How to Fix a Leaking Copper Pipe

At Aquatrade Plumbing, we’re passionate about providing easy-to-understand, actionable plumbing advice to Australian households. In this article, we’re tackling a common issue many homeowners encounter: a leaking copper pipe. From identifying the issue, gathering the necessary tools and equipment, and finally, fixing the leak – we’ve got you covered. Bear in mind, a significant 90% of homeowners who roll up their sleeves and take on their plumbing issues personally, end up with a thicker wallet in the long haul. Let’s dive into the process!

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    Step 1: Identifying the Leak

    The first step in fixing a leaking copper pipe is locating the source of the leak. Turn off the water supply and inspect the pipe for visible signs of leaking, such as water droplets or discoloured areas. The Australian government’s advice on conserving water might be handy here, particularly their tip about fixing leaks promptly to avoid wasting water.

    Step 2: Gather Your Tools

    Next, gather the necessary tools. You’ll need a pipe cutter, a propane torch, lead-free solder, flux, emery cloth, and a copper repair sleeve.

    Step 3: Cut Out the Damaged Section

    Using your pipe cutter, carefully remove the section of pipe that’s leaking. Be sure to leave enough pipe on either side of the leak to attach your repair sleeve. Remember, safety first. The Safe Work Australia website has a good section on safe DIY practices that we recommend checking out.

    Step 4: Apply Flux and Fit the Repair Sleeve

    Once you’ve removed the damaged section, use the emery cloth to clean the ends of the remaining pipe. Then, apply a thin layer of flux to the cleaned areas. Fit the repair sleeve over the ends of the pipes.

    Step 5: Heat and Solder

    Using the propane torch, heat the repair sleeve and the pipe. Once heated, apply the lead-free solder. Be sure to do this in a well-ventilated area and follow the environment guidelines from the Department of Environment and Energy on how to handle lead-free solder.

    Step 6: Check Your Repair

    Turn the water supply back on and check your repair job. If done correctly, the leak should be sealed. If you’re still experiencing problems, consider reaching out to a professional plumber or revisit the Aquatrade Plumbing blog for more tips.

    Understanding Copper Pipes

    Before diving into the nuances of fixing a leak, it’s vital to understand the uniqueness of copper as a material. Copper pipes are often the choice of plumbers and builders across Australia because of their durability, corrosion resistance, and heat tolerance. The Australian Building Codes Board provides valuable insights into why materials like copper are preferred in Australian homes.

    At Aquatrade Plumbing, we believe in empowering our clients with the knowledge to handle minor plumbing issues, creating a safe, efficient, and cost-effective home maintenance system. And understanding the key characteristics of copper helps in dealing with leaks more effectively. Book your free onsite quote!

    Why Do Copper Pipes Leak?

    There are several reasons why a copper pipe might spring a leak. Despite copper’s well-regarded resistance to corrosion, it’s somewhat ironic that corrosion still stands as the most frequently encountered culprit behind leaky pipes. Over time, various factors such as water chemistry, pipe movement due to temperature variations, or even the constant pressure of water can lead to the slow corrosion of the pipe, resulting in a leak.

    Another common cause of leaks is physical damage. This could be due to poor installation, accidental knocks during home renovations, or damage from outside elements. The Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources provides further information on how household activities can impact your plumbing system.

    Preventive Measures

    Maintenance and regular inspections are your first line of defence against a leaking pipe. Checking your copper pipes for any signs of corrosion, damage, or small leaks can help prevent larger issues down the line.

    Turning off the main water supply during extended periods of absence from your home can also help prevent unexpected leaks. The Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme by the Australian Government offers more practical advice on how to use water more efficiently and prevent wastage.

    DIY vs. Professional Help

    Fixing a leaking copper pipe by yourself can be an enriching and wallet-friendly endeavour, yet it might not be the best course of action for all situations.

    Some repairs may require a professional touch, especially when the problem is severe or the pipe is difficult to reach.

    At Aquatrade Plumbing, we’re committed to providing top-notch professional plumbing services. However, we also believe in empowering homeowners with the knowledge to tackle minor issues themselves. Hence, we advocate for a balanced approach – handle the small leaks yourself and call in the professionals when the problem goes beyond a minor repair.


    In wrapping up, taking the initiative to repair a leaking copper pipe in your home is not only a measure that’s kind to your pocket, but it’s also a responsible approach towards sustainable living, especially considering Australia’s emphasis on water conservation. Our goal at Aquatrade Plumbing is to equip you with the knowledge and confidence to carry out these minor repairs, while assuring you that we’re just a call away when professional intervention is required.

    Moreover, comprehending the nature of the materials you’re working with, like copper, and understanding the reasons behind common issues like corrosion, will empower you to tackle your plumbing problems more effectively. Regular maintenance, periodic checks, and preventive measures will also go a long way in keeping your plumbing in tip-top shape and staving off unnecessary expenditure.

    Nevertheless, remember that DIY isn’t always the solution for every plumbing problem. While this guide provides insights into fixing a leaky copper pipe, more complex issues may still require a professional’s touch.

    Through all your plumbing adventures, Aquatrade Plumbing remains your trusted partner. We strive to provide you with high-quality, practical, and relevant advice that caters to both your DIY spirit and your needs for professional plumbing services. So, whenever in doubt or in need, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Copper pipes can leak due to various reasons including corrosion, physical damage, poor installation or freezing temperatures.

    The cost can vary depending on the severity of the leak and whether professional help is required. DIY repairs can often be cost-effective.

    Yes, with the right tools and instructions, it is possible to repair a leaky copper pipe yourself.

    Well-maintained copper pipes can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years.

    If you’re unable to fix the leak yourself, consider reaching out to a professional plumber for assistance. Our team at Aquatrade Plumbing is always ready to help.

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