Leak in utility room when 2nd floor tub and shower drain

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by rachelkei, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. rachelkei

    rachelkei New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Utah
    We recently noticed wetness in our utility room next to our furnace and water heater. Today my husband noticed that while the kids were draining the tub on the 2nd floor there was dripping from above in the basement utility room. There is no actual ceiling in the utility room it is just studs, and some of the insulation was wet but not a lot of damage otherwise. The leak is hard to locate because of HVAC stuff. It doesn't seem to leak when the water runs, when there is water sitting in the tub, but only when the tub is draining. We tested the two 2nd floor sinks and saw no dripping. The shower in the 3/4 bath drips a tiny bit after a while but didn't drip like it did with the tub draining. (Not sure if it was due to how much more water flows with the tub, or if some dripping when the shower ran was residual from tub) We are wondering where the best place to start would be to find the leak. The tub is older (1980) but it seems intact and in good condition. We've been in this house for almost 3 years and just started noticing the wetness. It hasn't been going on for too long I think. Again, the dripping occurs when the water drains on the 2nd floor, and is dripping into the basement utility room and no other areas of the house have shown signs of water damage. We can't think of any obvious places to look behind walls since there is no visible wetness on the main floor or anywhere else in the house.
  2. kreemoweet

    kreemoweet New Member

    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Seattle. WA
    Have a look behind the tub where the drain is. Too bad if the builders didn't provide an access method, you'll have to open a wall or the ceiling below.
    You could try tightening the tub drain outlet that screws into the tub shoe first.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  3. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Arizona
    Are your kids splashing water wildly around? A new tub toy?
  4. rachelkei

    rachelkei New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Utah
    No, the leak happens even when I use the tub, and I am not much of a splasher. :p

    I really don't know anything about plumbing beyond fixing a running toilet. I don't think there is an access. I am wondering if this is something I should venture to do myself to save some money, or call in a professional and pay out a fortune. We're trying to sell our house so there is some urgency.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Just about has to be the drain. There is a P trap for the tub that is directly under the water outlet and be visible under the flooring. If this is a screw together trap, it could be the a gasket is shot or the connect just isn't screwed together tightly. Showers typically drip a little bit after use because there is water in the pipe between the valve and shower head. This is not the cause of the leak. It is also possible the connection to the tub, called a shoe, is to blame, but as I said, the leak has to be in the drain. If the P trap is covered with the basement ceiling, then you will have to open the ceiling, no other way to reach the drain.
  6. rachelkei

    rachelkei New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Utah
    We found the leak. it is on the main waste pipe at the joints where a couple of pipes from the top floor meet. The pipe itself is located snuggly between the wall and the HVAC venting. It is hard to reach. It is leaking at the top and bottom of the pipe at the joints. The guys at home depot recommended the stretchy tape stuff. We tried a whole roll, but it's hard to wrap without it folding because it is such a hard to reach place and is up against a wall. We might go look for some wider tape and cut off the stuff we put on since it isn't flush/flat all the way around. We can't even reach the top leak from the bottom so we might have to make a hole in the wall on the main floor. Does this sound like a good fix or should we call a plumber to replace the pipe?
  7. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,308
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    The tape is bogus. It may provide a temporary fix, but no way will it be a long term repair. Walls are easy to repair. Repainting is more of a chore than the actual patching. Replacing the pipe might be a difficult task for an inexperienced DIY, so a plumber may be your best approach.
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