Learning When the Ceiling Leaks an Important First Step

Here at The Twin Plumbers we respond to leaks frequently, and are often asked: “What is causing the leak from my ceiling?”Below we are sharing with you the most common causes:

When you see a drip and it is continuous and does not stop, then you need to shut off the main water valve to the house right away to prevent major water damage to your floor. The most common cause is a pinhole in either the hot or cold waterline.

Once it has been determined that it is a damaged waterline (the leak will stop after you’ve turned off the water if this is the case), you will need to open ceilings or walls to determine which area the leak is exactly coming from.ceiling-leakIf you notice the leak to be sporadic, then it’s important to determine if its happening when you bathe, shower, or flush the toilet. We have found over the years of leak detection experience and diagnostic work, that running a few simple, but important water tests will inform you of the cause of the leak.

Most times when it’s coming from the bath tub, it’s the overflow, the round chrome plate below the spout. We have found that our customers fill up the tub past this point and if the washer behind this plate is worn, then it cannot seal the water anymore between the tub and chrome plate therefore causing a leak to occur. Tubs usually have an access panel behind the tub, take a quick peek while your running the test.If its a shower causing the leak, then it’s typically from the grout, shower doors, or the trim (the trim is where the handle is to turn your shower on & off) is leaking between the tile and the plate. Again, running a water test by filling up a pitcher of water and running it over the shower trim, will determine the leak. You may have to run that test several times.When you run these tests above,  the best thing to do is block off the drain using blue tape, you want to isolate each test that you perform, because if you run the tests to fast then you may never really determine where it’s coming from.

Toilets can cause leaks to lower levels, typically when this occurs, the wax seal has gone bad, flush a few times and see if the water is leaking. (Make sure that all other water is off when you do this.)

You want to test the drains? Run water ONLY through the drains, one at a time. If there is a crack somewhere you will determine that pretty quickly. Cracked sewer lines can have cracks as thin as a hair, so it’s important to have an understanding how aggressive the leak is, depending on how much water is leaking. This will determine on how much water to run. You do not want to flood your own house by running a water test. It’s best to start with a little water and increase from there as needed.

Other Things to Look Out For

Shower Dam: You can block off the shower drain and fill it up about an inch below the top of the shower dam and let it sit for 24 hours. Mark the level of water and see if it drops.

Shower arm: The shower arm is the pipe that your shower head screws onto, sometimes the threads inside the wall get loose and cause leaks inside the wall.

Your overall tile and grout: Make sure that the tile is in overall good shape, this can fail along with caulking around the tub or shower. We have seen it over and over again here at The Twin Plumbers, where a simple grout job would have taken care of the leak.

It’s really important to maintain and be aware of all your plumbing fixtures, especially upstairs. Hope this helped, if you hire a plumber that is knowledgeable in leak detection, he should be able to find the cause of the leak within 2 hours, and the expected cost to pay for these types of water tests is $125.00 to $450.00 US Dollars. Sometimes other leak detection equipment is necessary.

For more information on ceiling leaks, or leak detection, call The Twin Plumbers today!