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Old 03-08-2010, 11:41 AM   #1
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strange dripping


this is actually not technically a roofing problem, but i wasn't sure what board to post on, so i thought i'd give this one a shot.

we have a cathedral ceiling and low-slope roof on our ranch house. in the front of our house, we have two areas where the ceiling drywall is getting dripped on from above. the roof in both of those areas is completely fine, no penetrations, in great shape.

one of these areas i think i know what is happening: it's right above our stove hood ventilator, and when the weather changes from very cold to warm or vice versa, we have condensation that happens and drips down there -- the solution for that, i understand, is to try to get some insulation up in there, or to completely seal off the vent. that makes sense to me -- different temperatures of air mixing in the wall cavity and causing condensation. fine. the other area is more a mystery, but i suspect something similar... it is directly above where our sump pump ejects out of the basement. the pvc pipe runs through a hole in our poured concrete foundation. whenever the pump runs (which is often in these melt-y days), the dripping happens. i am not exactly sure how to fix this, though... the hole through which the pipe runs is sealed with hydraulic cement on the inside and outside. and as far as i can tell, a pipe running through solid concrete should not affect the wall cavity/roof structure above it. and why would the pump turning ON affect any of this?

help!

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Old 03-08-2010, 11:48 AM   #2
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strange dripping


okay, so the pipe is NOT running through poured concrete, it's running through our brick/frame wall. so there is a wall cavity issue. but still, how to fix? do i need to actually pull the pipe out of there and insulate somehow? and why is it only dripping right after it runs? is it shifting ever so slightly to allow air to get up in there and disturb the moisture? and if that's the case, is it possible it's just a general condensation problem and NOT necessarily caused by the pipe?

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Old 03-08-2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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strange dripping


Pictures would help a lot. I am not understanding the sump pump issue in relation to dripping above it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 12:18 PM   #4
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strange dripping


not sure exactly what to take a picture OF... there's a 1 1/2 PVC pipe running through a hole between our floor joists in our basement, and out through the brick on the outside of our house, about 4 inches from the ground. i've attached a picture of where the pipe comes out of our house. then imagine about 8 feet directly above this, on the inside/first floor of the house, a small water stain on the ceiling, right where it meets the wall. that's where it's dripping.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:55 PM   #5
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strange dripping


I do not see a connection between the sump exit pipe and the ceiling water spot. Look elsewhere for a source.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:08 PM   #6
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strange dripping


really? it just seems like a huge coincidence that the dripping happens immediately following when the pump ejects, and at NO other time.

even so, what else could it be? it's not a roof leak -- like i said, the roof is in great condition there and there are no penetrations. if it's a condensation issue, how can we fix that? we have continuous soffit vents and a ridge vent for venting... is it an insulation issue somewhere? and why, then, isn't it happening everywhere else along the edges of the house?
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:09 PM   #7
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Also, roof leaks can be difficult to source as ofter the penetration point is not necessarily where the water shows up or drips. In other words, the leak can be higher, toward the ridge and then the water travels down a rafter until a drip point forms several inches or feet away. An example could be where snow blows into (infiltrates) a ridge vent, melts, and runs along a rafter or the under side of the roof decking or over the insulation bats until it finds a penetration in that surface and then finds a way out through a recessed light can, then drips out of the can. In a cathedral ceiling this can be quite difficult to determine where the actual leak is because you cannot follow a water stain. It is all covered by the inside ceiling.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:16 PM   #8
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strange dripping


Maybe I am misunderstanding. You say your sump exits horizontally through the exterior wall, as in photo, but you get a wet ceiling eight feet above where the pump is? Could there be a pin hole leak in the pump plumbing where there is a spray or mist that is literally spraying your ceiling whenever the pump comes on? Think of a garden hose where you put a sprayer on the end and do not screw it on tight or have a poor gasket. Then when you turn on the faucet there is pressurized water spraying out of the connection.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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strange dripping


Make sure your roof is snow/ice/water free.

Watch to see how long it takes for the water to start dripping from the ceiling above after the sump pump starts running?

Can you take a pic of the ceiling where the dripping is?
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:23 AM   #10
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strange dripping


I have seen pinholes in pipe go up about 6 ft so it depends on how much pressure the pump puts out.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:32 PM   #11
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strange dripping


okay, to answer some more of your questions:
no, there is no longer any snow on our roof, and it was not raining any of the times when i was hearing the dripping.
i've attached a photo of the water stain (it's pretty hard to see)... although when i'm listening in that corner i'm not convinced it's the ceiling -- might be in the wall? which does suggest a pinhole type situation... how can i test that theory, though? when i go down and look at where the pipe passes through the wall, and remove some of the insulation, nothing is wet down there (it's not as air-tight as i thought, so i can see/feel a gap)... maybe one test would be to run the sump pump when there's no water to eject, and see what happens? i would need someone else to help me do that, though, so it might be a day or two before i can test it. any other suggestions? i really would hate to cut up this pipe and rip out the cement around it on the outside, only to find there ISN'T a hole! or maybe it's time i move over into the plumbing forum? ;-)
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:33 PM   #12
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strange dripping


oh, and it takes 5 seconds, more or less, after the sump pump has run for the dripping sound to start. then it drips maybe 5-10 times and stops.
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Old 03-10-2010, 07:06 PM   #13
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strange dripping


Maybe the pipe is dripping downward and you have a roof leak as well...
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Old 03-11-2010, 09:30 AM   #14
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strange dripping


The one we looked at ended up us tearing out the wall to find it. Even a thermal imaging camera will only tell you its wet. We already know that.
This was a copper water pipe that had constant pressure but did not leak all the time.
Unusual as it seems at full pressure the hole was so small it was blocked. When the shower was on it sprayed, the shower was in the bathroom 1 story above it.

Tracking the problem is difficult without removing something and yes sometimes it is not entirely required.
Check everywhere that has accessibility first then go the hard route by removing bricks or wall or whatever needs to be removed.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:48 PM   #15
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strange dripping


okay, so now... the dripping has completely stopped. even though our pump is running more and it's been raining every other day. i'm totally confused! the dripping went on for maybe 10-14 days, but now it's gone. i'm glad but I gotta think it's going to come back at some point -- and I still don't know what it is/was...

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