How to Fix a Hole in Copper Pipe

Written by sal marco
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How to Fix a Hole in Copper Pipe
Save money by fixing leaky copper pipes yourself. (Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Copper pipe is a rigid material that comes in straight sections. Plumbers install copper pipe to carry water to faucets and other water outlets. Copper pipes develop holes from corrosion and accidental damage. Repairing holes in copper pipes is necessary to keep water from leaking onto floors or inside walls. There are two types of repair methods for fixing copper pipe, one is temporary and the other is permanent. Permanent repairs are more challenging than temporary repairs.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pipe sleeve
  • Screwdriver
  • Vice grips
  • Bucket
  • Pipe cutter
  • Pipe reamer
  • Emery cloth
  • Rag
  • Non-corrosive flux
  • Lead-free, solid-core solder

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    Temporary Pipe Repair -- Pipe Sleeve

  1. 1

    Measure the outer diameter of the copper pipe with a tape measure.

  2. 2

    Place a pipe sleeve around the pipe, positioned over the hole. A pipe sleeve is a galvanised steel clamp that fits over a small hole. Manufacturers design and make pipe sleeves specifically to stop leaks.

  3. 3

    Place the screws through the holes on the pipe sleeve. Turn the nuts onto the screw threads and tighten the screws with a screwdriver while you hold the nuts in place with vice grips.

    Temporary Pipe Repair -- Hose and Clamp

  1. 1

    Measure the outer diameter of the pipe.

  2. 2

    Cut a piece of radiator hose with a utility knife to fit over the hole, plus 2 inches past the hole in both directions.

  3. 3

    Cut the radiator hose lengthwise with a utility knife.

  4. 4

    Fit the intact side of the radiator hose over the hole in the pipe with the cut side on the opposite side of the pipe.

  5. 5

    Place a hose clamp over the hose and tighten the screw with a screwdriver to hold the hose securely in place.

    Permanent Pipe Repair

  1. 1

    Turn the water supply off and open the faucet to drain the pipe. Place a bucket under the damaged pipe to catch any remaining water in the pipe.

  2. 2

    Cut out the damaged section of pipe 6 inches in each direction away from the hole with a pipe cutter. Cut a piece of replacement copper pipe to the same size as the piece you just cut with a pipe cutter.

  3. 3

    Remove the burrs from the ends of the existing copper pipe and the ends of the new piece with a pipe reamer. Rub the outside edges of the existing pipe and new pipe with an emery cloth until the copper looks bright and shiny. Rub the inside edges of the copper pipe connector with an emery cloth until they are shiny and bright.

  4. 4

    Dry the insides of the existing pipe with a rag. Apply a thin coat of noncorrosive flux to the outside ends of the existing pipe, new pipe and inside edges of the fittings.

  5. 5

    Position the fittings over the ends of the existing pipe and insert the new piece of pipe. Heat the end of the fitting with a propane torch; keep the torch constantly moving to avoid damaging the pipe or fittings. Touch the hot copper with the lead-free, solid-core solder and allow the solder to run a bead around the edge of the fitting. Repeat for the second pipe fitting.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear heat-resistant gloves when soldering pipes.
  • Place a heat shield between a pipe and wall to prevent a fire.
  • Use radiator hose from an auto supply store as a temporary fix.
  • Bring the old cut section of pipe with you to the store to properly size new pipe and fittings.
  • Do not leave temporary fixes in place for more than two to three weeks; they will not hold and allow water to leak.

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