Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

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CaptainMarvel
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Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by CaptainMarvel » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:10 pm

I’ve been hearing an odd dripping sound in our master bathroom for the last month or so. It’s an inconsistent drip, sometimes I hear it and sometimes I don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason as to how often or when it occurs but I do hear it at least intermittently on most days. On certain days it’s dripped about every 20 seconds or so. It sort of sounds like water dripping from a shower, although here the shower is turned off so that’s not the cause. It’s very odd in that it sounds like it's dripping from at least 3-4 feet and it sounds like it’s coming from high up – either from or onto the ceiling itself or from an upper portion of a wall.

I had our roofer take a look at our roof last week and he confirmed the roof (including the area above the bathroom and the area around a skylight which is above the bathroom) is all sealed properly. He couldn’t find any roof openings or leaks. Nor was there any standing water on the roof or in the nearby gutters (in case the sound was from water dripping in or onto a gutter). There is no attic above this bathroom so there’s just the roof directly above the ceiling. The dripping doesn’t seem to increase when we turn on either of the two faucets in the bathroom or when we run the shower or bath. There is no water leaking from underneath either of the two faucets. Further, I suspect our AC unit isn’t the cause since we’ve only run it once or twice in the last 3 months.

My fear is that there’s a pipe leak of some kind in one of the walls but what is very strange is that I cannot see how there’d be any pipes so high up on the walls or near the ceiling. The roofer, after spending a lot of time looking around our bathroom, thinks the cause of the dripping might be related to one of the 4 sewer vents we have that extend from the ground up through the roof and surround this bathroom on the outside. Perhaps something is stuck near the top of one of the sewer vents and accumulating water that drips down.

I do have a plumber scheduled to come over mid-next week so I’m hoping that can nail down the cause. In the meantime, does anyone have any thoughts as to what might be causing this dripping sound?

Thank you.

k3vb0t
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by k3vb0t » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:22 pm

Are you certain it isn't the shower? Just because it is turned off doesn't mean one of the valves hasn't gone bad and is slowly letting water past. Have you left a tupperware or similar container underneath the shower head to see if it catches anything?

BobDaBlob
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by BobDaBlob » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:26 pm

Did the roofer check or confirm that the rubber gasket seals around the sewer vents you mentioned are intact?

You mention not having used your a/c much, but...my air con unit is in my attic and the line for the condensate drain had frozen/cracked at a bend and was dripping down an interior wall alongside the shower below...I would never have known...fortunately, saw the water puddling in the basement below before any significant damage! Replaced the pvc in the attic and annually put a small amount of antifreeze in the bend as part of winter prep.

Good luck finding the source and a solution!
Bob
Too much of everything is just enough...

adamthesmythe
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Dec 28, 2018 4:58 pm

Shower pans have been known to have slow leaks. Ask me how I know.

Sometimes the toilet can have a slow leak. Usually you will know because it will seem to refill periodically without flushing.

The roof guy doesn't REALLY know there are no leaks. If he doesn't see anything obvious then it's less likely but not impossible to have a leak.

You can try using no fixtures in the bathroom for a couple of days, see if it goes away.

A plumber may not be able to diagnose this, short of cutting holes in walls.

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F150HD
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by F150HD » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:07 pm

Unless I missed it, you may want to put your LOCATION in your post (your State). Issues in say Iowa in the middle of winter are prob a far cry from issues in southern Arizona. :happy

May also want to state the age of your home. (lends to copper pipe vs galvanized etc)

Without knowing location....if you ARE in an area with snow and are running your furnace etc, condensation comes to mind.
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.

GrowthSeeker
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by GrowthSeeker » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:25 pm

What floor is master bathroom on, how many floors are there; what is above that bathroom?
A roofer can’t see a tiny leak. If dripping not correlated with rain the probably not the roof.

Is the dripping sound near the wall the shower head comes out of? The shower arm screws into a pipe out of view inside the wall, the threaded end is slightly tapered, so they keep turning clockwise until snug. That is one place that might leak. If it’s a tub shower where you can divert water to or not to the shower, then you can keep valve so the shower is not under pressure. - see if it still drips.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.

whomever
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by whomever » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:33 pm

On a day that it's dripping every 20 sec, turn off your whole-house water valve (and maybe drain or at least depressurize the plumbing to below the affected bathroom). If the dripping noise stops, and restarts when you repressurize, then you have a supply side plumbing leak of some kind.

If the noise doesn't stop, you might or might not have a supply side leak (the leak could be from a section that doesn't drain).

There are sensitive thermal imagers that can sometimes find leaks, IIUC (if the leak is making a section of drywall a little damp, that section will be marginally cooler). I think some home inspectors have them.

Another wild idea - I wonder if a stethoscope applied to the walls would narrow things down? There are special stethoscopes for mechanics that can zero in on which bearing is noisy, etc. One field expedient substitute is a large screwdriver, pressed against the wall in your case, with the handle end firmly pressed into your ear. A surprising amount of sound can be transmitted through the screwdriver into the bones of your ear. Or borrow a real one from a nurse/doctor friend?

shunkman
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by shunkman » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:35 pm

When my house was built, the plumber failed to glue all of the PVC sewer vent pipe fittings. Periodically, I would hear dripping water behind the wall and stains eventually developed. I traced this to an unglued fitting in the attic. Are there any sewer vents nearby?

lws6772
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by lws6772 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:39 pm

Sometimes the vent pipe for the exhaust fan/light can accumulate water condensate and cause a drip.

BobTexas
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by BobTexas » Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:43 pm

Is the bathroom on the second floor? What’s underneath the bathroom? Can you get under to look for evidence of water?

Golfview
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by Golfview » Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:05 pm

I would first try this test to see if the seal on the water tank is leaking !
Turn the water supply OFF at the toilet ,then wait a while,may be do this before you go to sleep at night,next morning ilift the lid and see if water has been leaking out of the tank without anyone flushing.
If it has the seal between the tank and the bowl needs to get replaced.,

mako171
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by mako171 » Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:20 pm

lws6772 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:39 pm
Sometimes the vent pipe for the exhaust fan/light can accumulate water condensate and cause a drip.
This.

Ostentatious
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by Ostentatious » Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:42 pm

It may not be a leakage at all. After all if it is water leakage, at some point you’ll see the water damage. I say this because I had a similar problem that turned out to be noise coming from one of the pipes carrying hot water. I do not hear the noise when the shower or pipe in the bathroom is open, rather when a pipe or or shower from another bathroom or from the washer is running, then I hear the dripping noise. I’ve lived with it for 6 years now without seeing water damage. It’s good you’re having it checked but you may end up not seeing any pipe or water damage. I had mine checked several years ago and only one of the plumbers got it right. Good luck.

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CaptainMarvel
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by CaptainMarvel » Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:49 am

To answer some questions posed above, the house (which is our primary residence) is in North Texas. The house was built in 1984. We bought it in early 2017 and haven’t experienced any leak issues until now (assuming this is a leak). This is a one-story house. We have an attic that covers most of the house but not this master bathroom - above this bathroom is just the roof. There are four sewer vents that surround the bathroom - as far as I can tell, there’s a sewer vent for the toilet, the shower and each of the two sinks.

I don’t think a toilet would be the source of the leak or dripping sound since the sound is coming from high above - as if it’s on the roof itself or high on a wall.

Also, I don’t see any evidence of leaks around the water heater, which is located in a water heater closet about 30 feet away from this bathroom. It also doesn’t appear that a shower pipe is the source of the issue since the sound appears to come from an area away from the shower but of course, I cannot be sure of that.

Thank you for the insights so far.

twhite5262
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by twhite5262 » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:09 am

I have heard similar dripping sounds but conclude that it was hot water pipes "creaking" otherwise you will eventually see water damage

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Sandtrap
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:42 am

I once spent a whole evening wondering what was wrong with a washing machine in a VRBO I was staying at. Intermittent "beeping". The next morning I realized I had left the refrigerator door slightly open and the "beep" was coming from the frig. :oops:

Actionably: take great effort to isolate the source of the sound.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Dec 29, 2018 9:45 am

CaptainMarvel wrote:
Sat Dec 29, 2018 8:49 am
To answer some questions posed above, the house (which is our primary residence) is in North Texas. The house was built in 1984. We bought it in early 2017 and haven’t experienced any leak issues until now (assuming this is a leak). This is a one-story house. We have an attic that covers most of the house but not this master bathroom - above this bathroom is just the roof. There are four sewer vents that surround the bathroom - as far as I can tell, there’s a sewer vent for the toilet, the shower and each of the two sinks.

I don’t think a toilet would be the source of the leak or dripping sound since the sound is coming from high above - as if it’s on the roof itself or high on a wall.

Also, I don’t see any evidence of leaks around the water heater, which is located in a water heater closet about 30 feet away from this bathroom. It also doesn’t appear that a shower pipe is the source of the issue since the sound appears to come from an area away from the shower but of course, I cannot be sure of that.

Thank you for the insights so far.
Does it sound like the water drip is falling on wood (thump), tile (higher splat pitch), water (dollop, dol-up), etc?
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Housedoc
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by Housedoc » Sat Dec 29, 2018 11:25 am

Turn off ice maker in fridge and read water meter. Make a small mark on the glass with a sharpie marker on small blue or red wheel. Go back and check it 4 hrs later for movement. DO NOT USE ANY WATER WHILE TESTING. Go shop or see a movie. This will test for a leak on pressure side of system.

mountainsoft
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by mountainsoft » Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:06 pm

Do you hear the drip on dry days or only when it's raining? If it's the latter, have someone spray water on the roof with a garden hose (light spray) and see if you can hear the drip inside.

With no attic I would think a roof leak would show up on the ceiling fairly quickly. Then again, I wouldn't think you would hear a drip as water would tend to follow surface tension, slowly seeping through the insulation, along the ceiling material, and down the walls. To hear a drip it would have to drop through free space and land on something.

As you guessed, I wonder if one of the roof vents has a bird nest or something blocking the pipe allowing water to build up and slowly drip through beneath the blockage.

I still wouldn't rule out a dripping faucet or shower. Put containers under each of them for a day or two and see if any water builds up. I'm waiting on a new valve for my own shower that is slowly dripping. Can you see a water droplet hanging from the shower head long after you've finished showering?

You could also try turning off the toilet supply valve and see if the dripping stops. I've had the valves inside the toilet leak and they sometimes drip into the water in the tank.

As another poster suggested, turn off the main water supply and open a valve somewhere else in the house to relieve the pressure, the see if the dripping stops.

Good luck!

DrG
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by DrG » Sat Dec 29, 2018 2:15 pm

You may not have a leak at all. Do you have copper pipes? Copper pipes are installed inside the walls with hangers that allow expansion and contraction. When hot water is run, the pipe expands, then contracts and the resulting sound is exactly like a drip, drip, drip. So, you can test for this condition by running the hot water only. Good luck.

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fortfun
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Re: Bathroom Dripping-Potential Leak Question

Post by fortfun » Sat Dec 29, 2018 6:46 pm

mako171 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:20 pm
lws6772 wrote:
Fri Dec 28, 2018 5:39 pm
Sometimes the vent pipe for the exhaust fan/light can accumulate water condensate and cause a drip.
This.
+2.

Steam from the shower will exit the exhaust duct. Cooler air in the attic will cause it to condense. Condensation will eventually drip out of the exhaust fan.

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