Leaks in your home plumbing system is not something to take lightly. Even a minor leak can majorly disrupt the plumbing in your home and can lead to severe water damage that is difficult and expensive to repair. Water leaks also waste a ton of water, which both harms the environment and drives up the cost of your water bill.

While it is important to be cautious when dealing with plumbing, there are multiple easy ways to temporarily stop a pipe leak in your home until you are able to hire a professional plumber to permanently repair the leak and assess any resulting damage.

Keep in mind, however, that these methods only provide temporary fixes and that you will eventually need the services of a professional plumber to permanently fix pipe leaks in your home.

1. Shut Off Your Water

Cutting off the water supply to your home is a quick and easy way to prevent a pipe leak in your home plumbing system from causing severe water damage and making your water bill skyrocket. Every house has a main water valve. This valve looks like either a wheel mechanism or a bar lever, and it is usually located outside around the side or back of your house or in your basement. All you have to do to cut off the main water supply to your house is turn the valve clockwise if it is a wheel or push it down and to the right if it is a lever.

Shutting off your house’s main water valve prevents water from flowing into your home plumbing system, which in turns temporarily stops any leaks as long as the water remains off. This method does not patch the leak and you won’t be able to use the water in your home until the leak is fixed. However, shutting off your main water valve prevents a pipe leak from wasting any more water and causing additional damage while you wait for a plumber.

2. Use a Pipe Clamp

If a PVC or copper pipe in your home is visibly leaking, you can use a pipe clamp to temporarily block the leak in the pipe. It is important to know the size of the leaking pipe, because pipe clamps come in different sizes to fit different-sized pipes.

Once you have the right pipe clamp, fit the clamp onto your leaking pipe. Place the rectangular rubber gasket on the inside of the clamp over the leak in the pipe to form a water-tight seal. Close the pipe clamp around the pipe and tighten the bolts that come with the pipe clamp until the clamp is secure.

3. Apply Plumbing Epoxy Putty

Plumbing epoxy putty is very forgiving and easy to use to temporarily plug a leak in a pipe. It is important to wear gloves while handling epoxy putty because the putty can damage your bare skin.

With gloved hands, knead the epoxy putty until it becomes a light gray color all over. Wrap the putty tightly around the leak in your pipe, maintaining about ½-inch thickness all around the leak. Then, just let the epoxy putty sit for at least 10 minutes before testing to see if it successfully patched the leak.

Knowing some basic ways to temporarily fix pipe leaks in your home yourself is a very valuable tool that can save you a ton of time, money, and stress. However, most leaks require the services of a professional plumber who has the skills and equipment to permanently fix the plumbing leak.

If you suspect that there is a leak in your home plumbing system, even if you don’t know where it is or how to access it, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber to help. Especially for severe and hard-to-find leaks, it is much better to put your trust in a professional plumber than to risk making the damage worse by trying to fix the leak yourself. If you recognize any signs of a visible or hidden leak in your home, take action right away. If possible, use one of the methods in this post to temporarily halt the leak—and then call a trusted plumber in your area to finish the job for good.