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Rick, Construction Supervisor
Category: Plumbing
Satisfied Customers: 22022
Experience:  Licensed Master plumber with 40+ yrs. experience.
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Just over a year ago we had a wet room installed on the top

Customer Question

Just over a year ago we had a wet room installed on the top floor of a 3 storey house. About a week go there was a big water leak onto the 2nd floor below after the shower was used. I have taken down some of the ceiling on this floor and some of the wall in the hall on the top floor behind the shower to take a look. Since doing this the leak has never reappeared.
The shower itself has a small wall mounted showerhead and a larger overhead showerhead. I have since run the small showerhead on the wall in hot and cold..nothing. The same has been done for the main ceiling-mounted shower..still nothing.
I even borrowed an endoscope and tried to have a closer look at some of the less accessible areas but can see nothing happening when the shower is run. There is an indication of a poosible leak at the connection between the shower controller and the pipe to the overhead showerhead. It is hard to say if this was the culprit or not. I don't want to assume this was the cause, make a repair here and board everything back up only for this to happen again.
I am baffled by the failure to reproduce this leak. It was not a drop or two. Any suggestions as to how I could ascertain the source of the leak would be appreciated.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Plumbing
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
If you watched the connections between the shower valve and the shower heads and nothing showed then the leak could be where the valve trim or the hand shower penetrates the wall. It could also be where the drain meets the floor membrane. The first thing to look at/locate is the wet spot behind the wall or ceiling that remains from the original leak. The one factor likely missing from your testing is someone in the room actually taking a shower. This is a critical variable. When someone is taking a shower there is a stress load on the floor and at the drain and water bouncing off the person
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We looked at all you suggest and did have someone take a shower while i tried to investigate. No sign of any leak. Any other suggestions?
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
Did you locate the wet spot behind the wall or ceiling?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No wet patches behind wall. We located the path along the ceiling and as the water was pouring down, this wasnt hard to see. However, it hasn't helped in locating the source.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
If water was pouring down through the ceiling then there has to be signs of where it came from on the plywood or framing behind the wall or ceiling finish. Maybe you need to take down more of the ceiling or open up the wall more. I've been a leak detective for 40+ years and there is always some telltale evidence unless days have passed and it's dried up. The only other time there might not be any telltale signs is if the leak came directly from the piping but a defect in the piping would/should show up when you test.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
It's a mystery to us too. that's why we are asking the question on here.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
I've outlined the steps to take. There's only so much I can do from here. I wouldn't close anything up for a while (a week or 2 depending on how often the shower is used). If it's not a one off incident the leak will come back and perhaps you'll have better luck next time
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is it possible to leak test the system?
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
That's what I assume you've been doing. Beyond that you could remove the shower heads/hoses and cap the lines then turn the water back on but that's really not likely to change the result. If there is a curb into the room you could plug the drain and flood the floor.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Actually I had in mind to blank off either the wall-mounted overhead pipe and back-pressure the system via one or the other using a small water pump. Or I suppose air would work just as well.
Expert:  Rick replied 2 years ago.
Just turn on the valve. No need for anything else