• Geoff Burke

Where Is That Leak Coming From?



Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode of “How NOT to Call the Plumber!”. Although it was a great initiative, I’m very thankful that there is no need for Candy Chutes this year – Happy Halloween!


This week, we’re going to show you how we would go about identifying the source of a leak. Although it doesn’t seem too complicated, unless you know what you’re doing, it can be a bit tougher than you’d expect! Finding the source of the leak is of course the first step when planning for a fix, so let’s start there!


Let’s start with a common scenario. It’s 9pm and you go down to the basement to finish the laundry. Walking down the stairs, you notice a small stream of water on the ground below you (you know this is an ultra-realistic scenario, since a leak can never seemingly be found during regular business hours). Now you’re half in a panic, trying to find the number of a reliable emergency plumber on Google – not a good place to be!


If you do find yourself in this situation, you’re going to want to go through these steps to try and identify/stop the leak:


First, you want to follow the water. Normally, where you actually see the water isn’t where the leak is occurring. Naturally, water will find it’s way to the lowest point (gravity is a beautiful thing!). If you see a stream of water on the floor, follow that stream to find where the source is. This brings us to step 2.


LOOK UP! Following the same trend as before, water is susceptible to gravity the same way everything else is. If when looking up you don’t see a dripping pipe or something like that, think to yourself “what is above me?”. Is it the kitchen? Is it the bathroom? All of this starts to give you a better and better idea of what is happening.

Lastly, we’re going to want to identify if the leak is coming from the water pipes themselves, the drain, or somewhere else such as the roof, foundation wall, etc. To do this takes a relatively simple understanding of the plumbing system. The first question you have to ask yourself – is the drip happening consistently and constantly, or is it just happening once in a while when we use a particular fixture?


If it is a consistent drip, that tells us that is it most likely from the water pipes themselves. Since the water piping is always under pressure, it will force that water consistently out of the damaged pipe in into the ceiling, etc. If this is the case, go to your main shut off valve and close it. Open all of the faucets in the house and allow the water to drain out of the water piping system. This should stop the water from dripping (keep in mind it may take quite a few minutes for the water to slow down or stop, as it will often pool in the ceiling, etc.). If after some time the water still hasn’t slowed down or stopped (especially if it is raining), we are most likely dealing with a roofing/waterproofing issue.


If the leak is occurring only when using a particular fixture, it is most likely going to be an issue with the drain, as the only time water is in the drain is when it’s in use! Of course, if this is the case, don’t use that fixture until it is fixed.


I hope this quick lesson today has given you a bit more insight into what we do, as well as helped you to help yourself in the future! That’s it for today – I hope you all have a great weekend and we’ll see you next time!

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