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Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

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  • Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

    Responded to a service call for a water leak the other night. When I arrived I saw that the kitchen wall of the town home was saturated. I cut a few small holes in the wall and used a camera to identify moisture. There was no moisture inside the wall, just on the base. After about an hour and a half of eliminating certain appliances, I thought it was the dishwasher but couldn't confirm that it was. I removed the dishwasher from the town home, pulled the refrigerator about 6' away from the wall, closed the ice-maker supply line off, helped the homeowner totally dry out the area and left. The following morning a water puddle appeared in the middle of the kitchen in about a 5' diameter with no indication of how it got there. They cleaned and dried the area. Around 3 pm water appeared in the area where the dishwasher was located. (The dishwasher was removed a day earlier) They cleaned and dried the area. I arrived the next day at 11am and it was dry. I one, by one flushed every w/c, turned on every fixture and filled to the FLR and drained. Nothing. The HVAC and the water heater TNP lines terminate on the opposite wall outside with on leaks. HVAC is gravity drained. After sitting there for about an hour contemplating what in the world it could be, right before my eyes, water (about a gallon) seeps out from under the cabinet where the DW was. It almost seems like it comes from under the linoleum flooring. But what would leak INTERMITTENTLY under a slab?

  • #2
    Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

    Stupid questions first...has it been raining and how much if so?

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    • #3
      Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

      Good question.... I should have mentioned it. No. Little if any rain lately. None today when it happened. Vent stack on opposite wall. Bathrooms on second floor are on opposite wall as well.

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      • #4
        Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

        One more thing..... I filled the washer up to the highest load capacity and drained the tub, washer, and flushed all three w/c at same time to challenge the main line so that if there was a leak in the top of the drain line it would appear. But it didn't happen. The water appears to be clean. (Not sewage)

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        • #5
          Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

          I had a garden apartment job with a similar situation. Water would suddenly appear in the middle of the kitchen floor during the day.
          This is in Chicago, the kitchen drains are run separately from the rest of the DWV.
          The main underground 6" kitchen drain was almost completely blocked with grease so whenever the three units above would run water for a length of time it would fill the pipe up with water and water would seep thru the joints on the pipe ( clay pipe) and eventually thru the cracks in the concrete floor.

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          • #6
            Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

            Pinhole leak in copper spraying under cabinet, pooling up and eventually spilling out.

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            • #7
              Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

              This job is in Atlanta and the black and gray water all go to the same 4" line. I even went next door to the neighbor who shares the same wall and did the same thing to no avail. They do not share a common sewer line. They terminate separately outside into a common line. I thought about that too before I left.

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              • #8
                Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                The water line enters the home on the opposite wall where it is distributed through the home (with gray poly) overhead. All the water lines run in between the ceiling and floor. Although the pinhole leak may be a viable answer but it would have to travel about 12'-15' to surface. That is a possibility.

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                • #9
                  Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                  What is above the kitchen and more specifically the dishwasher? It sounds like a slab leak if there is no water in the wall or steaming down the back side of a vent. Water is lazier than my wife. It can travel, but the path must make sense.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                    "Water is lazier than my wife."

                    That's good stuff.... Over the kitchen / dishwasher is a bedroom. Specifically, the bed. All of the upstairs bathrooms are on the opposite wall and drain down those walls. I listened to them drain when flushed.

                    I had literally just given up on this thinking this couple just spilled water all over the place while they were in a drunken stupor when it just started seeping out right in front of me.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                      I would go with a blockage in the drainage system and its seeping out at the lowest point.
                      Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                      A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                      Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                      Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                        Slab leak...are you on a meter? Shut down all stop valves and watch the meter. There will be a crack in the slab around the dw area. What sucks is the leak can be anywhere...the crack is just an outlet. Talk to your closest city utility and see if they have a bionic ear.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                          I may hire a leak locator. Sounds like the next logical step. I thought about the drain line leak but it surfaced a good 45 min after the last time someone drained anything.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                            If it was a supply pipe leak the puddle would show up each and every time. You stated they cleaned and dried the area that last time and you showed up at 11 am and all was dry. Then after you ran tons of water, 45 minutes later you got the puddle again. So that to me would suggest the area under the slab is filling with water from the drainage system and it just takes it some time to seep up through the crack. Who know the blockage might be in the common line where the neighbor sewer ties in, and 45 minutes after you ran a bunch of water the neighbors ran more which was finally enough to make the leak show itself.

                            If you think its a slab leak in the water supply then check the meter to see if its spinning. If it is not spinning, then go outside and open up the b box and put your key on it to see if you can hear water running.

                            One way to verify the drain is run a camera down the sewer and run water and see if it starts to back up.
                            Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                            A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                            Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                            Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Need the best diagnostic plumber on this one

                              Camera the line.... good idea. I'll try that too. It's about the only thing that I have not eliminated. Thanks guys. Will update you when I figure out what in the world this is.....

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