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Drip, Drip, Drip

In my upstairs bathroom whenever a large volume of water goes down the drain (bath tub, running faucets) I hear a dripping noise in the wall near my large main vertical drain pipe. I have snaked all pipes. The noise is like water dripping onto sheet rock and gets so loud that you can here the drips in the bathroom and also downstairs when the dish washer is emptying out its water. I have ruled out the noise inside the drain pipe itself (basically trying to emphasis that I can distinguish between normal draining water inside the pipe and water dripping outside the pipe). . When I put my ear directly to the wall I can hear the water hitting the sheet rock and feel the vibrations with each drip. Sometimes it sounds like it is in the wall and other times the dripping noise sounds like it is in the ceiling which would be a few feet below the roof/attic/drain venting pipe. (the bathroom i am talking about here is the top floor so only a tight attic is above this floor) The way it appears to me is that once a large volume of water has gone down the vertical main drain pipe (which runs from upper floor down through main level and ends in basement) water may be backing up and starting to drip out further up the pipe. There is no sign of any water damage anywhere and basically I am living in fear that water is dripping in between walls and disaster could be building. I noticed this once we moved in to the house despite our inspector signing off that everything was A OK. Nothing has changed to cause this to start happenin as I have heard it within days of moving in. I have done liquid plumber, snaked every branch that goes to the main vertical drain and still hear the dripping noise. Sometimes I hear it even a good 30, 45, even 60 minutes after water has finished draining. The house is a townhouse 3 floors, 3 BR 2.5 bath. All the baths are basically on top of each other in terms of location on each floor and all branch drain pipes to fixtures, toilets, dishwasher, sink etc. are pretty close to the vertical drain. As a final note, the vent pipe for the main vertical drain which vents to the roof has lots of caulk, old rags, and pans around it in the attic as if the previous owner tried to fix the same problem, however all of these things are bone dry. Also, I want to emphasize for your thoughts that the dripping noise seems, many times, to be in the ceiling. However since this is the top floor in my townhouse no water pipes/drains or anything is above this level of the house and obviously the ceiling, only the venting goes up there. It would seem strange though that water draining would defy gravity and go up into the attic and then drip down on the ceilng above the bathroom. But of course, no sign of water in the attic. Thank you so so much for your help and did my best to give all of you as much information as possible. -Eric

Re: Drip, Drip, Drip

I know that a plumber can do a test on your drainage system to check for leaks. I believe it is common practice in new construction where the entire drainage line is filled with water (blocking off drainage out the house)and left to sit for a certain amount of time. Obvious leaks can be detected rather quickly. I own a four story home and had a bathroom installed on the fourth floor. The plumber who did the work did such a test, and a small crack was found in a 4" bend in the PVC somewhere in the second floor.

Re: Drip, Drip, Drip

Willbee, Thank you kindly. It sounds pretty standard so I will see about bringing in a plumber to do such a test. Thanks for taking the time to reply to me. If anyone else has a suggestion as well, I am open to anything. Thanks again.

Re: Drip, Drip, Drip

Have you ruled out regular expansion and contraction noises of the pipes? I have a sink that causes the drain pipe to make a ticking or tapping noise when hot or cold water pass through. It continues to pop for a while until the pipe is back to normal ambient temperature. When we first moved in it really concerned me, but once I realized that it was just noise, I started ignoring it.

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