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water leak mystery
Old 11-19-2008, 03:10 PM   #1
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water leak mystery

I have an attached garage, the floor above it is a bedroom then bathroom, then another bedroom.

Most of the bathroom pipes are above the front of the car.

This morning I went to the garage and noticed water on the garage floor around the car that had dripped down.

I went to the grocery store. When I got back there was some water in a new spot (where the car had been).

At first I thought it was the heating system, but the new spot indicated the hot water pipe (~50 or so year old steel) to the bathroom.

I called the plumber, they thought they wouldn't get here 'til tomorrow. They showed up a little after 1PM.

I moved the car out of the garage and showed them the spot on the floor.

They couldn't find a leak. They cut the insulation off the hot water pipe, the insulation was all dry. There was no sign of wet wood or drips from incoming or outgoing plumbing.

They said an incoming leak wouldn't stop, so it had to be outgoing.

They didn't charge me anything, said they would leave the work order open and to keep an eye on it.
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:05 PM   #2
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leaking toilet seal?
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:07 PM   #3
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If you use the shower or tub in that bathroom check the drain seals in the sink and the tub. I had that problem years ago in a previous house with the tub. A little plumbers putty and it was fixed.

Good Luck
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:08 PM   #4
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Do you have a pet? Is the color yellow?
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:18 PM   #5
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Is it condensation from your car?
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:32 PM   #6
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Is it condensation from your car?
ah, very smart guess. my jeep often "leaks" water when i return from a drive on a warm day and i've had the AC on. it's not from the radiator.
khan, got some newspapers? pull out the car, run it for a while, spread newspaper all over, pull it back in and see if this is it.
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:32 PM   #7
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. . . They didn't charge me anything, . . .
Sounds like they genuinely want your business.
Guess it only matters if the source is indeed plumbing and not the car or something else.
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Old 11-19-2008, 04:38 PM   #8
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ah, very smart guess. my jeep often "leaks" water when i return from a drive on a warm day and i've had the AC on. it's not from the radiator.
khan, got some newspapers? pull out the car, run it for a while, spread newspaper all over, pull it back in and see if this is it.
Our cars' metal bodies and engines "leak" even if we haven't driven them with the AC if there's a change in the weather (ie, to cold weather--noticed some minipuddles behind all four tires of our big car yesterday morning when the temps went below freezing, and the car's been sitting there for three days.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:09 PM   #9
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It's not the car.

Quote:
If you use the shower or tub in that bathroom check the drain seals in the sink and the tub. I had that problem years ago in a previous house with the tub. A little plumbers putty and it was fixed.
I'm thinking it's something to do with the shower drain.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:10 PM   #10
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Sounds like they genuinely want your business.
Guess it only matters if the source is indeed plumbing and not the car or something else.
I've been a loyal customer for 29 years.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:13 PM   #11
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From my recent scary mold monster experience, I'd recommend cutting holes in the ceiling of the garage to help you figure out where it's coming from. Leave the car outside to eliminate that variable. Do careful experiments with flushing the toilet, using the shower, etc. to narrow it down.

Quote:
This morning I went to the garage and noticed water on the garage floor around the car that had dripped down.
Do you mean that water dripped onto the car, then off to the floor around the car?
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:26 PM   #12
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From my recent scary mold monster experience, I'd recommend cutting holes in the ceiling of the garage to help you figure out where it's coming from. Leave the car outside to eliminate that variable. Do careful experiments with flushing the toilet, using the shower, etc. to narrow it down.
Did that while the plumbers were here.

Quote:
Do you mean that water dripped onto the car, then off to the floor around the car?
Exactly.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:28 PM   #13
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It's not the car.



I'm thinking it's something to do with the shower drain.

no sign of the leak on the ceiling? if the ceiling is drywalled water will tend to run to a taped joint or light fixture to find an escape point. you can often feel a temperature difference bwtween damp drywall and dry even if you can't see it - evaporative cooling. any chance you plunged the upstairs toilet? had an intermittant leak that only showed up when a tenant plunged the toilet - marginal & failing wax ring seal. Usually shower drains are ok, but water leaking at the valve or where the gooseneck screws in for the showerhead is common. - unless you have a plastic shower pan - seen those flex and end up pulling the plastic drain line from the rubber sealing ring or have the clamping nut on the cork gasket under the pan go kerschitt.
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Old 11-19-2008, 05:35 PM   #14
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Maybe you can employ some dye to narrow down the leak.

Of course, use something that won't stain.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:18 PM   #15
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Do careful experiments with flushing the toilet, using the shower, etc. to narrow it down.
This should tell you where it is. Khan - If you think its the shower drain, try the toilet and sink for a few days without running the shower. Then refrain from the toilet and sink and run the shower. If there's a leak in the first part of the experiment, the leak is either the sink or toilet. If there's a leak in the second part of the experiment, then you're right and the leak is the shower drain.

Some shower drains have a rubber gasket between the shower drain and the drain plumbing piping. Maybe you're gasket is leaking because it has loosened. There is a key that tightens the gasket. (I lost mine down the drain while tightening)

Maybe some pictures of your garage ceiling and down your shower drain would help.
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Old 11-20-2008, 04:59 PM   #16
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no sign of the leak on the ceiling? if the ceiling is drywalled water will tend to run to a taped joint or light fixture to find an escape point. you can often feel a temperature difference bwtween damp drywall and dry even if you can't see it - evaporative cooling. any chance you plunged the upstairs toilet? had an intermittant leak that only showed up when a tenant plunged the toilet - marginal & failing wax ring seal. Usually shower drains are ok, but water leaking at the valve or where the gooseneck screws in for the showerhead is common. - unless you have a plastic shower pan - seen those flex and end up pulling the plastic drain line from the rubber sealing ring or have the clamping nut on the cork gasket under the pan go kerschitt.
The ceiling of the garage is wood, the bathroom has vinyl on top of the wood.
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Old 11-20-2008, 05:25 PM   #17
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The ceiling of the garage is wood, the bathroom has vinyl on top of the wood.
So do you see the ceiling joists, then the underside of the wood bathroom floor? do you see the drainlines as well as supply lines?
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Old 11-20-2008, 09:50 PM   #18
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if the pipes are exposed, it's possible that this is simply condensation on the pipes? mine comes and goes, but is most prevalent on humid days when i run the water a lot


what's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

EDIT: You are in Ohio,so not likely right now.
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Old 11-20-2008, 10:22 PM   #19
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I had a weird one in our new townhouse. We noticed there was water on the floor of the master bath, but just occasionally. The plumber and the builder couldn't find anything. Finally, DW (the one with the brains in our household) noticed that it only happened when we ran the dishwasher, which was downstairs. Nobody bought in until she proved it. Turns out there's some sort of pressure release valve on the waterheater, and it was screwed in too tight. Created a pressure backup in the system, which found the weakest point in the house (the supply tube to the master bath toilet). They adjusted the pressure thingie, and no more problem.

Don't know if that will help. They all said they'd never seen anything like it before.
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Old 11-22-2008, 04:29 PM   #20
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It started dripping again. The plumber fixed it in a few minutes (I hope, I'll keep an eye on it).

The shut off valve on top of the hot water pipe under the sink was loose. Water was dripping slowly down the side of the pipe, through the hole on the bottom of the cabinet, dripping off the bend of the pipe, and dripping onto the toilet drain, then onto the lower left windshield.

The joys of an old house.
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