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Old 04-27-2009, 12:38 PM   #1
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leaky PVC Pipe


We just bought a new home, New construction, Foreclosure. As built.
Anywho, things seemed fine. We have been all using the master bathroom.
However this morning. My daughter used the main bathroom for the shower this morning and 20 minutes later I used the master bath shower.

However in the garage which is below, my wife said she has seen some leakage, and the PVC pipe it was dripping from. What is the best way to fix this problem. I am still @ work, a home handy man in training. I probably will need an 8ft ladder. Goop? Epoxy Putty?

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Old 04-27-2009, 01:21 PM   #2
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You need to find out where the water is really coming from.

Is a pipe joint leaking, or is the water coming from somewhere else and just traveling along the pipe and then dripping off of it? If a pipe or joint is leaking, you will need to replace that section, unless it's leaking around a joint that can be tightened, such as on a trap.

It may be something as simple as a loose shower drain that could be tightened from inside the shower by lifting the drain grate.


Last edited by LookoutRanch; 04-27-2009 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:49 PM   #3
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The two most likely sources of water on pipes under a shower are these:

The shower drain -- You may be able to tighten this by prying up part 1 and turning part 3 clockwise (using part 2, if it's there). That tightens the seal between the drain assembly and the pipe that fits in it. You may also need to go underneath and tighten part 8, which holds in the entire drain assembly and prevents leaks between the drain assembly and the pan.







The other likely source of leaks is the P-trap. It's the lowest part in the following picture.



One of the joints on that P-trap may be loose, and you may be able to simply tighten it.


If it's a tub shower, it will look like this:


Last edited by LookoutRanch; 04-27-2009 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 04-27-2009, 01:55 PM   #4
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Thank you, I will investigate more when I get home. I will check the pipe my wife first spotted the drip and work my way back if necessary.
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:24 PM   #5
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Hopefully she has shut off the water because the leak may be from the main line and not a shower. Hopefully she/they know where the valve is to shut off the water...
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Old 04-27-2009, 02:45 PM   #6
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Well the water has been on for some time, and that's the first time there was anything. I know where the main line comes in at and it's at the opposite end where she described it. The basement and garage are below the house, and it's all open space.
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:07 PM   #7
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Yes that is how a leak happens, after years of everything being fine, all of a sudden there is water running through a ceiling etc.. And the best thing to do is to turn off the water until someone can be there to check if it is from a drain line leak from a shower etc., or a main water line leak that wouldn't stop until the well or city runs out of water, or someone shuts it off at/in the house.

You'd be surprised at how many people can't think to shut off the main water valve, and then there are those that do but don't know where the valve is....
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Old 04-28-2009, 05:38 AM   #8
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IMHO Goop , Putty , etc are like a band aid. The best and only proper way to fix a PVC joint is to open (rare) and reseal or replace the joint with the specific glue made for the specific pipe type. Some pipes require solvent, some do not. Check for labelling on the pipe and buy the matching glue and fittings
While some will say to dap glue around the joint, this too is a band aid solution as the glue does not creep fully into the leak. Do it right and sleep easy, but make sure you don't have a tub leak which is dripping onto and travelling along the pipe.
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Old 04-28-2009, 08:07 AM   #9
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The OP said "new construction". After checking the shower drain the next most likely problem is a joint that was not glued. Check the joints close to the leak by trying to pull them apart and/or look very closely at the joint for signs of glue. If you find one pull it apart, clean, dry, prime, glue and push it together again. Be sure to use the proper glue, do not use transitional glue. You should find the primer where the glue is sold. If the sales clerk tells you primer is not needed on drains by it anyway... It's cheap insurance when gluing a joint that has been in use.

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Old 04-28-2009, 09:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fast1 View Post
so have you investigated already?

This morning while the daughter was taking a shower I was in the garage watching the leak. So it is either the P trap or the drain I believe. We are going to have her use our shower for now till I can get an 8ft ladder to investigate. further. Hopefully in the next few days.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by chunklefunk View Post
This morning while the daughter was taking a shower I was in the garage watching the leak. So it is either the P trap or the drain I believe. We are going to have her use our shower for now till I can get an 8ft ladder to investigate. further. Hopefully in the next few days.
if you have a tub in the main bath you might take the tub spout off and where the pipe comes through the wall make sure that there is caulking all around the pipe to fill any gaps where water might be leaking thru also do this to your tub and shower valve take the handles off then the escutcheons and fill any gaps around the valve stems tubes then put the escutcheons back on and caulk around them and also the outside of the tub spout. might check to see if your shower head is leaking where it goes into the wall. there should a female thread adapter where the shower head nipple screws into a drop 90 or wing 90 as some people call it. an easy way to check this is take shower head off and screw a half inch cap in its place and turn the water on to the shower and watch down in the garage for any water dripping down. If the tub and shower valve is a single handle the hole might be to big to fill up with caulk so just put a bead of caulk all around the hole. Also if the tub is a ceramic tile type instead of the one peice fiberglas units try throwing water around the top edge of the tub and see what happens. Not all leaks are plumbing pipe related poor installation and normal wear and tear on materials are also possible.

Last edited by al's sewer; 04-28-2009 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 04-28-2009, 10:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by al's sewer View Post
if you have a tub in the main bath you might take the tub spout off and where the pipe comes through the wall make sure that there is caulking all around the pipe to fill any gaps where water might be leaking thru also do this to your tub and shower valve take the handles off then the escutcheons and fill any gaps around the valve stems tubes then put the escutcheons back on and caulk around them and also the outside of the tub spout. might check to see if your shower head is leaking where it goes into the wall. there should a female thread adapter where the shower head nipple screws into a drop 90 or wing 90 as some people call it. an easy way to check this is take shower head off and screw a half inch cap in its place and turn the water on to the shower and watch down in the garage for any water dripping down. If the tub and shower valve is a single handle the hole might be to big to fill up with caulk so just put a bead of caulk all around the hole. Also if the tub is a ceramic tile type instead of the one peice fiberglas units try throwing water around the top edge of the tub and see what happens. Not all leaks are plumbing pipe related poor installation and normal wear and tear on materials are also possible.

it is a one piece fiberglass unit. I will go get some caulk and check those things you mentioned tonight.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Chemist1961 View Post
IMHO Goop , Putty , etc are like a band aid. The best and only proper way to fix a PVC joint is to open (rare) and reseal or replace the joint with the specific glue made for the specific pipe type. Some pipes require solvent, some do not. Check for labelling on the pipe and buy the matching glue and fittings
While some will say to dap glue around the joint, this too is a band aid solution as the glue does not creep fully into the leak. Do it right and sleep easy, but make sure you don't have a tub leak which is dripping onto and travelling along the pipe.

I agree it's the only way, cut it out and replace. It's mostly like that with all kinds of joints, hey people ever mess around with a copper joint until you freaked and took it apart and replaced it. Now you know what I'm talking about.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by chunklefunk View Post
it is a one piece fiberglass unit. I will go get some caulk and check those things you mentioned tonight.
should have mentioned this before. Try filling the tub up with water and let it drain out with no one in the tub. If its a drain problem it should leak then. If it is a caulking problem try throwing water on the walls of the shower where the valves and overflow are if that is the problem it should leak then. wait about i hour between trying each one to give the leak a chance to show up.
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Old 04-28-2009, 06:51 PM   #15
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I guess every unit is different, but I've never had a leak for lack of caulking around tub and shower handles. It seems like you'd practically have to direct the shower at them to make any significant amount of water flow around and behind them.

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