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Fixing Leaks in Ceramic Pipe

Posted on March 5, 2013 by Randy Baldwin in Do-It-Yourself, Home Plumbing, Pipes, Plumbers' Tricks Of The Trade, Plumbing Maintenance, Sewer Lines

Ceramic Plumbing Pipe

When you think of ceramics, you may think of fragile figurines, cooled clay pottery, or even dishes, but chances are you don’t immediately think of sewer drain pipes. There is a decent enough reason for this, because ceramic isn’t exactly the strongest material to plumb your sewer system with. Ceramic pipe was used between the 1920’s-80’s. It is not commonly used in homes any more because of cost to produce the pipe itself and the labor required to install it. Not to mention the frequency of leaks and cracks in the pipes is pretty alarming.

If you have ceramic pipe in your sewer system today, chances are your home and plumbing system is very dated and in need of some work. If your pipe springs a leak, which when dealing with ceramic is an almost certainty, here are some steps you can take to fix-it-up DIY style (temporarily at least).

How to Fix a Leak

Ceramic Pipe┬áIf your ceramic piping has cracked or sprung a leak, and you don’t want to replace or retrofit the pipe just yet, where do you start with repairing the leak on your own?

You’re going to want to start by actually accessing the pipe. This requires taking off the codes valve cover. Since your home is probably older and this cover isn’t typically removed, this will probably take some force and a wrench. Once you have access to the buried pipe, jet out the pipes in order to clear any sediment. (You can rent a sewer jetter from Home Depot or other stores similar to it.) clearing out the pipes will help you locate the leak easier.

The next step is to rent a sewer camera (available where you rent your jetter) and feed the camera snake through the pipe until you’re able to locate the leak. Once you have found it, estimate the size of the leak. Always round up by a few inches, in case your estimated measurement is wrong. Covering a leak doesn’t do much good if your covering a hole with something smaller than your leak!

Finally, you’re going to purchase a type of inflatable pipe tubing used to patch leaks in pipes. Buy a piece of tubing that is the correct size to cover up the leak, and push it into the pipe. Push it until it is directly under or below the leak in the pipe, and pull the cord allowing it to inflate. The tubing will stop inflating as soon as it reaches the pipe and will provide a decent amount of cover for your leak.

This is a temporary fix and is a particularly complicated one. You’ll want to call a plumber in to look at repairing the pipe for a more long term solution. If you aren’t entirely confident of your plumbing abilities, you should probably call a plumber as soon as you suspect you have a leak, and they’ll be able to jet, camera, and repair the leak for you from the start. This will save you not only time but headache and could prevent you from damaging your pipe even further, but if you want to give your plumbing hand a try, these are the steps to get you to point B.

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