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How to Fix a Leaky Pipe in a Crawl Space: 6 Steps to Take

July 25, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking how to fix a leaky pipe in a crawl space? This is a vital skill to learn, as any water leak often risks severe, costly damage. In a crawl space, leaks can also create a very inhospitable space that’s difficult to access. That leak probably also means a higher water bill!

How to fix a leaky pipe in a crawl space:

  1. Shut off the water supply
  2. Drain the pipe
  3. Clean the area
  4. Apply the patching compound
  5. Replace severely damaged pipes
  6. Check for new leaks

This is just a quick step-by-step guide of how to address a leaking pipe in your home’s crawl space. Some added information ensures a quality fix that lasts! Also, knowing some extra information can alert you to when it’s time to call a plumber for expert leak detection. Their expertise ensures quality work is guaranteed to last!


how to fix a leaky pipe in a crawl space

How to Fix a Leaky Pipe in Crawl Space, Step by Step

Before starting any work in a crawl space, ensure you have proper ventilation and wear appropriate safety gear. This includes a mask and gloves and quality work shoes. These are vital to protect against hazards like mold and mildew. If you're not comfortable working in a crawl space or if the job seems too complex, it's best to call a professional!

Shut Off the Water Supply

Before you begin any repair work, turn off the water supply to the affected pipe. This will prevent any further water leakage during the repair process. Also, this helps the area dry out so you can apply patching compound as needed.

Identify the Leak

First, locate the source of the water leak. Use a flashlight to inspect the pipes carefully and remember that water doesn’t always drip down directly under a leak. Instead, it will run to the lowest point where it then drips down under the pipe. In turn, look for pooling water and other signs of moisture as well as visible cracks or holes in the pipes.

Drain the Pipe

Next, drain any remaining water in the pipe. Place a bucket or container below the leak to catch any drips. You can also use a wrench to open connectors around the damaged pipe, allowing for more water drainage.

Clean the Area

Use rags or towels to clean the area around the leak thoroughly. Removing dirt, debris, and ensures a better bond when applying the repair material. This also helps you to spot other leaks, to guarantee a complete fix! Lastly, you’ll want to determine if you can repair the leak or if it’s so severe that the pipe needs replacing.

Prepare the Pipe for Repair

If you can salvage the pipe, clean around the leak with emery cloth or sandpaper. This ensures proper adhesion of the repair material. After sanding, use your rags or towels to clean the pipe again and remove any grit.

You can use store-bought repair kits for most leak patching jobs. Joint compound also works well to patch leaks! Note any directions on the repair materials package, such as needed premixing.

Apply the Repair Material

Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to apply the repair material properly. Make sure to cover the leak and surrounding area thoroughly. Wipe away any excess patching material thoroughly.

Allow Time for Drying or Curing

After using a repair compound, allow it to dry or cure completely and as per the manufacturer's instructions. This often requires several hours if not overnight. During this time, make sure the area remains dry and undisturbed. Avoid turning the water back on so that it doesn’t leak around that material!

Cut Out the Leaky Section

If you cannot repair the pipe using joint compound or a patch, you may need to replace it. Often you can simply unscrew the two nearest connectors around that pipe. Take it to a local hardware or home improvement store and buy a size that matches.

If the existing pipe was cut to fit, it’s best to call a plumber or other repair contractor. They can cut a new pipe to fit and solder or otherwise connect it as needed. This ensures a strong, stable repair that’s sure to last. A pro will also have the tools needed to perform the job quickly and safely!


crawl space flooding froma leak - plumbing leaks

Check for Leaks

Once you’ve completed the repair and allowed the material to dry, turn the water back on. Check carefully for new leaks. Inspect both the repaired area and surrounding pipes for drips, pooling water, and other signs of moisture.

If you do spot new leaks, repeat this process in those areas. Also, if the leaks are inaccessible, call a plumber or professional repair contractor. A pro can cut through and then repair wood framing and other materials when needed.

Consider Insulation for Crawl Spaces

Insulating pipes in a crawl space can prevent future pipe issues and protect against temperature fluctuations. This reduces the risk of freezing pipes in colder climates. Freezing pipes risk cracking and more leaks! In turn, insulation reduces that risk and keeps pipes in good condition.

Can I Fix a Leaky Pipe Myself?

There is no “one size fits all” answer about how to fix a leaky pipe in a crawl space yourself and if it's a DIY job. To determine if patching is a simple project, consider a few factors:

  • Working with water and plumbing is hazardous, especially if you're dealing with electrical appliances. If you’re unsure of how to guarantee your safety, call a plumber or other professional contractor.
  • Consider the leak’s severity. Joint compound or repair kits are sufficient for minor leaks. However, substantial cracks require pipe replacement. In turn, if you're unsure about the repair’s complexity, call a plumber.
  • Pipes don’t simply connect to each other haphazardly. Some need a certain angle to function properly. Also, you don’t want to mix pipe metals. If you're not familiar with these basics, leave the project to a professional. They can provide the best solution for excess water and water leaks.
  • Do you have the necessary tools and materials to carry out the repair? These include a pipe repair kit, joint compound, pipe cutter, emery cloth, rags, and other plumbing supplies.
  • Consider the location of the leak and its accessibility. If the leak is in a confined or hard-to-reach space, it might be too challenging to fix it yourself.
  • Remember that a poorly executed repair could lead to more significant leaks or water damage! In turn, call a professional even if you’ve started the repair but seem to be making the issue worse. Don’t force pipes into position or assume poor-quality patching materials offer sufficient fixes.
  • Repairing a leaky pipe is often time-consuming and even physically challenging, especially in a crawl space. If you’re not patient and agile enough to ensure a quality repair, call a plumber! They’ll have the experience and tools needed to access pipes and perform repairs quickly and easily.

Lastly, remember that a plumber can inspect your entire plumbing system. They can then spot other hidden leaks or potential problems. Above all, plumbers often guarantee their work to last.


wet crawl space due to a plumbing leak

Can Flex Seal Be Used on Leaking Pipes?

The liquid rubber sealant Flex Seal is excellent for certain pipe sealing and waterproofing applications around your home. However, it is not recommended for leaking pipes and especially for permanent plumbing repairs. Note some reasons why you might rethink using Flex Seal for plumbing fixes in your home’s crawl space:

  • Flex Seal is not specifically designed for use in plumbing systems. It is more commonly used for sealing leaks in roofs, gutters, and other non-plumbing applications.
  • Plumbing pipes are under pressure, especially in water supply lines. Flex Seal might not hold up well under high water pressure. In turn, you might soon see the leak reappear!
  • When hot and cold water runs through them, plumbing pipe temperatures change accordingly. Flex Seal isn’t designed to withstand these fluctuations, causing it to deteriorate over time.
  • Flex Seal is not approved for contact with drinking water! Consequently, it’s best to avoid using it on pipes carrying water to kitchen sinks. Otherwise, it might introduce harmful chemicals or compounds when ingested.
  • Flex Seal has a limited lifespan. As a result, it’s not a permanent solution and degrades over time. When it does, you’ll probably see a recurrence of the leak.

Moreover, note that you have many options for repairing pipes quickly and efficiently. This includes joint compound and repair kits. Also, plumbers can often replace damaged pipes relatively easily even in crawl spaces. With this in mind, reconsider using Flex Seal for plumbing repairs in your home especially for larger leaks in a crawl space.

A Word From Our Crew: Keeping Your Crawl Space Dry

Princeton Plumbing Pros is happy to help explain how to fix a leaky pipe in a crawl space. Hopefully we’ve given you some good information to consider! Also, if you need expert plumbing and leak detection services, call our Princeton plumbing repair contractors. We offer full-service fixes including leak patching and more. We’re also the name to trust for plumbing and appliance installation, including new water heaters and more. To find out more, reach out to us today!


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