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Old 07-07-2010, 09:54 AM   #1
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phantom plumbing issue - leak? sweating?


a year ago i noticed the basement ceiling underneath a radiator had water stains. it seemed to be a dry stain when i bought the house (in the summer), but over the winter it was obviously damp to the touch.

i couldn't find any evidence of a leak, and the pipes felt dry to the touch.
nevertheless, i chopped out the 90 elbow directly above the wetness and replaced it.
it hasn't changed anything as the water staining is spreading and still feels moist to the touch.
the floor is buckling in increasingly not so subtle a way.

here's a shot from below where you can see the staining/wetness:


and above:


of course there is no circulation in the pipe now as the zone is turned off for the summer.
the source certainly seems to be the 90 degree fitting there, no?
only thing i can think of is maybe the pipe is sweating, and one edge of it is pressed up against the side of the hole drilled through the floor.

otherwise, what am i dealing with here? how do i stop it?
could the radiator itself be leaking, running along the pipe and going into the floor?

should i enlarge the hole and/or spray some foam in there to keep sweat from wicking in?

should i chop out the entire radiator and replace it with a new one?

beginning to bother me...

thanks for any insight.

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Old 07-07-2010, 10:10 AM   #2
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phantom plumbing issue - leak? sweating?


Condensation forms on cold surfaces, so your pipe is not sweating. Did you notice the dampness right at the start of the heating season or later (ice dams)? Which way is the radiator in relation to the pipe from below?

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Old 07-07-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
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phantom plumbing issue - leak? sweating?


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Originally Posted by 47_47 View Post
Condensation forms on cold surfaces, so your pipe is not sweating. Did you notice the dampness right at the start of the heating season or later (ice dams)? Which way is the radiator in relation to the pipe from below?
the radiator runs in the direction of the joists. it's about 8' long and is sitting in my hallway along the side of the stairs.
i can't really remember when i first noticed it, whether it's worse in the summer when the boiler is off, or in the winter when water is circulating.
i can you that the boiler has been off for a a few months now and the ceiling is damp to the touch (the pipes are still full of water). i've definitely felt around the pipe in both summer and winter and it's always been perfectly dry both above and below the floor.

i do know that when i bought the house in the summer, i noticed the stain, and it seems pretty dry, and definitely smaller than what it is now.
what's also strange, is that after i replaced the 90, i checked it a few weeks later and it seemed to be drying up (this was during heating season).
thanks.

Last edited by wombosi; 07-07-2010 at 10:17 AM.
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