How to fix a broken PVC or PEX plastic water pipe and drain: 3 Easy Steps

Plastic is used a lot in plumbing. From PEX water supply pipes to PVC drains.

PEX water supply pipes are easy to install but can leak as well. We will discuss how to fix this further.

Drains are often made in plastic. PVC (and PP) is commonly used in residential plumbing. In commercial situations, PE is generally used. Let’s take a look at how these plastics can be repaired when they are leaking. These repairs are often quite easy to perform.

How to repair a PEX plastic water pipe

Be sure to stop the water supply when you work on pipes. Water is under a lot of pressure and your house can get flooded in no time if you cut a pipe without stopping the supply. Once you cut a pipe a lot of water will drain from it. For this reason, it is important that you have buckets and are able to remove the water fast when you cut the pipe open. Be careful when you cut a hot water pipe as the water can be quite hot. You can turn the water heater off and wait a while until the water has cooled down.

PEX systems often leak at the manifold. It is possible that the connection between the pipe and the manifold was not done properly. You can often see water dripping or use your hand to feel for wet spots. You might have to cut a piece of the PEX pipe off and reinstall it. Don’t forget to use your calibration tool when you do so.

When it is easy to access the PEX pipe, you can use a fitting to connect them. Just cut around the leak with a PVC cutter and add the fitting (use the calibration tool!). For PEX-B a shark bite is easy to install as you just have to slide it together. A lot of plumbers don’t like this system but it works quite well. You can also use a machine to expand the PEX-B and slide the fitting inside of it.

For PEX-A you have similar systems as well. Check with the manufacturer of your PEX to see what they offer. There are machines for this as well. Sometimes these can be rented at your local hardware store.

If the PEX is not easy to access, you might have to connect the leaking pipe with a new drain. This is done with a connector tool. Make sure that the connection is secure. You can then try to pull the new drain in by pulling the old one out. This can be very difficult to do though. Sometimes it is easier to run a new pipe next to the leaking one. It is not ideal but can be the fastest solution.

How to repair a PVC drain

PVC is quite easy to repair. Make sure that you get the right diameter of the pipe and get the required fittings before you start. You can use an (electric) saw to remove a piece. It can get a great idea to get a bucket and some towels nearby as the drain can contain dirty water. For this reason, it is a great idea to start cutting from the top to the bottom. Cut a piece of drain around the leak.

If the piece is stuck, you can heat it up with a torch. Be careful when you do this as it can get hot and the PVC plastic can get black. You can get pliers to get the PVC loose if needed.

Once this has been done, you can take two fittings and measure the length of the drain that you need. You can use a saw to cut the piece to size. Sandpaper can be used to remove the sharp ends of the cut piece. PVC is generally glued.

We have explained how to do this here. Make sure to follow the correct cure times when you do this. The weather can affect this so you might have to check the packaging to adjust your approach to the season. You might have to support the painted part for a few minutes as well. Adding a support bracket can also be a great idea.

This repair is quite easy to do. You just need to get the right parts and glue them correctly.

How to repair PVC pipe without cutting

Sometimes you want to get a quick temporary repair. This can be done by creating a PVC ring around the leak. You can take a wider piece of PVC. Cut it open so that it is easy to get it around the drain. You can also get a pre-made piece to make it easier to apply.

Once it is in this position, you can add PVC glue to make sure that it sticks. Silicone can be an option outdoors but won’t work as well. It has to be mentioned that this should only be done as a temporary repair as it will start to leak. Be careful when you do this type of repair indoors as it can lead to a lot of damage. Make sure to repair it completely with the method that we have discussed before.

You can also use tape. This wouldn’t be a plumbers blog if we didn’t strongly advise against this. It should only be used in very temporary situations as the glue will get loose and you can get a leak. For this reason, you shouldn’t use it in most situations.

All of these are just temporary solutions so make sure to fix them permanently. PVC drains are often sloped and it is easy for them to leak dirty water into your house if you don’t connect them properly.

To conclude, we can state that plastic pipes and drains are quite easy to repair. You just need the right tools. From a cutter, and a saw to fittings, pipe, and glue. Make sure that you get the right diameter.

Repairing a PVC or PEX pipe is often quite straightforward if you have the right tools. It is important to make sure that there is no water flowing through it when you do this as it can result in a lot of water being released in a short period of time.