How to repair leaking pipe joints

Check your soldered joints, compression joints, or push fit connections to repair or replace a leak.

Step 1: Solder fittings

  • To replace soldered joints, cut the pipe and replace a short section with a new integral solder fitting at each end.
  • Drain down the water pipe and use a pipe cutter to cut out a small section so that you can fit a new short length and two fittings. Make sure that the pipe is dry before starting work.
  • Apply a little flux around the pipe ends and assemble the new section using integral solder fittings. Rotate the pipe and fittings to ensure that the flux has properly coated both surfaces.
  • Heat the joints evenly all round each fitting until the solder just begins to show as a ring around both ends of the fitting, then remove the heat.
  • Allow the fitting to cool and clean the outer surface to remove all residue. Your pipe would be like new and should not leak anymore.

Step 2: Compression fittings

  • Compression joints rely on the olive being compressed between the fitting and the pipe to form the seal.
  • A seal can be achieved by pinching up the joint. Holding the body of the joint with a pipe wrench to prevent it moving, use a spanner or second wrench to tighten the offending connection a little. If a small amount of tightening doesn’t resolve it, don’t continue, you will need to refit the joint.
  • To refit the joint or fit a new one, carefully undo the fitting on the side that is leaking using a wrench to hold the centre section and prevent it from turning while you undo the end nut. Slide the nut back along the pipe work and open up the joint. If the olive is in good condition, it may be possible to wrap a few turns of PTFE tape around it allowing it to be reassembled and sealed.
  • Otherwise, the olive will need to be replaced. Grip it with a wrench and work it back off the end of the pipe. Remove the olive and clean the pipe before fitting a new one. Reassemble the joint making sure that the pipe end fits fully up to the internal stop inside the fitting. Slip the nut back down to the threaded part of the fitting and hand tighten. Hold the body of the connection with a wrench to stop it turning and use a spanner or second wrench to tighten the nut. Open the water supply and it should be working now.

Step 3: Push fit fittings

  • Dismantle the joint and check the pipe end for damage. On plastic pipe there will be a metal pipe insert which should sit cleanly and squarely inside the pipe end.
  • If the pipe end is not square this may be the problem. Check both the securing ring and O ring seal for any signs of damage. Do not put your fingers into the fitting – they can be extremely sharp.
  • If there is damage, use a new fitting making sure to keep it clean in the process.

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