Is there a tape to fix a leaky pipe? ›

Pipe leak tape is a quick and easy way to seal a leak and prevent further damage. Pipe leak tape, also known as plumber's tape or Teflon tape, is tape made of Teflon that is used to seal leaks in pipes. It is available at most hardware stores and home improvement centers.

Can duct tape fix a leaky pipe? ›

Duct tape and electrical tape can be used. Take care to cover the entire leak. Also, make sure the tape makes good contact with the pipe so no pockets form where water can gather. This might cause the tape to lose grip.

What is the best epoxy for copper pipe? ›

The most common use for Superfast Copper Epoxy is for the repair of copper pipes. It seals leaks in both domestic plumbing and industrial settings. Superfast Copper Epoxy Putty has WRAS approval, which means it is safe to use with drinking water.

What causes pinhole leaks in copper pipes? ›

The primary cause of pinhole leaks is the composition of the water flowing through your plumbing system. Hard water—high amounts of dissolved calcium and magnesium—or water that is too basic (low pH) or too acidic (high pH), can all contribute to copper pipe corrosion.

Is SharkBite reliable on copper? ›

SharkBites work better than plastic quick-connects on copper pipes because the lead-free brass body is rigid like the pipe and has a higher pressure tolerance. If you need to repair or replace copper plumbing in your home, a SharkBite fitting is an excellent choice.

How do you fix a leaking copper pipe with a SharkBite? ›

Installing SharkBite Slip Repair Couplings & Fittings
  1. Identify the pipe material. Slip repair fittings will only work with copper or CPVC.
  2. Cut and remove up to two inches of damaged pipe. ...
  3. Measure and mark the insertion depth. ...
  4. Make the connection. ...
  5. Adjust the slip fitting. ...
  6. Turn on your water and check the connection.

Can I fix copper pipe without soldering? ›

One way to fix a leak in copper pipe is with flair fittings. Another way is with compression fittings. The easiest fix is one that is relatively new to the market. The application of SharkBite fittings is a way to circumvent the soldering process.

Will plumbers putty stop a leak? ›

If you need to stop or prevent leaks around your faucet, sink or tub drains − plumber's putty is the product you need. Plumber's putty is a sealing staple for professionals, homeowners and DIY-ers alike.

Can a pipe leak stop by itself? ›

Call a plumber

Like most plumbing problems you'll encounter, water leaks don't fix themselves. A pipe leak won't magically go away. If you procrastinate, or leave it to “next weekend,” that water damage is only going to get worse.

What do most plumbers charge per hour? ›

Plumbers usually charge for their work by the hour, and the national average cost is about $100 per hour plus a service fee or minimum charge. Overall, hourly rates for plumbing can range from $25 to $200, depending on the experience level of the plumber and on the repair needed.

Will plumbers putty stop a leak on copper pipe? ›

Cracked sections of copper pipe are typically removed and replaced, or the crack is soldered shut. If you're in a pinch and need to quickly repair a leaking copper pipe, you can use epoxy putty as a temporary fix to stop a leak.

Does JB Weld work on copper? ›

J-B Weld will bond to virtually any clean, dry surface including: iron, steel, copper, aluminum, brass, bronze, pewter, porcelain, ceramic, marble, glass, concrete, fiberglass, wood, some plastics, and many more.

How do you use Flex tape on a leaking pipe? ›

Just cut, peel, stick, and seal!

And stick the adhesive side of your waterproof tape to a clean, dry surface. Hold the Flex Tape® to the surface with pressure. Use your fingers to remove any air pockets or air bubbles. It really is that easy.

What is the best tape to stop water pipe leaks? ›

There are two types of tape that are commonly used for pipe leaks – pipe thread tape and silicone tape. Pipe thread tape is sometimes called “thread seal tape,” “PTFE tape,” “Teflon tape,” or “plumbers tape.” It helps to create a watertight seal between plumbing joints.

Will PVC tape stop a water leak? ›

Yes. Flex tape is designed to form a water-tight seal around leaks using a combination of adhesive and pressure. Keep in mind that pipe tape solutions are typically considered to be temporary, and should be replaced with a more permanent solution as soon as possible.

Can you patch a leaking copper pipe? ›

1. Solder repair couplings. The most common and arguably most effective method for fixing your copper pipe is through a combination of soldering and repair couplings. It can repair burst pipes, as well as pinhole leaks, in an instant.

Will JB Weld fix a copper pipe leak? ›

At least two different brands on the market -- JB Weld and Harvey's Epoxy Putty -- work equally well for the purposes of stopping leaks. Both adhere best to dry surfaces and are effective for blocking small leaks in copper and galvanized steel pipe.

How do you fix a leaking copper pipe with a shark bite? ›

Installing SharkBite Slip Repair Couplings & Fittings
  1. Identify the pipe material. Slip repair fittings will only work with copper or CPVC.
  2. Cut and remove up to two inches of damaged pipe. ...
  3. Measure and mark the insertion depth. ...
  4. Make the connection. ...
  5. Adjust the slip fitting. ...
  6. Turn on your water and check the connection.

How do you fix a cracked copper pipe without replacing it? ›

Plumber's tape will often be the cheapest and can provide a temporary repair until a plumber can look at the issue. Plumber's tape is water-resistant, hence the name. To apply, you simply wrap it around the area of pipework requiring repair and it will help to seal the leak.

What is the best sealant for copper? ›

For sealing your copper, we offer two options: 2 Part Solvent Urethane Resin and Metal Lacquer . We recommend our 2 Part Solvent Urethane Resin for exterior applications and interior high use areas such as countertops and bartops. It is also recommended for smooth raw copper finishes.

How long does epoxy last on pipes? ›

To date, we've determined that most epoxy pipe lining projects will last between 30 and 50 years, or about the same amount of longevity you could expect from having all the pipes in your structure replaced with new ones, at a fraction of the cost, disruption and time.

How long will JB WaterWeld last? ›

I was able to seal the leak with Waterweld Epoxy. It held on for about 7 months before peeling off.

What is the best epoxy for water leaks? ›

J-B Weld WaterWeld is a specially-formulated epoxy putty that can be applied to a wet, leaking, or even underwater surface. Once kneaded, it can be easily molded. J-B Weld WaterWeld has a set time of 15 to 25 minutes, and will be fully cured, solid as steel, after just 60 minutes.

Does J-B Weld hold up to pressure? ›

J-B Weld™ has a tensile strength of 5020 PSI and sets to a hard bond overnight. It can withstand temperatures up to 550ºF when fully cured.


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