Finding the Source of a Leak After Heavy Rain
LESLIE: Now we’re going to take a call from Linda in Florida who seems to have some sort of a leak.
Linda, what’s going on?
LINDA: Well, I just bought the house a little while ago, about a month ago. And after a heavy rain, after like two days of heavy rain, in my bedroom, which is backed up to the bathroom, there was a pile of water in the corner of my – in the bedroom. And I thought it might have been the bathroom but I don’t know what it is. There’s no ceiling damage, there’s no wall damage, nothing else was wet except for a corner of the bedroom floor.
LESLIE: Do you have a pet that’s hiding? (Tom chuckles)
LINDA: No. No. But you know, the thing of it is, when I looked at the house, there was a big rust spot over there in that corner; so this has happened before.
TOM: Hmm. Now is it under a roof; in particular, this area?
LINDA: Yeah. It’s under a – yeah, it’s my bedroom.
TOM: You think it’s coming down the wall and then leaking onto the floor?
LINDA: No. The wall is absolutely – I checked the wall; it was dry. There’s not a water spot. There’s nothing.
TOM: But it seems to be associated with rain.
LINDA: Well, I really don’t know because I – at first I thought it was the bathroom because it’s backed up to the shower.
TOM: Right. Have you been running an air conditioner lately?
LINDA: There is no central air. There’s one air conditioner in the wall out in the living room.
TOM: Hmm. Well, first thing that you need to determine is whether or not it’s associated with rain. If it’s associated with rain, then it’s obviously coming in the roof somewhere. And the thing is, it could be coming in higher than where you actually see it; so it could be coming in higher, running under the roof framing, and then running down, and then dripping out.
LINDA: Like down into the walls.
TOM: Yes, exactly, and then coming out somewhere. And so it’s probably not directly above where you’re finding it. Sometimes it could happen up even higher than that.
Now if it’s not part of rain, then it’s obviously got to be part of a plumbing system next and that’s going to involve tracing down the pipes and trying to figure out where they run and at what point there could be a leak in the pipe. But it’s more than likely something in the roof that’s causing this and you just have to get to the bottom of where it is. Can you get into the attic above this area?
LINDA: I think I could. I haven’t even looked in the attic.
TOM: Well, it’d be worth going up there with a real strong flashlight and poking around and seeing if you can see any water stains that might be coming in the roof sheathing or around the roof framing. That might give you another clue.
TOM: Typically, when you get a leak, it’s usually where something goes through the roof like a plumbing pipe or a chimney or an intersection with a wall; so that might give you some hints, too.
LINDA: OK. Wonderful.
TOM: OK, Linda? Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.
You got a leak? You got a squeak? Call us right now. We’ll do our best to help you out.