How to Repair a Leaking Drain

Written by duane craig
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Many drain leaks occur where the drain body (the part of the drain directly attached to the fixture) connects to the P-trap, or between lateral pipes that connect to the trap. Sometimes the P-trap itself will develop a leak. These leaks may develop after a drain trap has been cleaned. Other times they may occur because the drain pipes have been bumped or disturbed. It's not that difficult to repair these leaks.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Pipe joint compound

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  1. 1

    Turn on the water and observe where the water is leaking.

  2. 2

    Turn off the water it it's flowing or dripping out from beneath a large plastic or metal nut.

  3. 3

    Loosen the nut and check for cracks in its pipe. If there are no cracks there, check the threaded section of the pipe the nut was threaded to.

  4. 4

    Replace the section of cracked pipe if cracks are found in any location in Step 3. If the nut is cracked, remove the section of pipe holding the nut, slide the nut off the tail of the pipe, and replace it with a new nut.

  5. 5

    Move the two pipes so they are squarely together if no cracks are found and tighten the nut until it can no longer be turned by hand. If the nut is metal and it is threading on to metal threads, coat the threads with pipe joint compound before threading the nut on to them.

  6. 6

    Run the water to confirm the leak has been stopped.

Tips and warnings

  • Always recheck all nuts for tightness after working on drains.
  • If necessary to get pipes aligned, loosen the nuts of the P-trap slightly so the pipes move more freely. Then retighten once the connection is made.
  • Place a bucket or shallow pan beneath the P-trap to catch overflowing water.

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