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Downstairs shower leak....

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  • Downstairs shower leak....

    Hello plumbing experts (NO that is NOT me ),

    Ok here's the low-down on our issue...
    we have a house built in 1978-1979 area and we have a spare bathroom in our basement with a toilet, sink, washer/dryer and a shower. A few months ago we noticed our shower was leaking into the living room area (opposite side of the bathroom wall) and so we took a look around at the shower, turns out it was also leaking into our furnace closet which is right beside the shower. Well we were tired of the leaking and only having one shower in our house so we decided to tear out the old fiberglass shower that was our basement shower (an upright standing shower). We initially thought that it was the base of the shower that was leaking but once we got the shower ripped up and checked out...turns out that isn't the case at all. So we were then left with having to put a new shower in this place. We got one all ready to go and the pipe was sticking up out of the floor about 2-3 inches so we had to find a rubber piece to fit down over the pipe (which is metal) and then try to get the new screw in pieces to fit snuggley and nicely into this new rubber piece. My Dad and husband (Dad is very handy and has done many do-it-yourself projects) got the new shower base/pan all set in there and balanced/leveled and ready to go. He sealed the inside of the drain and screwed the drain pieces in tightly and they sealed the top before putting the drain cap (with the little holes for the H2O to drain down the actual pipe) in place. We got all the new sheet rock put in, taped, mudded and painted. Hubby took the first shower in it yesterday (monday)...I checked the floor, no wet, second shower....I checked the floor.....WET
    I am out of ideas on what to do next, I am SOOOO frustrated with the water issues and such. If it leaks out under the wall it is tearing up carpet to dry it out and get it cleaned up. The plumber came and put in new pipes for us for the shower head and such when we put the shower in so that isn't our problem....I am SURE our plumber is tired of hearing from us as we have called numerous times for other issues....hard water and metal pipes don't mix well....

    Any ideas for us????

    P.S. we didn't seal all the seams since it is a snap together shower but the water looked to be coming from underneath the shower pan and not from down a wall.

    Thank you in advance for you expertise

  • #2
    Re: Downstairs shower leak....

    Supply pictures, please, of offending areas, hard to understand set-up from description. You say spare bathroom in basement with shower, and then shower leaking into the living room area. Living room is in basement too? Were all leaks seepages from the floor of the shower, is that why you think base of shower at fault?


    • #3
      Re: Downstairs shower leak....

      Are you sure its not the furnace? If you have a high efficiency unit it will have a drain for condensation. Also, if you have air conditioning that as well has a condensation drip line. Both of these should be plumbed to a floor drain or electric powered sump pump usually mounted on the side of the furnace and it will pump it to a drain somewhere. If not those then it might be the shower, but being you just replaced it all it might be something else making it look like its the shower. Just another thing to check just in case.


      • #4
        Re: Downstairs shower leak....

        Have somebody in the furnace room while while you run the shower to see where the water is coming from. Could be a lot of things. Is your hot water heater in the furnace room? Could be your T & P vavle. When was the last time you had your septic tank pumped ? How well does the toilet flush right after running the shower ?


        • #5
          Re: Downstairs shower leak....

          There are two tools that I like to use for trouble shooting shower leaks. The first is an adapter the goes from ½” IPS to garden hose. The second, is a rubber stop that allows me to check whether the pan is leaking. At the end of each step, look for leaks, repair-if needed, and continue testing. You may have multiple leaks, contributing to your problem.
          First the flow in.
          1. Does shower leak appear when no one is using the Shower? If so, inspect piping to shower valve.
          2. Next remove shower head and connect adapter. Run hose to nearest non-shower drain, eg toilet, lavatory, floor drain. Do not get shower walls or interior wet.
          Turn cold and allow to run for 5 minutes. Inspect for leaks. Then the hot, for 5 minutes. Then, both. This checks for leaks in the piping up to the shower head and leaks from the valve.
          Next, flow out
          1. Shower should still be dry up to this point. Next, stick the hose down the shower drain. Turn on and allow to run. This tests the trap and connections.
          2. Next, block flow out of drain-rags, rubber stop, a dam built from plumbers putty, etc. Then use the hose to fill the shower base up to an ½” from overflowing the curb. allow to sit for 10 -15 minutes. This tests the shower pan.
          3. Remove stop. Now test the walls. They should be dry up to this point. Turn the flow on low and using the hose, cover the 1eft wall. Up to 1’, direct the water to seams and cracks. Then center wall, up to 1’. Then the right wall up to 1’. If your shower has four walls or a glass door- move in a clockwise fashion. This is a methodical procedure. Continue this process moving up 1’ foot each time- until entire enclosure has been tested.
          4. Next, I move to the outside. I slowly pour water at the outside base of the curb. If this causes the leak it is usually because one of the shower users does not close the door, close the curtain, or likes to play with the spray attachments.
          Last edited by Mark7; 03-22-2012, 11:43 PM.