As a homeowner, you probably hope that you never have a pipe leak. But realistically, this is something you are likely to face at some point in your homeownership. Pipes are not impervious to damage; they do develop leaks from time to time. When this happens, you should call a plumber for repairs. They'll handle the actual work of repairing the pipe, but you, as a homeowner, might still have some questions about this process. Check out the answers below.
How will the plumber find the leak?
If you see water dripping and suspect you have a leak — but you don't know where that leak is — that will be up to your plumber to find out. There are a couple of methods they can use. Some plumbers have cameras that they send down the inside of pipes to find leaks. Others use pressure detection units. They run the pressure detector over the length of the pipe, and it shows a drop in pressure where the leak is located.
What is sleeving?
If your plumber tells you that they are going to sleeve your pipe, this means the plan is to repair the leak without removing the damaged section of pipe. Instead, they are going to send a plastic or vinyl sleeve down the center of the pipe. This sleeve will expand to fit securely against the inside of the pipe. It will prevent water from coming into contact with the pipe itself in that area, thereby preventing any more water loss through the leak.
Does the plumber have to replace pipes with the same material?
If your plumber decides that the best approach is to replace the damaged, leaky section of pipe, then they will generally opt to do so with the same materials that the rest of your pipes are made from. For instance, if you have copper pipes, they will replace the damaged section with copper. This is important as it ensures compatibility between the sections of pipe. Sometimes homeowners want plumbers to use PVC or PEX to replace more expensive copper piping, but this could just lead to an increased risk of leaks where the two materials come together, so it is best avoided.
With these questions answered, you should have a better sense of what your plumber is doing when they repair your leaky pipes. Talk to your plumber if you have any additional questions about pipe repair.