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How to Repair Holes in Iron Pipes

Thanks to new city codes, City of Toronto licensed plumbers have installed PEX piping in most modern homes. However, some of the older homes still use iron punctures that are vulnerable to punctures that occur due to poor tightening, or due to being struck for by careless workers.

Iron pipes are usually used as drainpipes for sinks and toilets and since they are installed underneath concrete slabs or underground, they should ideally be repaired by a master plumber. You may not know that there is a leak until you notice a damp spot on the walls or floors, or when a nasty odor alerts you.

However, if you’re a homeowner with basic DIY skills, you can still repair iron pipes running below a subfloor. The materials and tools are easily obtainable from a local hardware or plumbing supplier, or a home center.

Tools Needed to Fix Leaky Iron Pipes

The tools you’ll need will depend on where the leak has occurred. It may include:

  • work gloves
  • safety glasses
  • dust mask
  • light or flashlight
  • putty knife
  • wire brush
  • cast-iron patching compound
  • a rubber-lined sleeve clamp kit with a bolt and nut
  • a nut driver
  • pliers

When purchasing the rubber-lined sleeve clamp, consider the size of your pipe. The nut and bolt should be appropriate to the clamp.

Fixing Leaks in Iron Pipes

The first step, when fixing leaky pipes, is to put your safety first. You should wear work gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask.

1. Leak detection

leak-detection
You need to find the leak before you can repair it. Look out for moist or wet spots on the soil. However, the water may have run along the pipe for some distance before it dropped to the floor. You should follow the entire run of pipe to look for a hole, leak, bubbling or a crack in the pipe. Sometimes, leaks are caused by roots in pipes.

2. Clear the area

clear-the-area
The pipe should be clean for you to be able to work on it. You can remove any rust and metal debris from the outside of the pipe and the surrounding area. You can then use a wire brush to smooth the pipe surface.

3. Fill the hole

fill-the-hole
Use a steel putty knife to fill the hole in the pipe with a specialized cast-iron patching compound. Do not apply the compound along the pipe, but rather around the pipe and only use just enough of the compound to seal the hole.

4. Install the sleeve clamp

clamp
You will have to loosen the nut from the bolt, on a rubber-lined sleeve clamp, using a nut driver. Spreading the clamp apart, fit it onto the pipe in order to cover the hole you just patched. Use pliers to squeeze the clamp’s tabs together. Use the nut and bolt to secure the sleeve.

Once you have fixed the hole, install a pipe strap on both sides of the patched area. Use a cordless drill with a screw-tip attachment to secure the ends of the straps to the floor joists.

If, at any time during this process, you encounter problems, or if you can’t find the leak, be sure to call us right away. Anta Plumbing uses specialized leak detection equipment to find leaks, as well as video sewer inspection, which can help them detect any leaks and blockages from inside the pipes.

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