Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
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Josiet
Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
Josiet

I'm a new homeowner of an older home - 1937. I noticed that the plaster in the ceiling in the kitchen is cracked and bubbled. This wasn't there before. I assume since I moved in, there is a leak from the bathroom directly above. How do I determine what's going on? Is this something a plumber could figure out looking at the bathroom. I think the culprit is the bathtub. but I don't know if there's a leaky pipe hidden in the walls or something like that. I don't see anything obvious in the bathroom. Would a plumber have some tools that can find the source? sorry for the basic question. this is my first house. I've had some tough experiences already getting convinced to make changes by my initial general contractor on problems that I found out later were simple fixes.

dj1
Re: Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
dj1

Most plumbers have an eye for such things, others have to break walls to find out. And the worst kind, break walls like butchers. Then they tell you to get a drywall man and a painter to finish their demolition.

Since you are unable to pin point the source of the leak, you will need to call some plumbers for their opinions. Whatever you do, insist on them being surgeons, not butchers. Well, good luck finding a plumber/surgeon, but you know what I mean.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
Sombreuil_mongrel

He has to approach from opposite side of the adjoining wall (the wall where the tub faucet is) or up through the ceiling. The wall is more informative anyway; he can see if the drain or the valve/supplies are the culprit. If you don't already have an access panel there, you soon will. They make access panels ready-made, just buy the right size and have the new hole cut to match.
Casey

keith3267
Re: Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
keith3267

If you think it is the tub, then the problem is likely the shoe. This is the the drain. The drain has the lip you see, the pipe that goes down through the tub to the drain lines has an external thread. It screws into the pipe below. A plumber will have a tool that fits down into the shoe to unscrew it from the drain. He can then either install a new shoe and gasket, or just replace the gasket and reuse the existing shoe.

You can buy this tool at any hardware store, but a plumber will also check the alignment of the drain and if necessary, make adjustments and make sure the sections of the drain are not leaking. He may need to put new seals in them as well.

You should have an access panel on the opposite side of the wall where the drain is. It is to get at all the plumbing for the tub so he should not have to tear everything up. The access panel was pretty typical in older homes, many of todays homes don't have one.

Edit: this might help. http://www.ehow.com/video_8443442_repair-foot_lock-bathtub-drain.html

Josiet
Re: Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
Josiet

Thank you very much. I hope the issue is as simply as opening up the drain. Will have that checked with a licensed plumber.

I don't think I have an access panel. Everything looks tiled up.

https://housetudor.shutterfly.com/pictures/26

A. Spruce
Re: Seeking advice on how to troubleshoot potential plumbing leak
A. Spruce

I once had a tub leak into a ceiling cavity, turns out it was simply a loose overflow cover plate. With the plate loose, it wasn't squeezing the gasket tight against the back of the tub, which leaked when splashing around in the tub got into the overflow. This would be the easiest place to start, as it will not take any exploratory surgery to figure out if this is the leak point or not, simply remove the overflow cover and have a look.

If this isn't the source of the leak then you will be relegated to exploratory surgery to find the source. As was earlier said, you want someone who knows what they're doing to carefully open up an inspection hole or two. The more care taken creating the hole, the less time and expense to patch it once the leak is cured. Specific tradesmen tend not to care what damage they do outside of their own work because they're not the ones who have to fix it (i.e., blasting a hole through a wall with an ax rather than surgical cuts). For this reason you may want to call a general contractor who can handle the whole job himself, or a good handyman who is well versed in plumbing and drywall. Worst case scenario, plumber hacks a hole, someone else fixes it.

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