The black piping in you home is ABS, or acylonitrile butadiene styrene. ABS piping is more economical than metal piping, since it won't rust, and it installs easier than PVC.

However, over time, it can develop leaks, which means the pipe fitting or pipe needs replacing. Common signs of leaks include low water pressure, a musty smell, and increase in your water bill. It should be easy for you to replace the damaged ABS piping by following these tips.

Prepare to Fix the Pipe

To complete this project, you need:

  • work gloves
  • rags
  • cotton swab
  • tape measure
  • marker
  • drip pan
  • hacksaw or pipe cutter
  • ABS pipe fittings
  • deburring tool or utility knife
  • ABS cement
  • ABS replacement  pipe

Find out if you need a permit to cut contacting the building code department. Shut off the water supply to the fixture, or turn off the whole house water supply from the valve located near the meter. Don't touch pipes with bare hands, since the wastewater can contain bacteria. 

Strong work gloves protect the hands from bacteria as well as cuts and scratches. Keep the room ventilated to avoid breathing fumes from repair materials.

Remove Damaged Pipe

Set a drip pan under the pipes to catch water spills. Mark a line on the damaged pipe section, cut it with the hacksaw or pipe cutter, and use the deburring tool or utility knife to trim burrs. If needed, save the old piping to help you buy the right replacement.

If the pipe isn't damaged, but it has a joint leak, you don't have to cut a long length of pipe. Only cut enough pipe to remove the fittings, and follow the usual installation. Mark six inches on each side of the coupling where the pipe connects to it, then Cut on the marks to remove the old fitting. 

Install the New Pipe and Fittings

Clean and the ends of the existing pipe and new pipe. Insert one-half finch of the to the pipe into the fitting, and mark the position, but don't cement it yet. Remove the pipe, and trim it to fit.

Use the cotton swab to spread cement on the interior of the new couplings and outer edges of the cut pipe.  Immediately insert the coupling into the existing cut pipe end. Rotate the fitting one-fourth inch of a turn to spread the cement, and hold it several seconds. Insert a new pipe section into the opposite end of the fitting in the same manner.

Restore water, and test the repair. If it still leaks, or you don't feel confident enough to make the repair, contact a plumber, such as from Towers Murray Plumbing .