Having a collection of particular tools and materials around the house for those unexpected times when the plumber is farther than your phone will reach is a wise decision. Some of these are a drain clearing tool (also known as a “snake”), a plunger, vise-grip pliers, a pipe wrench, a basin wrench, and a pair of channel lock pliers. Flat-tip and Phillips head screwdrivers will prove handy many times over.
For materials which can be useful during a plumbing emergency, an old bicycle inner tube can be used for a quick pipe patching job along with some worm-drive hose clamps and PVC tape. Pipe joint compound and plumber’s putty are other products to keep on hand in the event that work on a threaded length of pipe becomes necessary or a countertop requires sealing. It is always an emergency when a pipe bursts and having these materials can make a difference until the plumber arrives and proper repairs can be made
First and foremost is get to the water main shut-off valve and stop the flow of water. Use a pair of scissors to cut a section of the old bicycle inner tube that will cover the damaged area of the water pipe. Wrap the section of the inner tube around the pipe tightly beginning at a slight angle and overlap the inner tube at least three-fourths the width of each strip. Secure the free end of the inner tube strip using PVC tape and follow through by wrapping the entire patch from end to end.
Next, unscrew the clamps until they can be opened and place them over the pipe on either end of the patch making sure the clamps are over the taped inner tube. Slip the clamp strap back into the worm-drive housing and tighten using a screwdriver. Having another clamp in the middle of the patch for extra strength may be needed. This type of patch is intended to be a temporary repair only. Have the pipe replaced as soon as possible.
Kitchen sink cabinets and bathroom vanities can be problematic areas due to water leakage. Pressure leaks at the tap and sprayer hose fittings are obvious and a twist using a basin wrench will usually suffice. Other evidence of moisture may be the result of leaking drain trap piping and counter seal leakage. Tighten the drain trap flange nuts if leakage is detected at the pipe joints.
Sink countertops can also be suspected because of water seepage between the sink flange and the counter. Loosen the sink clamps under the counter and raise the sink up enough to apply a consistent ring of plumber’s putty around the periphery and retighten the clamps.
Remember, always work safely.