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I have a small leak in 1" PVC pipe at a connection to a shutoff valve. It looks like not enough PVC cement was used. Taking this apart to repair it will require the entire household water system to be shut off. I would like to replace the valve/pipe as quickly as possible. Is there a fast curing PVC cement that I can use on a potable water system? I would like the system to not be down more than a couple hours.

NOTE: The leak is actually at the connection of a PVC valve. It looks like there wasn't enough solvent/cement used.

UPDATE: There were a lot of great suggestions. I ended up following Ed Beal's answer for a permanent fix. The cure time chart on the cement said I only needed to wait 20 minutes before pressurizing the system again. Took me 30 minutes from start to finish (not including the wait time to turn the water back on). So far no leaks.

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    I'd definitely go after repairing it soon. When a solvent weld joint that was originally water tight begins leaking it means it's failing. It may complete the failure process and blow the fitting clean off the pipe abruptly with little warning. – Greg Hill Dec 4 '19 at 21:26
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    @GregHill The leak has gone from a drip every 5 seconds to one every second in the last week. I will fix this tonight then. Thank you – Programmer Dec 4 '19 at 21:32
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    Isn't this right out of a Flex Tape commercial? – Mohair Dec 4 '19 at 22:03
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    If you do it at night, after everyone's gone to bed, you should be able to get at least six hours or so before the water system has to be repressurised. – Sean Dec 4 '19 at 22:17
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    @Mohair No I think this is his main water line, not a clear storage tank with a bullet hole or a screen bottom boat, lol. – JPhi1618 Dec 5 '19 at 0:18
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I would use Oatey “hot” glue it sets faster than regular but cost a bit more , only get a small can as it evaporates faster also. You can see the label most standard solvents require an hour or longer depending on the diameter , but hot glue is ready in as short as 10 minutes. Primers also help but hot glue doesn’t need primer or the orange stuff I use doesn’t. Also the air temp and working pressure make a difference, colder takes longer to set.

Added: most of the systems I have worked on are less than 80 psi I checked the lava glue I use (Oatey orange lava) the sheet said 2 minutes assembly and cure but truthfully I think it is more like 15 seconds. I have pressurized within 10 minutes , the chart shows an hour but that is for pipe up to 1-1/4” at up to 180 psi. I have done many repairs on 1” and below with just hot glue and had the water back on within 10-15 minutes of the last joint with out failure. I always tighten the lid and store on the lid the cab tends to seal that way but I usually have a brand new can available also.

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PVC isn't connected with adhesive, it's solvent welded. The "cement" is actually a solvent which dissolves the surface of pipe and fitting, fusing them into one piece as it evaporates. The real trick is getting the stuff together before that happens, because you only have a handful of seconds to work with. Proper planning and preparation help.

If you've never done it before it may be worth buying an extra fitting to practice with. That way you won't have to cut off any mistakes. The solvent is also a two part process. There's a colored primer which you apply first to both pipe and fitting, you don't need to rush that. Immediately afterwards you apply the solvent to pipe and fitting and press them together. After a ten count it should be done.

You should also know that potable water systems are typically CPVC, while drains are ordinary PVC. I would suggest double checking the printing on the existing pipe.

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  • How fast will it take the purple/clear cement to cure until I can use it again? – Programmer Dec 4 '19 at 14:30
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    @Programmer, the cans of primer and glue will have instructions and the necessary wait time. – spuck Dec 4 '19 at 16:06
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If you're looking for a somewhat quick fix without much work, you can take a look at some plumbing epoxy putty such as this. This is a two part epoxy putty that you mix together and then wrap the leaking connection. I would clean the connection very well and sand the area to rough it up before starting. This will allow you to make the repair without ever cutting the pipe.

This repair will be looked down on as a "hack" and not a permanent solution, but in a pinch its a workable option. It does have an official cure time of about an hour but it will start to get hard in minutes. This might mean leaving the water off for a little longer than a fast setting PVC glue, but you also have to take into account the time it takes to cut out the old fitting and replace it. The putty will also be a cheaper option.

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You might not need PVC glue at all. A viable alternative to gluing would be a screw-tight compression coupling like this one.

Compression Coupling

The catch with, say, a Sharkbite is you need square-on pressure to push the connectors in. This is problematic for repairing existing in-ground pipes (you can't exactly "pull" the pipe). The compression coupler solves that by allowing you to attach to either side and then screw to either each other, or the main body. Rubber gaskets keep the pipe from leaking, and they are rated for the kind of pressure you see in a main pipe. Best of all, there's no glue to wait for.

In this same vein is a slide repair coupling, but those typically involve PVC glue.

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If there is a push-on fitting that meets your needs, such as from Sharkbite or one of their competitors, you can have the whole job done in less than one minute. A photo of your plumbing would clarify, but I'd be surprised if there isn't a push on fitting that would work.

Please don't expect anything you apply externally to work properly. Either use real cement or a push on fitting.

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    2 major caveats: 1. A Sharkbite 1" coupler is likely going to cost more than the parts you would need to do this with PVC 2. A sharkbite is going to need both ends pushed squarely into it. This can be difficult to do with an existing in-ground pipe – Machavity Dec 5 '19 at 13:27
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Flex tape (or one of its products)

The ads for flextape show it being used underwater, so you don't need to shut off/dry the leak, you can patch it up while it's running (at least according to the ads).

If you want something more like a sealant than a tape, the same company also does a kind of tar/rubber thing.

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