HOW STUFF WORKS
QUIZZES

FOLLOW US
The Ultimate Pipe Repair Quiz
by Staff
One of the more common household problems is leaky pipes. Apart from wasting water, a leak can cause loud noises. Take this quiz and learn how you can fix most pipe problems yourself and avoid hosting your local plumber.

When can a water pipe make noises?

  • if the hot water faucet alone is used
  • when the room temperature drops suddenly
  • if there is a leak

Is there a way you can fix a small leak in a water pipe?

  • Water leaks should be fixed by a qualified plumber.
  • Use a temporary patch.
  • You need to replace the pipe.

Can a section of pipe be easily replaced by a do-it-yourselfer?

  • as long as you turn off the water
  • If you use a suitable wrench
  • not really

Which of the following is the most effective temporary patch?

  • rubber pad and clamps
  • a piece of metal superglued over the hole
  • a small piece of wood held by insulating tape

Can a suitable temporary patch be left in place for a long time?

  • Plumbers recommend that temporary patches be replaced within 30 days.
  • The patch can be left as long as it holds.
  • The temporary patch needs to be changed once a week.

Are there any pre-conditions that need to be considered before using waterproof tape?

  • The pipe should be prepared with warm water to ensure waterproofing.
  • Application of a suitable lubricant is advised.
  • Before applying waterproof tape, the pipe must be completely dry.

When can a compound stick be used to seal a leak?

  • As long as the water is turned off, it can be used on any leak.
  • A small leak can be fixed with a compound stick.
  • Compound sticks are used only before a patch is applied.

Can epoxy paste, like waterproof tape, be applied when water is flowing?

  • as long as the water is warm
  • only if the water is turned off
  • if the epoxy is not transparent

How far from the leak should the waterproof tape begin?

  • half an inch
  • 1 inch
  • 2 to 3 inches

Does fixing a leak as soon as it appears ensure that no further leaks occur?

  • One leak is usually the precursor of further problems with the pipe.
  • Fixing a leak in time means no further problems
  • As long as a commercial temporary patch is used, there should be no further problems.

If you encounter dripping water, does this always indicates a leak in the pipe?

  • Only a leak can cause dripping water.
  • If there is no leak, you probably have condensation
  • If the drip is near the end of the pipe, water pressure should be adjusted.

When does condensation occur?

  • when water in the pipes is colder than the surrounding air
  • when water in the pipes is warmer than the surrounding air
  • when water in the pipes is as hot as the surrounding air

Other than drying the pipes, can you avoid the formation of condensation?

  • This isn't necessary, since condensation helps maintain the temperature of the water in the pipe.
  • By spraying lubricating oil on the pipe, you will prevent water drops from forming.
  • Applying insulation should do the job.

Is there anything you can do about a frozen pipe?

  • Nothing, you must wait for the pipe to thaw by itself.
  • Apply small quantities of cold water.
  • Carefully heat the pipe.

If you decide to heat a pipe, what is the safest and easiest way of doing so?

  • Wrap a hot towel around the pipe.
  • Apply several layers of newspaper soaked in cold water.
  • Insulate the pipe with special "drip" tape.

Are there any precautions to take to avoid damaging the pipe if you decide to heat it with an open flame?

  • Metal pipes are heat resistant, thus no real precautions are necessary.
  • Hold the pipe with insulated gloves.
  • Keep the flame moving and avoid soldered joints.

When using heat to thaw a pipe, what should you do with the faucet?

  • Open only the cold faucet.
  • Open both faucets.
  • Open the hot faucet.

Having decided to heat the pipe, where should you begin?

  • It doesn't matter. The main thing is to get the water flowing.
  • Start at the middle so the warmed water can thaw the ice in both directions.
  • You need to start near the faucet so that the thawed water can flow out.

What is the most likely cause of noises from pipes?

  • metallic objects carried by the water flow
  • interaction with nearby electricity lines
  • unsecured pipes banging together

Assuming a pipe is not properly attached, what is a simple, inexpensive solution?

  • switch to PVC pipes
  • add a wooden buffer between the pipes
  • reduce water pressure