Most plumbing problems occur at or near such fixtures as sinks, tubs, and toilets. Sometimes, however, the pipes themselves are the root of the problem. Pipes can be temperamental -- they can leak, sweat, freeze, or make loud noises. In the following article, we'll tell you how to deal with all of these difficulties. We'll begin in this section by addressing leaking, sweating, and frozen pipes.

Leaks in Pipes

There are all kinds of plumbing leaks. Some can flood your home, while others are not nearly so damaging. Your approach to stopping a leak depends on the type of leak it is. If the leak is at a joint, tighten the joint. If the leak is in a pipe, remove the section that is leaking and replace it with a new section. Unfortunately, this is more easily said than done. For example, when you turn a threaded galvanized steel pipe to unscrew it from its fitting at one end, you tighten the pipe into its fitting at the other end. With copper pipe, the new section must be sweat-soldered in place. Most pipe replacement jobs are best left to a plumber, but, as a do-it-yourselfer, you may consider an alternative: the pipe patch.

You'll find patch kits for plumbing leaks at the hardware store, or you can make your own with a piece of heavy rubber from an old inner tube and a C-clamp. Another possibility is to use a hose clamp with a rubber patch. Factory-made kits contain a rubber pad that goes over the hole in the pipe and metal plates that compress the rubber pad over the hole. A quick and easy way to stop a leak, the patch kit can even be used on a permanent basis if the pipe is otherwise sound.