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  • Mystery seepage

    I went into the spare bedroom this morning and knew something was wrong when I sunk into a wet carpet. After I cleaned it up, I noticed most of the water seemed to originate from the closet which backs up to the guest bathroom. I tore up the carpet and cut away the drywall because I have Pb and immediately thought that was the cause. It doesn’t look like the Pb anywhere in that wall is leaking. I have attached two pictures. One shows where the water is pooling up, I drew a black circle there. It pools up about an ounce every 5 minutes. It just appears there, I vacuum it and it appears again. The other picture shows where the Pb comes in from the outside service line. By the way, this is South Florida. The Pb coming in the house is ¾ but the service line on the other side of the wall is one inch. There must be a reducer fitting in the exterior wall which is cement block. As you can see from the photo it looks like the hole was done somewhat clumsily, like maybe with a sledge hammer instead of a drill. Do you think it is possible that the fitting in the wall failed and is leaking inside the block and seeping up where the black circle is even though that is a foot or two away? The other weird thing is that right where the black circle is, the cement is a different texture. The rest is smooth but this area is sort of rough like maybe it was busted up after the slab was poured and then filled in again and not smoothed properly. I also went outside and looked where the service line comes in but the ground looks fine – not wet or anything. I have done a lot of minor plumbing on my own house but will probably call a plumber for this. I just wanted to narrow down the problem first. The house is 20 years old. Any ideas? Sorry to be so wordy here.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: Mystery seepage

    Check for a leak on the poly water line. Polybutylene will spray a very fine mist. I have found leaks on poly with my hand that i couldn't see with my eyes......very fine mist. Use a sheet of paper..hold the paper off the pipe a few inches while moving it along the pipe...see if the paper gets wet.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mystery seepage

      Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
      Check for a leak on the poly water line. Polybutylene will spray a very fine mist. I have found leaks on poly with my hand that i couldn't see with my eyes......very fine mist. Use a sheet of paper..hold the paper off the pipe a few inches while moving it along the pipe...see if the paper gets wet.
      Let me get my dirty clothes back on and go try that right now. Thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mystery seepage

        Can you get a few fingers on the pipe behind the metal stud to see if its wet there it looks wet on top of the plate ?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mystery seepage

          Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
          Check for a leak on the poly water line. Polybutylene will spray a very fine mist. I have found leaks on poly with my hand that i couldn't see with my eyes......very fine mist. Use a sheet of paper..hold the paper off the pipe a few inches while moving it along the pipe...see if the paper gets wet.
          Hey there Mr Master. I did as you said. The paper did not get wet but as a result of me sticking my head farther up in there I think I found the problem. The 3/4 poly looks like it makes a u-turn inside of the cinder block. I found a small hole there in the poly below the copper crimp ring.. I was able to touch it and it is not spraying but it is definitely coming out of there. You can see the small slit. I think the broken chunks of concrete block sitting on it for 20 years finally rubbed through. I had to remove all the broken chunks to see this. Not sure what to do now. Maybe I will just drill a new hole for the service line about two feet closer to the closet so it enters the house inside of the closet wall. There is no way anybody could work on it in the present location.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by sunrisejim; 01-03-2011, 06:54 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mystery seepage

            Originally posted by DELCASE View Post
            Can you get a few fingers on the pipe behind the metal stud to see if its wet there it looks wet on top of the plate ?
            No but I was able to get the peice of paper in there and everything looks good in that particular area. I think the plate was wet because the water came in from the end of the plate after it got about an 1/8 of an inch high in that cirlcled area.
            Last edited by sunrisejim; 01-03-2011, 06:52 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Mystery seepage

              Remove the rest of that broken block and make sure thats the only pipe. That could be a header with multiple connections. If its the only one pipe then you can bypass it easily.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mystery seepage

                Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                Remove the rest of that broken block and make sure thats the only pipe. That could be a header with multiple connections. If its the only one pipe then you can bypass it easily.
                The rest of the broken pieces you see in that picture are actually cemented back in place very sloppily. This must have been done before the tub was installed when the house was built. I am afraid to jerk on them too hard or hit them in anyway because it might further damage the poly. Let me try to stick my head back up in there with the camera. I didn't think there would be a multiple connection in an exterior wall but you may be right. Man my shoulders and arms are sore just from trying to get a good look at this problem.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mystery seepage

                  Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                  Remove the rest of that broken block and make sure thats the only pipe. That could be a header with multiple connections. If its the only one pipe then you can bypass it easily.
                  I sure am glad I looked at it again. I can't get a good picture or explain it very well but I think it does have multiple connections or at least two. I am thinking now the poly does not make a u-turn but it is a multiple connection. The poly in the open is for that particular bathroom, but the poly with the leak actually looks separate from that one and looks like it goes straight down into the slab. I am guessing that piece then goes onto the kitchen and master bath. I will call a plumber in the morning because this is too difficult for me. How will he get to this? Will we have to remove the tub? And just to satisfy my own curiosity, is this normal construction to have a multiple connection in an exterior wall with a line entering the slab from inside the cinder block. Now I know why they probably used a sledgehammer to knock out such a huge hole in the wall to install a multiple connection. I really appreciate the advice.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mystery seepage

                    Originally posted by sunrisejim View Post
                    I sure am glad I looked at it again. I can't get a good picture or explain it very well but I think it does have multiple connections or at least two. I am thinking now the poly does not make a u-turn but it is a multiple connection. The poly in the open is for that particular bathroom, but the poly with the leak actually looks separate from that one and looks like it goes straight down into the slab. I am guessing that piece then goes onto the kitchen and master bath. I will call a plumber in the morning because this is too difficult for me. How will he get to this? Will we have to remove the tub? And just to satisfy my own curiosity, is this normal construction to have a multiple connection in an exterior wall with a line entering the slab from inside the cinder block. Now I know why they probably used a sledgehammer to knock out such a huge hole in the wall to install a multiple connection. I really appreciate the advice.
                    I personally would have made the header in the inside wall and not behind the tub. The problem with removing the tub for the repair on the poly is you might hafta get back to it in the future...that means removing the tub again. 20+ year polybutylene is not the most reliable pipe. I would bypass it if possible. Whats the pitch on your roof.... Have plenty of attic space?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mystery seepage

                      Originally posted by TheMaster View Post
                      I personally would have made the header in the inside wall and not behind the tub. The problem with removing the tub for the repair on the poly is you might hafta get back to it in the future...that means removing the tub again. 20+ year polybutylene is not the most reliable pipe. I would bypass it if possible. Whats the pitch on your roof.... Have plenty of attic space?
                      It is a 4/12 pitch but I have been up there many times running coax and cat 5 and doing other things. I have always been comfortable crawling through attics. Believe it or not I was actually going to replace the Pb with Uponor Pex A this winter while it is cool up there, but never seemed to be able to find the time. I know the reputation of Pb. A neighbor of mine even had a hard time selling her house because of it. I sure wish this didn't happen right now. Oh well-this is not a life shattering event-just a minor speed bump on the road of life.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mystery seepage

                        The plumber is here now. He knocked a hole in the wall from outside instead of removing the tub. Looks like he is using sharkbites. I didnt know you could use them on Pb but he says you can.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mystery seepage

                          they aren't rated for polybutalyne but they do work.

                          Originally posted by sunrisejim View Post
                          The plumber is here now. He knocked a hole in the wall from outside instead of removing the tub. Looks like he is using sharkbites. I didnt know you could use them on Pb but he says you can.
                          No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mystery seepage

                            Originally posted by sunrisejim View Post
                            The plumber is here now. He knocked a hole in the wall from outside instead of removing the tub. Looks like he is using sharkbites. I didnt know you could use them on Pb but he says you can.
                            Its a temporary repair at best and now you have a repair to make to the exterior but I understand that was the easiest way to get the leak stopped right now and still have water on. I personally would have used crimp fittings but people work differently. To each his own.

                            Expect it to leak if its there long enough. How long? Depends on the condition of the pipe and the expansion and contraction rates. Sooner or later the teeth in the sharkbite will puncture the wall of the pipe and it will fail.
                            Last edited by TheMaster; 01-05-2011, 10:28 AM. Reason: Greenplumb posted approved sharkbites for poly.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Mystery seepage

                              Originally posted by MoJourneyman View Post
                              they aren't rated for polybutalyne but they do work.
                              SharkBite U4016 Polybutylene Conversion Coupling 3/4" x 3/4"

                              • <LI itxtvisited="1">Model #: U4016 <LI itxtvisited="1">Part #: 144677
                              • Manufacturer: Cash Acme
                              SharkBite U4016 Polybutylene Conversion Coupling 3/4” x 3/4”. SharkBite push-fit fittings are the fastest, easiest way to join copper, CPVC and PEX in any combination – wet or dry. Simply cut the pipe, de-burr and push on the fitting. SharkBite fittings can easily be removed and are reusable.


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