When you have a boiler system heating your home, there's an extra element to worry about. Not only do you have to ensure that the gas supply safely reaches your boiler, but you have to keep the water pipes intact and in good shape, too. With an older system, it's not unusual for a pipe leading to the boiler to spring a leak. Here's what you need to do if you find yourself in this situation.
Step 1: Assess the severity of the leak.
Is a little water dripping out, or is water spraying all over your basement? If the latter is true, then you need to locate the water turnoff knob and turn the water supply to your boiler off. Make sure you also turn the power switch on your boiler off, or otherwise you'll risk a fire as your boiler continues to generate heat as it empties of water. Call your plumber or HVAC specialist immediately. If the leak is more of a tiny trickle, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Temporarily plug the hole.
Put a pail under the dripping pipe to catch the water while you run to the store and pick up some plumber's putty and pipe take. When you get back with the putty, use a wooden spatula or tongue depressor to smear some of the putty over the crack or hole that is causing the leak. You may need to use your fingers to make sure the putty is fully pressed into the hole. Its thick texture will allow it to stop the flow of water immediately.
Step 3: Put plumber's tape over the leaking area.
After the plumber's putty has had a few hours to dry (the package will tell you exactly how long it needs), cut about 12 inches of plumber's tape from your roll. Wrap the tape around the patched hole in your pipe several times. This will add some extra reinforcement.
Step 4: Make plans for a full repair.
Your patch should hold for a while, allowing you to continue using your boiler. However, plumber's putty is not really made to use on pressurized pipes like the one leading to your boiler, so this is not a permanent fix. Call your plumber or HVAC tech so they can come fix the pipe permanently. Likely, they will carve out the damaged section of the pipe and insert a new section, so you don't have any more leak trouble.