How to Repair a Leaky PVC Pipe Joint – Part 2

How to Repair a Leaky PVC Pipe Joint – mark and saw out the leaking elbow fitting with the failed glue joint.

This repair is continued from Part 1.


Mark the PVC Pipe Cuts

The cardboard template made for the Fernco Qwik Ell is centered over the PVC elbow joint and the end positions for the cuts are marked with a blue marker (red arrows).

PVC Pipe Repair: Mark the Cuts with the Cardboard Template

PVC Pipe Repair: Mark the Cuts with the Cardboard Template

The section around the 90 degree elbow to be cut out is marked. You can see how the Fernco Qwik Ell will span the original PVC elbow joints:

Leaky PVC Pipe Repair: Section Marked to be Cut Out

Leaky PVC Pipe Repair: Section Marked to be Cut Out

Saw Out the Old PVC Pipe Elbow

After double and triple checking my measurements I used a carpenter’s handsaw to make the first cut below the PVC elbow. The handsaw cuts PVC like butter with a nice straight cut:

Leaky PVC Pipe Repair: Saw Off the Old Elbow Fitting

Leaky PVC Pipe Repair: Saw Off the Old Elbow Fitting

PVC Pipe Cable Saw

There was no room to maneuver the carpenters saw to make 2nd cut because the PVC pipe was against the drain line for the utility basin and the hot & cold copper pipes were immediately above. I purchased a Brasscraft PVC Cable Saw at Home Depot which requires almost zero clearance to operate.

PVC Pipe Cable Saw

PVC Pipe Cable Saw

The PVC cable saw is roughed section of wire between two handles:

Brasscraft PVC Cable Saw

Brasscraft PVC Cable Saw

To make the cut, the PVC cable saw is looped over the pipe and pulled back-and-forth. I had never used one before and was a bit skeptical. It worked fast and easy!

The PVC cable saw instructions warned the wire would get hot. It heated up so much from the sawing friction that it literally melted it’s way through the pipe section – and the pipe semi-fused back together as the wire cut through. I’ve since used the cable saw on other repair jobs and learned to work the cable saw more slowly if it’s melting rather than sawing through the pipe to reduce heating.

As I wiggled the pipe section to separate the saw joint, the 45 degree street elbow popped off! Upon closer inspection, I found the joint was never glued!! It was simply pressed together and luckily hadn’t leaked until recently:

Cut Out Section of Leaky PVC Pipe

Cut Out Section of Leaky PVC Pipe

Install a Fernco Qwik Ell Repair Fitting

In retrospect it’s only necessary to make the cuts against both sides of the 90° elbow joint. No measuring, no cardboard templates and no fuss. The Fernco Qwik Ell is made longer than a the standard PVC elbow to span the gap for just this type of repair:

PVC Pipe Repair: Cut Out the Old Elbow for the Fernco Qwik Ell

PVC Pipe Repair: Cut Out the Old Elbow for the Fernco Qwik Ell

This repair is concluded in Part 3.

Hope this helps,

Bob Jackson

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