When a leaking pipe suddenly appears in a boiler system, the first reaction is often panic. That is understandable given how important a boiler is for health and wellbeing. But what if you knew there was a straightforward way to repair that pipe in your boiler system?
Suddenly, there would be no need to panic as much. You can restore your system to working order within an hour with the right tools for the job – and avoid having to pay a lot of money to a plumbing and heating expert for doing the job.
With a combination of epoxy putty and a pipe repair bandage, even the most inaccessible pipe contained within a boiler system can be fixed – at least temporarily but often permanently.
Here is the four-step process to making a DIY boiler system pipe repair.
Turn off the boiler
Leaking water and electricity is a bad combination. The first thing to do if you have a leaking boiler pipe is to shut the system down – carrying out a repair can be easy and straightforward, but not if you end up electrocuting yourself.
Clean off and dry the pipe
Once the boiler has been turned off, you can get to work. Dry off the pipe and then if it is in poor condition, remove any dirt and grime from the surface.
Depending on how ingrained the dirt is, you may need to lightly abrade the pipe with sandpaper or a file. Ideally, you want the copper to be a little shiny before applying the epoxy putty as this will improve adhesion between the pipe and the repair material.
Seal the hole in the pipe with epoxy putty
Epoxy putties are supplied in two parts, one resin and one hardener. Both are soft but when they are mixed together, a chemical reaction takes place which causes a material as hard as steel to form.
There are lots of different epoxy putty formats and formulations for a variety of repair tasks. When it comes to fixing a copper pipe like those found in most boiler systems, then you cannot go wrong with a Superfast Copper Epoxy Putty Stick.
Superfast Copper comes in a pre-formatted stick. Rather than having to measure out equal parts of resin and hardener as you would with a two-part epoxy, you simply cut off the amount of putty required from the stick and knead it by hand.
Once you start mixing, the putty will begin to harden. Whilst soft, you push the putty into the crack on the pipe. Within 5-10 minutes, Superfast Copper will cure to permanently seal the hole with a repair pressure resistant up to 30 bar. For context, most household boilers operate at between 1 and 2 bar.
The best thing about epoxy putty is its flexibility. The way boiler systems are designed and the locations they are found in often leaves pipes inaccessible. Putty can be successfully applied even when space is severely limited.
Reinforce the repair with a pipe bandage
To create a longer lasting repair, the epoxy putty should be wrapped with a pipe repair bandage. A pipe bandage is a composite wrap with a water activated resin.
When the bandage comes into contact with water, it sets rock hard in minutes to provide and impact resistant layer of protection to pipes and structures.
Finishing the repair with a bandage reinforces the epoxy putty. It also prevents future cracks and holes developing by encompassing the pipe with a protective sleeve.
If the copper has become susceptible to one leak already, chances are that another will happen again in the future. Using a bandage plays a part in avoiding that fate.
For pipes where access is extremely restricted, it may not be possible to effectively wrap the bandage around the pipe. If this is the case, then workarounds include using cable ties to hold it in place whilst it cures or cutting the bandage and layering it over the damage area.
When to call a heating engineer
Of course, not all leaking boiler pipes can be fixed using this repair method. If the problem is caused by something other than an obvious hole or crack or you do not feel confident undertaking the job yourself, then you should seek a reputable heating engineer to take a look.
If you do wish to attempt a DIY boiler pipe repair, then you can purchase Superfast Copper Epoxy Putty and a SylWrap Pipe Repair Bandage in the SylWrap Standard Pipe Repair Kit.