What’s the best way to stop a small leak where the incoming water pipe connects to the water meter in my basement? My house is more than 30 years old, and the connections involve large hex nuts. I’m comfortable doing my own plumbing work, but I’m cautious about simply tightening these nuts because the pipes are old.
Your plan to tighten the nuts will probably stop the leak, but you’re wise to be cautious. I’d recommend against attempting the job yourself for a couple of reasons. Besides the fact that your local municipal water authority would probably be happy to send out a repair technician to do the job for free, the results would be disastrous if your own efforts went wrong. If the connection failed while tightening, or worse, the pipe actually broke, you’d have 50 litres of water or more spewing into your basement each minute, with no way to shut it off. Perhaps, if you’re quick on your feet, you could grab some vise grips and flatten the end of the pipe to slow the flow until the main valve could be shut off at the street, but that’s not a DIY experience I’d wish on anyone.