Need Help With Leak in a 4" PVC Drain Line

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Old 08-24-11, 01:50 PM
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Need Help With Leak in a 4" PVC Drain Line

Our home is about 20 years old. We noticed water on our finished basement floor carpeting along a wall by a PVC drain line clean out. I felt above the clean out and it was wet, so I cut a hole above it at the ceiling. The line takes a 45 degree angle for about a foot and goes on top of the poured concrete foundation up through the first floor plywood. I can see black gunk on the outside of the pipe as it goes above the first floor plywood and the plywood is water stained, as well. Almost directly above the pipe on the second floor is a full bathroom.

I'm thinking that there may be a leak in the second floor toilet drain that is causing this leakage. I haven't removed the toilet yet to check.

Also, our power company mounted a control box on the siding outside in the same place where this pipe runs and used 2" lag screws. But I'm not sure the screws are long enough to puncture the pipe in the wall.

Do you think the toilet drain is the likely cause, or the lag screws? If not, I'm interested in all other opinions. Thanks.

Tim
 
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Old 08-24-11, 02:08 PM
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Does the toilet rock or move around at all? Thats when they usually start leaking. If its secure it would give me no indication that the toilets leaking.

Shower door??? Sometimes water leaks on the floor and goes down ssmall cracks.

Shower drain? Shower only pans are famous for leaking from the strainer?

They could of Drilled into the pipe. But is it in a wet part of the pipe or a vent part? What is the height of the screws in relation to the bath? Floor height? Sink height?

Whats above that bath?

Have you cehecked the attic? Vent flange leaks often travel down the pipe and follow it to the basements.

Let us know.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-24-11, 04:01 PM
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I think 2" screws would have no problem hitting that 4" pipe. I don't know the details of your home, but if you have one layer of vinyl siding with 1/2" sheathing, you've got a good one 1" of the screw left poking through the other side of the wall.

If you remove the toilet, pour a bunch of water into the drain directly to see if water still comes out. If it does, you know it wasn't the wax seal on the toiler. You might have to open up the wall behind that control box to see what the deal is.
 
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Old 08-24-11, 04:47 PM
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Seems odd that they would put a waste line on a outside wall. The wall would have to be extended for the 4" pipe to fit in the cavity. I doubt they would put the pipe right against the sheathing.



Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-24-11, 05:37 PM
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"Does the toilet rock or move around at all? Thats when they usually start leaking. If its secure it would give me no indication that the toilets leaking."

No.

"Shower door??? Sometimes water leaks on the floor and goes down small cracks."

No.

"Shower drain? Shower only pans are famous for leaking from the strainer?"

The shower in this bathroom has a steel tub which is tile lined. That said, another tub did leak in the house and I sealed it. It could be that the water on the pipe has turned the black color it is due to bacteria, but it's black and looks like sewage.

"They could of Drilled into the pipe. But is it in a wet part of the pipe or a vent part? What is the height of the screws in relation to the bath? Floor height? Sink height?"

It's a wet part. The height of the screws are approximately 2 feet above the 1st floor floor level. The bath is on the 2nd floor.

"Whats above that bath?"

The attic is above the bath?

"Have you checked the attic? Vent flange leaks often travel down the pipe and follow it to the basements."

Again, unless you think otherwise, the fluid is dark brow/black and I'm not at all sure this is roof water, or other pure water leakage.

Tim
 
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Old 08-24-11, 05:53 PM
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If you think its the screws they drilled and the pipe is the main stack from the second fllor bath, then all water from that bath travel down this pipe.

I would not use the bath and let the area dry somewhat.

Then I would run the sink in the bath for some time, say 10-minutes or until you may see water.

Start there. If its screws in the pipe you should see water. Plus running the sink will eliminate the toilet for now.

Youi have to do this systematically from one fixture to the next and leave alot of time inbetween. You dont know how long it taks before the wayer will show uo in the basement. Could take hours.

Dark brown black fluid could just be from home materials mixed in with the leak.

Plywood is water stained meaning dry stain or wet?

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-24-11, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrosa View Post
Seems odd that they would put a waste line on a outside wall. The wall would have to be extended for the 4" pipe to fit in the cavity. I doubt they would put the pipe right against the sheathing.
I would agree, but you know how dumb things are done sometimes. Especially in a tract home. My brother has an HVAC supply duct running in an outside wall cavity.

The outside wall could be 2x6. That is becoming far more common these days.
 
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Old 08-25-11, 05:17 AM
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The 1st floor plywood appears discolored and wet.
 
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Old 08-25-11, 06:52 AM
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Could be a water pipe with a leaky joint.

Like I said, you need to not use the bath to see if the area drys some. Its a inconvienence but its how to isolate the cause.

If it drys out you know its not a water pipe.

I would then run the sink in that bath and only the sink, to try to get the leak to start again.

Then go fixture to fixture.

You have to do this systematically from one fixture to the next and leave alot of time inbetween. You dont know how long it takes before the water will show up in the basement. Could take hours.

The height of the screws are approximately 2 feet above the 1st floor floor level. The bath is on the 2nd floor.
I personally would of cut the sheet rock open to have a look see......



Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-26-11, 04:11 PM
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The brown/black stuff could be mold... and that can form from roof water running down as Mike suggested. Easy enough to go in the attic and see if you see any daylight coming through... it happened here last year. Stain on downstairs bath ceiling, nothing above... went up in attic and sure enough, big old hole around the vent pipe. Water ran right from the roof to the first floor.

Bottom line, check all the obvious stuff first...
 
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Old 08-26-11, 05:08 PM
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Made sure no one was using the 2nd foor tub, sink or toilet and water kept coming. I then shut off the main water line and after 3 hours the water started drying up.

There are no roof vent pipes near the problem and the drain pipe in the basement goes directly through the basement floor, so I'm pretty sure that it's a drain, not a vent pipe that penetrates the roof.

So, now I get to find whether the leak is in the laundry room (2nd floor sharing a wall with the 2nd foor bath) or the 2nd floor bath.

I've wrapped 2 towels around the drain pipe in the basement to keep the basement carpeting dry and will keep an eye on them.

I think I'm going to have to tear out the wall board and follow the hot and cold lines from the laundry and bath until I find the leak - not pretty.
 
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Old 08-26-11, 05:43 PM
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Made sure no one was using the 2nd foor tub, sink or toilet and water kept coming. I then shut off the main water line and after 3 hours the water started drying up
You answered your own question. It seems its a water pipe and not a drain pipe at all.

Turn off the valves to the toilets to make sure they are not running. Turn the water to the home back on and watch the meter. See if it spins. It may be very,very slight. It may be a small drip in a water pipe somewhere.

The #1 culprit I have found in my career is shower valve piping. But really it could be anywhere.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 08-28-11, 04:51 AM
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The water seems to have stopped flowing for a reason I don't understand. I'll be in Arizona until Thursday. I'll check again then.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 06:40 AM
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You say there's a laundry above? Check the hoses on the warshin' musheen.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 07:21 AM
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I did. All water suppies, including under the sinks, etc... are not leaking. It's got to be either a drain leak, or a copper leak behind a wall.

Our area, to include neighbors, have had pin hole copper leaks due to high flourination and inferior solder.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 10:11 AM
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Just to confirm you are positive that it is not a case of a toilet flange seal leaking? While the water stopped flowing when the supply was shut off, did it also stop flowing when the toilet was not flushed? Just trying to make sure the right dots are being connected with this problem.
 
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Old 08-28-11, 10:37 AM
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Yeah, with the water on and the toilet, sink and tub not used for a day, the water kept coming, until I shut the water off Friday afternoon for 4 hours. After the 4 hours, I checked and I then determined it was a water line problem, so I turned the water back on. But there hasn't been water since - weird.
 
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