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Thread: baffled? water through ceiling

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member brnt999's Avatar
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    Default baffled? water through ceiling

    I recently renovated my bathroom. I moved the toilet, installed a whirlpool tub, built a tub surround, installed ditra and tiled the floors and walls. I installed some shutoff valves on the hot and cold water lines coming into the bathroom.

    Two months later I was sitting in my living room when I heard a wirring noise--like a fan--and water started pouring thru my ceiling.( the bathroom is on the second floor)

    I shutoff the main water valves in the basement, had a panic attack, then had someone turn the water back on so I could see where the leak was coming from. There was no leak. At first I thought the leak was coming from the whirlpool tub but then realized the tub was empty so it can't be the tub, and I have since run the tub with no problems. I eventually did discover a relatively small leak where the shower arm threads into the waterline fitting. I was able to turn the shower arm another revolution and the leak stopped.

    So now I am baffled. I dont want to repair the ceiling without understanding where the leak came from. I installed Sharkbite type shut off fittings on the main water lines. Is it possible the seal gave way and then reset itself? (they are not leaking) Is it possible there was a pressure surge in the water lines and a joint at one of my fittings failed but then reset itself after the pressure returned to normal? ( I installed copper lines and fittings) Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    we have absolutely nothing to go on to give you an answer. Few fittings will leak and then repair themselves, including SharkBites. You haven't said whether someone was using the tub when this happened.

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Can you have someone else turn on the whirlpool pump while you are on the 1st floor, to see if the sound is the same "whirring" sound you heard before?

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    DIY Junior Member brnt999's Avatar
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    There was no one using the tub. There was no water in the tub. The sound of the whirlpool pump is not the sound I heard. I believe the sound I heard was water under pressure being released. Like if a pipe or a hose broke. But there was no pipe or hose that is broken and everything works fine.

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    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Looks like you've had this mysterious symptom before, like January 2010 when you posted this:

    ************************************************** ****************************************
    whirlool tub leak help!
    About a year and a half ago I remodelled my upstairs bathroom. Among other things I installed a whirlpool tub.
    The other evening I was watching television and at the back of my mind I heard an unusual sound--at the time I though it was a fan blade making a whirring noise. A short time later I got up and while walking to the kitchen i noticed water was coming through the drywall ceiling directly below my upstairs bathroom. I shut the main water valve off in the basement. The next day I shut the valves off that control the water that goes to my tub and shower and turned the main water on and no water leaked. Today I cautiously turned the water back on to the tub and shower and no water leaked.

    I am not about to turn the whirlpool tub on.

    I am speculating that a hose on the whirlpool tub sprung a leak and the sound I heard was the pressure being released. Is the water in the tubes in a whirlpool tub under pressure when the tub is turned off?

    Maybe a seal or something blew in the pump.

    I have a hatch at the back of my tub apron that opens up that gives me access to the pump and I don't see any specific location where it is leaking.( its been 2 days since the leak). I cannot see all of the tub tubes from the hatch so I cannot
    see a tube that is leaking. If it is a tube leak I will have to dismantel my tub apron which I tiled over.

    Any suggestions on what I should do next?

    Thanks
    ************************************************** ****************


    You didn't post any follow up on this - what happened back then?

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    DIY Junior Member brnt999's Avatar
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    Its the same incident. I got busy at work and am only now getting around to fixing the ceiling. I have been using the tub without the whirlpool up until a few days ago. I guess it is just a mystery. I was thinking maybe someone around here had a similar experience but I guess not. Maybe I will send a letter to Unsolved Mysterys.

  7. #7
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    It is a puzzle, isn't it?

    Even though no one was in the BR at the time, the whirring noise still seems to be the key to me. Yes, could be running water, but could be an electric motor. I'm still wondering if the pump motor switched on, somehow, and pumped some standing water in the hoses in the whirlpool through an open union like one of the posters said in the old thread.

    Like HJ said, conventional plumbing joints don't catastrophically open up then heal themselves. So not likely at all that a conventional toilet, shower valve, or sink faucet, or their supply lines, would behave this way.

    Is there anything else at all unusual in the bathroom in question? Say, a circulator pump?

  8. #8
    DIY Junior Member brnt999's Avatar
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    Default baffled

    No. When I opened up the ceiling the leak was directly below the P Trap for the tub drain, although the main water lines also are there also.

    I am thinking this:the shark tooth shut off valves are also above the leak. The lines run up vertically from the basement thru a wall. The water lines below the shutoff valves are secured below, in the basement, the line above the shut off valves are secured above. I believe copper water lines can flex with temperature changes, or even buildings can shift. The lines either above or below the sharktooth shutoff valves shifted and didnt enter the valves straight and the seal was broken. I turned off the main water supply and the lines flexed back and the seal was re-established. Thats the only thing I can think of.

  9. #9
    DIY Senior Member SteveW's Avatar
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    Interesting theory.

    Makes me wonder about thermal expansion. Any chance that a large amount of hot water was used right before this event?

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    DIY Junior Member brnt999's Avatar
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    Default leak

    It happened so long ago I cant remember.

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