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Where is the water coming from

cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
So I recently noticed the walls connecting to my shower were soaked. After investigating I noticed there are no pipes leaking anywhere. I have radiant heating in my home and I feel like the moisture is coming through were the shower sits to try and escape through the walls. With the heat in the floor and the moisture it is possibly causing a sauna in my walls. Now through further investigation I have discovered moisture coming up through cracks in the slab. My question is how do I find where the water is coming from? Could it be a pinhole in the pipes underneath? Is there a way to locate the leak if there is one? Has anyone had an experience with something like this before?
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Comments

  • SuperTechSuperTech Member Posts: 1,212
    Is it possible for you to post some pictures of the radiant tubing and the leaks? It might make it easier for us to answer your questions.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 3,969
    If you're looking for leaks in a slab, might be easier to let it cool for a bit, then fire it up.
    Point a thermal imaging camera at it. You should see striping where the tubes are, and blob(s) where there is a leak.
    steve
    SENWiEco
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 3,087
    edited February 2019
    I dont know where your located. Is it possible it/was an ice dam on the roof?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 5,618
    Is the water forming near the exterior walls?
    Moisture from the humid air in your bathroom will condense on the cooler surfaces near the exterior of the building.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    SENWiEco
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    Turn the water supply off to the boiler. Taking note of the boiler pressure. Keep a close eye on the boiler pressure, if it is coming from the radiant the pressure will fall considerately.
    D
    SuperTech
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    The walls are on the interior of the house. I did turn off the water to the boiler. It did seem to drop a little but not a considerable amount. Granted it is cold out so I dont want to turn my boiler off for too long
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    you would need to close off makeup water feed as well to see a true pressure drop if their is a leak. Otherwise the feed will just keep letting in new water supply and maintain pressure. Be sure to remember to open back up before refiring boiler
    Sean Wiens
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    Didnt lose pressure. I'm stumped
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    edited February 2019
    Of the make up water to the boiler is off, and the boiler holds pressure the system is not leaking.

    Is it possible since you noticed water coming up through cracks in the slab that water from the shower is going into the slab with no where to go. Maybe the shower drain is leaking under the slab?

    Or the shower walls are weeping moisture into the wall cavities in the surround for the shower.
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    I just checked the shower drain and its not leaking. Maybe its leaking farther down the line. moisture does get behind the shower walls but it doesn't stay long and it doesn't seem like it's enough water to cause the amount of moisture that was back there
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    Shower drains can be tricky to find the leaks. Another thing to look at is the shower head where the pipe goes into the wall. Is the shower fiberglass, 1pc, 2pc, tile?
    D
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    Is there a leak/pin hole in the pipe that feeds the shower head and it leaks/sprays behind the wall when the shower is in use?
    DZoroSENWiEco
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    edited February 2019
    You never stated the shower wall, and pan construction. If water/moisture gets behind the shower walls, or under the pan it will build up to the point of saturation over time.

    So what I’m asking for is some detail in the shower construction walls, and pan.is the pan construction a lead, or pvc liner with dry pack mud bed then tile?
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    Looks like a shower kit where wall panels sit on top of pan with seams caulked with silicone. From your photo looks like framing and drywall around the shower is dry, there is just water sitting in pan. Things that could cause this:
    -leaking shower valve
    -leaking pipe from valve to shower head
    -leak in pipe leading to shower valve (would probably be more water if this unless just small pinhole)
    -broken caulking seal from pan of shower to walls
    - leak around the escutcheon plate so that when you take a shower and water bounces up against the shower wall, it flows behind the plate

    Don't forget, with this style of pan, the leak may be on any side of the shower and do to gravity falls to lowest point in pan.
    Sean Wiens
    GordyDZoro
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    Looks like you found the culprit. Clean the seams out, use a high grade silicone inside all the seams. Double check the shower head when it is on. Don't overlook the drain either.
    D
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    Is this enough water to complete soak my walls? The water flows right back into the tub after the water stops running. I'm talking dripping wet days after. Its dry now that all the walls are gone and haven't had a problem with moisture anywhere. I've even used the shower. Nothing
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    pour water (from a bucket) against the wall above the escutcheon (round metal plate that surrounds the 'tap'. Also put a rag in the drain and allow water to build up in basin to see if cause. Can you post pictures of interior of stall showing base and tap area. Has the wood walls and drywall ever been wet? Was there insulation in the wall?
    Sean Wiens
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    That should never get wet there. If it was coming from your radiant in the concrete, it would have to be spraying up onto the shower walls. Highly unlikely, but possible. I'd be watching and sealing the tub/shower.
    When the water hits the concrete it will follow a path of least resistance, like cracks, walls, low spots. When trying to find a leak source look for the highest wet area, water usually cant go up (unless sprayed up).
    D
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,367
    cons20 said:

    Is this enough water to complete soak my walls? The water flows right back into the tub after the water stops running. I'm talking dripping wet days after. Its dry now that all the walls are gone and haven't had a problem with moisture anywhere. I've even used the shower. Nothing

    Yes. Particularly if it has been going on for some time. It often comes as a surprise -- and a shock -- to find out just how little water it takes to completely soak a drywall panel, for instance...
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,090
    If you can valve off the zone that is the radiant, great, do that. But the leak probably is not coming from the heating.

    Do you have a shower spray attached to the shower head. Use it if you have one to check off the list below. If not use a bucket as @SENWiEco said.

    Usually when there is a leak like this one, you will need to spray water on all areas of the shower that are made of different materials, and are attached to your shower.
    For instance.
    -Grab bars
    -The shower head pipe that comes out of the wall.
    -The shower valve escutcheon plate. ( That's the cover that is around your shower valve against the shower wall.)
    -The strainer flange on the drain.
    -The drain.
    -Edges at the shower base.
    -Seems and joints on the shower/shower walls.
    -Seems at and around the shower base.
    -Hair line crack that only water can find on the shower stahl.

    You might have a leak on the shower valve that is flowing down to the floor as described in the picture. With that in mind, does the leak appear when you turn the shower on? You seem to have already checked for that. Look again when you turn the valve on.

    You should check all of these things. Do them one at a time.
    Make note of what you find because there could be more then one leak coming from different areas there.

  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    Have you checked to see if there is a crack anywhere in the shower pan? How high up did the walls get wet? Are you sure the wallboard/insulation isn't just wicking water from the floor level? How long have you been in this house? When did the problem start? Have you had a lot of rain/melting snow lately? Could the water table be really high and water seeping up through cracks in the concrete floor?
    Intplm.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    edited February 2019
    I’ll put it another way. If you were losing that much water from your heating system, you would have notice the pressure decrease once the fill was valved off.

    When the drywall was up it was sucking up moisture until it reached saturation. Then you discovered it as the drywall could not absorb anymore moisture.

    There should not be any water behind the surround if properly installed, and caulked.

    If the pan has a crack, or the drain is leaking at the pain attachment can be another path
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    I do not think it is the radiant heat. I'm thinking it could be the water table being high do to the record breaking amount of rain we had this year or a pipe is broken under my slab. Then the heat is causing the water to evaporate into the air and cant escape. I'm giving up and paying someone to come try and find a leak
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,090
    Wow! Water table too high? Thats a tough one. That means your concrete slab has a leak? The water table, if that is what it is, would come up from the drain penetration and, or the water piping penetration. Or the pipes are leaking under slab?
    Hope that you can get this resolved soon and inexpensively.
    Best of luck.
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    This is not water table or leak from below. Look at your photo, the slab (or subfloor - cannot tell from your photo) and framing below the pan are bone dry. Please send us pictures of the interior of the shower stall.
    Sean Wiens
    Gordy
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    Intplm. said:

    Wow! Water table too high? Thats a tough one. That means your concrete slab has a leak? The water table, if that is what it is, would come up from the drain penetration and, or the water piping penetration. Or the pipes are leaking under slab?
    Hope that you can get this resolved soon and inexpensively.
    Best of luck.

    It happens on some slab homes, especially if the slab has cracks in it. No different than in some basements, except the water table has to be almost at ground level or the house is sitting in a valley.
    Intplm.
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    My yard is like a swamp right now. I did find some small cracks in another part of the house where the carpet is wet. The concrete underneath is bone dry. There are no pipes above in this area
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    If the concrete underneath is bone dry then this is not coming from below. Please send photos
    Sean Wiens
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    Oh boy, hope you can do some water diversion soon! In those conditions it wont take long and mold is going to start growing if it hasn't already.
    D
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    cons20 said:

    My yard is like a swamp right now. I did find some small cracks in another part of the house where the carpet is wet. The concrete underneath is bone dry. There are no pipes above in this area

    Is this a frame or brick veneer house? Are all the wet spots (carpeted area and shower) on an outside wall? How close to ground level is the sill plate? Does it look like water can penetrate the sill plate, in those areas?
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,090
    What is your location? Snow and and rain coming in some areas this March. That can mean a lot of extra surface , ground water and a higher water table.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,523
    To push water up through cracks Of a slab on grade the top of slab elevation would have to be lower than the surrounding grade, or water level if the yard is flooded.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    Yard might be graded towards house or up to top of slab where it meets the sill plate. OP says carpet was wet but slab under it was dry. Most carpet pads these days are foam/rubber based which leads me to believe water is entering above slab, at least in that room.
  • DZoroDZoro Member Posts: 1,032
    Are you on city water or your own well system?
    You could check your water system by turning the well off, or city valve off. Don't use any water for as long as possible. If on your own well keep eye on the pressure gauge. If on city water it's a little harder for the test but you should have a full burst(short)of pressure after your test period.
    If the boiler has no leak, you could have the water to it off for days and not see a drop in pressure. But it needs to be supervised carefully.
    @Fred is on to something about the padding, unless you don't have a rubber style padding with the radiant flooring, or no padding.
    Still need to address the shower/tub, you may have 2 issues here.
    D
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    edited February 2019
    I still think we are leading @cons20 in the wrong direction and freaking them out needlessly. As @DZoro stated - "water cannot usually go up". If the concrete below the plastic shower pan is dry and the framing below the shower pan is dry, and shower pan is at least a few inches above that concrete (looks like at least a 6" drop in photo - not sure what is holding up pan), then the water cannot be coming from below the pan height. The only way this could be caused by yard flooding is if the other side of the shower pan (that we can not see in photo) is against a foundation wall that is leaking and the shower pan elevation is below grade.
    Sean Wiens
    DZoroGordy
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    My house is a concrete slab with block walls. All the moisture I have actually seen looks like a sauna....it is hot and all the moisture has stopped at the header. Nothing is above that.... no water stains no damage. The shower is more toward the middle of the house.. the house is on a slab with radiant heat throughout. It seems like water is heating up and causing like a steam in the walls. This is just a theory. I've had no moisture anywhere since I've taken the walls out. It is supposed to snow and rain all day Wednesday so I will check above again to see if there is moisture but as of right now on have no evidence of the water coming from above
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,374
    I asked earlier in this string if the shower and area of the wet carpet were on outside walls. Didn't get an answer. More interesting is if both areas are on the same outside wall? It could be as simple as a gutter that has a clogged down spout or sag and water is running down the outside siding/brick. Brick walls typically have a few weep holes so that moisture can get out. Those holes also let water in if grade or gutters aren't right. Of course we all know wood siding can let water in any number of places. I thought it interesting that the insulation is wet. Everyone seems to be looking for an inside/in slab leak, to no avail. I suspect an outside issue. Of course I could be wrong, one of us has to be right, maybe.
  • cons20cons20 Member Posts: 13
    It's all on an inside wall
  • SENWiEcoSENWiEco Member Posts: 82
    edited February 2019
    Interior location with dry slab below can only mean one thing. Moisture is coming from above. Based on your current comment about the "sauna" I would guess a pin hole leak in your hot water supply. Remove enough of the drywall off the wall behind the shower valve (you already have drywall repairs to do and a little more will cost you nothing) to stick in a camera and take pictures in a 360º. Make sure you get photos of the piping leading up to the shower valve and the valve itself. Pretty sure that is where the culprit will be. If not, need to trace the path of domestic hot water lines.

    But before doing anything, use a rag to mop up the moisture you see in the posted photo so that you can accurately assess when it gets wet again.

    Like I mentioned in a PM to you, I used to investigate water leaks for a living in my previous life as a home inspector, so I have seen the typical areas leaks develope.

    What do you mean re term "header".

    Sean Wiens
    Keifer301
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