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How to Fix a Broken Drain Pipe Underground

How to fix a broken drain pipe underground

How To Fix a Broken Drain Pipe Underground

Fixing a broken drainpipe can seem like a huge job, especially if the damage is underground. However, with the right tools and procedure, you can resolve this issue promptly.

Some signs that you may have a broken drainpipe including flooding, an unexplained foul smell and mold in the area. In some cases, it can even cause unusually lush greenery due to the abundance of water. If you suspect a pipe is broken, use the following supplies and steps.


  • PCV Pipe


  • Pipe Locator
  • Disconnect Clip
  • Emery Cloth
  • Large Bucket
  • Pipe

1) Turn Off the Water Supply

First and foremost, you will need to turn off the water supply for your house. It is also a good idea to run your faucets and other water sources until they run dry. This will help to purge all the water from the system.

1) Turn Off the Water Supply

2) Locate the Broken Pipe

Next, it is time to find the broken pipe. The best option is to use a pipe locator to trace the pipe. Mark it above ground with stakes and/or flags. This will help you to be very precise when you dig. It is also a good idea to locate other utilities that may be running through the same section of ground.

Examine the area where you suspect the break may be. You can look for water, smell for the scent and listen for the leak. Dig down to the pipe carefully. You may need to dig out the area to find the exact spot.

2) Locate the Broken Pipe

3) Cut Through the Pipe

Once you have located the break, cut out the broken section. This can usually be done with a handsaw or a jigsaw. If you are concerned about flooding, dig out some space below the break and place your bucket underneath.

If the break is near any fittings, you can use a disconnect clip to easily remove them. This works for push-on fittings.

3) Cut Through the Pipe

4) Add New Piece of Pipe

Measure the section that needs to be replaced and cut a new piece to size. Before you place the new piece, smooth the edges of each piece of pipe using an emery cloth. Then, using new fittings (or the existing ones if they are undamaged), place the section of pipe and connect it. Turn on the water again to make sure everything is running without leaks.

4) Add New Piece of Pipe

5) Re-Fill the Hole

Finally, you can refill the hole. It may be a good idea to temporarily mark the area just in case there are any further issues in the near future.

5) Re-Fill the Hole

Get the Supplies You Need To Fix Your Pipe

Do you need to fix a drainpipe on your property? With the right tools, the job is significantly easier. Most significantly a pipe and cable locator can help you to trace the pipe and quickly find the break. Check out the Engineer Supply catalog to find all the tools you need for this job.

Shop Pipe Locator

Broken Pipe and Pipe Locator FAQs

Where Can I Buy a Pipe Locator?

how to fix a broken drain pipe undergorund

You can order a pipe locator and other tools for fixing a drainpipe from Engineer Supply. We carry a large selection of tools and supplies for construction, engineering, drafting and repair applications. Explore our catalog and get ready to take on your next big task.

Can a Magnetic Locator Find a Pipe?

In some cases, you can use a magnetic locator to find a pipe. However, this will only work with the pipe or the fittings on it are made from a ferrous material. Typically, a pipe-and-cable locator is the better option for this job.

What Is a Pipe Laser?

A pipe laser is a tool used for aligning, leveling and grading pipes. It can be helpful when you need to place a new pipe. When you are fixing a broken pipe, this is especially valuable if the new section will be large.

Do I Need a Pipe Finder To Fix a Broken Pipe?

Although you do not always need a pipe finder to fix a broken pipe, it is usually advisable. The other option is to dig until you find the right section. However, if you do not know the exact path of the pipe this can be hard. Plus, there may be other utilities in the way.

How Do You Trace Drainpipes?

You can trace the drain by feeding the transmitter into the pipe. Then, using the receiver, you can scan for the transmitter location above ground. Gradually work your way along the pipe and mark it with stakes or other markers. Each locator works a little differently; so, make sure to read the manual.

Magnetic Locator

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