Plumbing accidents seem to occur at the most inopportune times. No matter when it happens, however, a plumber should be immediately called, as any delay may increase the risk for water damage. Until such time as the plumber can actually arrive, however, a temporary repair can be accomplished.
Once a water leak has been discovered, the water to the house should be cut off at the main cutoff valve. This will stop the flow of water entering the home through the leaky pipe, and more damage, whether to the already-stressed plumbing or the house itself, will not occur.
Once the water flow has been halted, the area around the leak should be cleaned, and most of the excess water should be mopped up. Failure to do so, and allowing the area to remain wet, can cause warping or misshaping of wood, and can actually lead to the formation of mold, which can be a serious health threat to family members.
Small leaks may be able to be fixed with ordinary electrical tape. This is just a temporary solution as any leak will require the inspection and service of a qualified plumber. The pipe from which the leak originated should be dried first, so that the tape will stick more firmly. The tape should be applied, starting approximately 2″ away from the leak itself.
The tape should be wrapped over the leak and carried down the pipe until the tape is again approximately 2″ away from the leak. Once that is accomplished, several more layers of tape should be added, with the direction of the tape being changed each time the pipe is wrapped. This will serve to temporarily stop the leak.
Larger plumbing problems will likely need something more than electrical tape. In these incidences, a pipe clamp and piece of the inner tube from a bicycle tire, strategically placed can be used as a “stop-gap” (or “stop-leak”) measure until such time as the plumber can be called.