During and after I have a shower I can hear a dripping inside a boxed-in area in an adjoining room where the drainage pipes are fed out of the bathroom and downstairs.

I think I am going to have to break the boxing-in to get access to see (and fix) a leak if there is one, but I'm wondering if there is a way to fix a small leak from the inside of the pipe to minimize destruction; for example, pouring something down the pipe that would seep into any leaky joints and seal them?

Edit: 1) Someone has changed the question title to a question I wasn't asking. It wasn't my intention to ask "how to fix a small plumbing leak from inside the pipe".

2) Today I experimented a bit. I ran the shower cold for a bit, and listened out. No dripping. I then ran it hot and used it, and the dripping was present. I think it might be water supply pipes expanding/contracting as a result of usage. (I hope so anyway)

I have not decided yet but I may buy one of those probe camera things and make a small hole to have a look through.

  • 2
    Short answer: no. But you'll be rich and a lot of plumbers will hate you if you can invent something like that. :-)
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 10:31
  • 4
    Before you do any exploratory surgery consider that the dripping might be within the piping. Also some observations can be made with a bore scope, or you can get a plastic inspection port and cut a hole that receives it. Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 10:35
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    Important question - are you seeing any signs of water leakage anywhere? If not, then I agree with @JimStewart, it may be INSIDE the piping and needing no repair. Commented Aug 14, 2018 at 12:30
  • 1
    Before you do serious demolition, look at bore scopes, as Jim Stewart suggested. You can pick up cheap ones that plug into your phone. Then you only need a small hole to stick the camera through to look around. When you're done, if you had to make the hole through a finished surface, it's easy to plug or patch to make it unnoticeable.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 21:21
  • 1
    you might try dumping some bleach down the drain, and then sniffing around where you suspect the leak is to determine if it's in or out of the pipe.
    – dandavis
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


I know a lot of industrial non-permanent fixes, and methods of investigation but there is to my knowledge no surefire way to do this permanently and solidly without opening it up, soldering, replacing or clamping.

An example of a temporary fix - you can maize it. That is what the mechanics at work do when there is a leak. (it is not easy, safe or practical to shut down a 50MW industrial furnace for smaller water leaks, but stop once in a while and fix them all)

I was astonished, I thought this was some high tech stuff, but it is quite literal. They add cornflour to the circuit. (a degenerate brandname of corn flour around my parts is "Maizena" - hence they call it "maizing"). If the leak is rather big-ish (like a faucet at full opening) they add corn flour and sawdust. If it is any bigger than that, people get nervous and the yellow-helmets start rushing about.

But, to reiterate - no, a leak should be mechanically investigated and fixed. You cannot know if the source is a pinhole leak, a bad fitting or even where the leak or fitting is that is leaking. Dripping only signifies where the water is leaving the surface of the pipe and hitting another surface. It could be leaking somewhere else. It could be leaking all the time, only dripping when you run the hot (running water has less pressure. Maybe it is spraying constantly). Water where it shouldn't be is a serious problem - it can cause a host of unpleasant second order issues (mold, rot, rust, cracks, bugs, electrical shorts... etc). There are plenty of temporary solutions, but few proper ones.

  • There's a similar trick of putting ground pepper in a car's coolant as a temporary fix for radiator leaks. I think these tricks work when the water is under some pressure to drive the solids into the leak and compact them there. With something like a drain pipe, there's no pressure. I suspect the material would just wash past.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 19:28

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