mysterious massive ceiling leak...water in ductwork?

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Old 01-15-14, 07:19 AM
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mysterious massive ceiling leak...water in ductwork?

I woke up last Wednesday and went downstairs after showering to find several wet spots on my first floor ceiling below the second floor bathrooms, with water dripping all the way through in a couple spots. There was no visible indication of moisture above the ceiling previously. That night was unusually cold (around 15 degrees) but dry, and the heat was running most of the night at a moderate temperature (68 degrees; the heat pump is on the roof). It has been equally cold or colder for the previous 36 hours. I called the contractor who renovated the house before I purchased it four months ago. When he cut into the first floor ceiling, he was unable to find any leaks in the pipes above, even when the upstairs bath, shower, and sinks were left running for an hour. We resumed using the water again later that day and have not experienced any water coming down since. I've showered, filled the tub, everything, and inspected closely immediately afterward...no pipes seem to be leaking.

In addition to water pipes, the HVAC ducts also run through the house in that space between the first and second floors (both of which, I should point out, are heated, so that space shouldn't be especially frigid). In the middle of that night (a few hours before discovering the water coming through the ceiling), I woke up and noticed what seemed to be a dripping sound emanating from the HVAC vent close to the bed. That vent is adjacent to an exterior wall. So I'm wondering if condensation was occurring inside of the ductwork when warm air was blowing against the unusually cold walls of the duct; water pooled somewhere else (likely at the lowest point in the ductwork; water came through the ceiling 20 feet away from the vent where I heard the drip); and then eventually seeped out of the duct and onto the ceiling. However, the HVAC installer claims the ducts are insulated on the inside, which complicates my theory. The weather also has warmed up since then, so I haven't noticed any additional dripping sounds. Anybody know of a way to test this?
 
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Old 01-22-14, 01:42 PM
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Just because the ducts are internally lined doesn't mean that its not coninsation. Either the duct lining could have come loose during istallation and blown back when the unit was turned on or if the duct wasn't properly sealed it will create condinsation. But, short of running a camera through the line there is no way to be sure without opening the duct.
 
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