Don’t Use This TikTok ‘Hack’ to Fix a Leaky Pipe
While plumbing emergencies are a challenge, it’s not always a good idea to take the quickest route to deal with them. In particular, a popular Tiktok “hack” that advises fixing a plumbing leak with a ball of plumber’s epoxy isn’t the way to go. Plumbers have lots of tools and a broad knowledge of the materials that make sense for any given situation. If you’re not an expert, trying a DIY repair on your water line could result in disaster.
Here’s why you should hire a professional to fix your water line rather that looking to social media for a quick fix.
You won’t be able to see what’s going on
The popular Tiktok repair video recommends inserting a ball of kneadable plumbing epoxy into the water line and using water pressure to push the epoxy ball into place over the hole. This is a spin on what plumbing contractors call “trenchless” pipe repair, but it relies on the water pressure doing the positioning of the epoxy instead of using tools to manipulate it into position. Hiring a professional with tools and a camera to do the repair is a far better choice than tossing a ball of epoxy down the drain and crossing your fingers.
Your water pressure might not be high enough
There are a couple of things about the epoxy ball method that might cause problems, but the most obvious reason it may not work is your water pressure might not be high enough to push the epoxy securely into the hole. If the epoxy wanders through the pipe and adheres somewhere else–like at a seam or bend in the pipe, all you’ve done is cause a permanent clog in the system. This could reduce water pressure on the other side of the clog as well as stressing joints in the parts of the system before wherever the epoxy ball got stuck due to the increased pressure. Digging up your pipes to replace a section due to an epoxy blockage is the opposite of a simple fix.
It might not make a good seal
Because epoxies are not always completely watertight until they cure, using an epoxy ball in a pipe filled with flowing water might lead to slow or incomplete curing, affecting the seal. This could potentially lead to cracks or to the epoxy coming loose, causing the leak to recur or for bits of epoxy to enter the water line. While a plumber might have tools to make sure that the process goes as planned, if you don’t have a scope you won’t be able to get a good look at the seal.
You might choose the right kind of epoxy
The other thing to note about a DIY epoxy resin fix is that epoxies can release toxic chemicals into the water as they cure. While food-safe epoxies do exist, these are usually only safe after they cure. To try and cure the epoxy in an active water line without the requisite knowledge and equipment could result in exposure to the toxic curing agents in the patch.
Your repair might not be up to code
The last important thing to note about epoxy patches for water lines is that there might be building codes in your area outlining the types of materials and testing required for a water line fix. Sometimes, damage can occur as the result of a leak that would require you to excavate the area surrounding the pipe. A certified plumber will be able to help you determine the extent of the damage and what is actually needed to repair it. You shouldn’t attempt a DIY fix unless you’re sure you can spot adjacent damage and are familiar with local building codes pertaining to plumbing and water quality. Ignoring these regulations could result in a hefty fine or a more expensive fix down the road.