How to Repair a Leaky Copper Pipe

What You'll Need
Replacement piping
Compression fittings
Copper pipe cutter or hacksaw
Adjustable wrenches
A-frame ladder
Tape measure

Though the location of a leaky copper pipe might be obvious, actually fixing it may not seem so easy. However, by following a few guidelines, you will find it is a task that you can undertake yourself without the use of a soldering iron.

Step 1 – Assess Repair

It is important to closely inspect the leak in the copper pipe in order to figure out what tools will be required to fix it. Depending on the location of the pipe, use an A-frame ladder to reach the pipe and a flashlight, if necessary. Take note of the position of the leak and measure the area that comprises the leak as well as the circumference of the pipe, which will be needed to ensure that you get the correct fittings and replacement pipe.    

Step 2 – Preparation

Prepare by gathering together all of the tools required to do the job; this will ensure that you can complete the job and do not have to leave it partially completed for any reason. Make sure that you turn off the water supply at the mains before you begin any work. Use a pipe cutter to cut the pipe at an appropriate point to be able to drain into a bucket any water that remains in it. Be sure to get the correct size compression fittings and replacement pipe; these should be available from most hardware stores.  

Step 3 – Remove Damaged Pipe

Before cutting away the damaged section of the copper pipe, hold the compression fitting up against the pipe so that you can ensure that you do not cut too much away; there should be enough pipe remaining to secure the compression fitting. If you have a pipe cutter, the job of cutting the pipe will be made easier but a hacksaw can still be used if one is not available. Carefully cut away the leaky section of the pipe. If using a hacksaw, hold the pipe while working the saw slowly to ensure that you cut in a straight line.  

Step 4 – Clean Pipe Ends

Using a piece of sandpaper, clean the ends of the pipe to prepare the surface for the compression fitting and ensure that no jagged edges remain.  

Step 5 – Replace

After measuring the space between the 2 ends of the cut pipe, use the pipe cutter or hacksaw to cut a corresponding section of the pipe to replace it. Put this in place before installing the compression fittings. Ensure that you fit all the components in accordance with the instructions and use a wrench to fully tighten the nuts.

Step 6 – Test       

Once you have tightened the nuts to the full extent, turn the water back on to test the repair site. Closely watch for any leaks and tighten the nuts again if you see any traces of water.