Anyone Good With Plumbing?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Wallace2, Sep 2, 2010.

  1. Wallace2 macrumors member

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    NJ, USA
    #1
    Long time lurker but I just signed up today to talk about the new ipods but anyway Im having a problem with my shower. My shower is directly above my kitchen and we have been noticing water stains on the ceiling in the kitchen. We thought it was because someone didnt close the curtain but the problem continued to the point were water was dripping from the ceiling. So tonight we were eating dinner and my brother who just got home from soccer was taking a shower and all of a sudden the water just starting falling from the ceiling. At this point we realized something was wrong. At first my dad thought it was the drain but when we measured out the spot where the drain is the water stain is roughly 2.5 feet from it. I thought it may be the pipes feeding the water to the shower head since the knob has been loose for a year and everytime you touch it the pipes shake. So to find the problem we stuffed the drain with some old towels to block any water from getting through and ran the shower, the water starting dripping through yet again. We stopped the shower and waited for the dripping to stop and then unstuffed the drain to see if any water dripped from it. But once the water went down the drain nothing dripped through the ceiling. So we concluded that it has something to do with the pipes that feed the water to the shower head. Now does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do? A plumber cant come till the middle of next week, and it would cost about $500 to fix. But me and my dad feel we could do it ourselves but not too sure how to go about it. Any suggestions? Thanks.
     
  2. 184550 Guest

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    May 8, 2008
    #2
    Personally, I would never do house repairs like plumbing.

    Hope you get it sorted out though.
     
  3. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    Oct 9, 2006
    #3
    could still be the drain. The pipe connecting the drain to the main sewer pipe could be leaking. Since it got worse when your brother was taking the shower it is mostly likely the drain.
     
  4. renewed macrumors 68040

    renewed

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    Bemalte Blumen duften nicht.
    #4
    The motto is never do plumbing or electricity work yourself.
     
  5. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    Even though when the drain was stuffed it still leaked? When the showers not running and water flows through the drain there is no leaking, its only when the shower is on.
     
  6. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

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    London, ON
    #6
    Why don't you post a couple pics as it may help on suggestions.

    There 2 possible approaches.

    1) Cutting a hole behind the shower if it is not on an outside wall. This would be the easiest as you don't have to remove tile or the tub surround.

    2) Remove the tub surround on the shower head side if it is not a one piece tub surround or tiled wall.

    Your really taking about maybe $50 in material to deal with this if there is a break in the pipe between the shower control and the shower head. The $500 bill does not cover any drywall damage. Save the money and solder it yourself if you know how. If not ask around I'm sure there is someone who knows how to solder as it's really simple.
     
  7. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    Ill post some in the morning. We were hoping to cut the wall behind the shower since its on an inside wall rather than the ceiling in our kitchen since its always a pain to get the ceiling right again. We cant remove the shower without having to buy a new one since it is one piece. Would the solder be with a normal soldering gun or would it have to be a blow torch? My dad can solder but cant use a blow torch.
     
  8. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #8
    I'd go with this advice. It's always better to try and fix it yourself first, then if you get into a real mess call the plumber. This type of fix is most likely fairly easy once you get past cutting into the drywall.
     
  9. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

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    #9
    You would have to use a tourch. One can be purchased from a hardware store for under $20.00. A sodering gun does not put out enough heat to solder 1/2-3/4" copper. It's really simple.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B35P2ABDWUA
     
  10. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    So how would we locate the exact location where the leak is? Would we have to drain the lines or since the leak is above the pressure there would be no leak? The only thing that scares me is the blow torch. Is it only a canaster full of gase and you just use the flame as if it were the soldiering gun? Also from my description do you feel that those pipes are the problem? Thanks for your help.
     
  11. CW Jones macrumors 6502

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    CT
    #11
    Most times it is NOT the drain. I bet if you try and turn out the shower arm you will find it to be the problem. Those are made of thin wall metal and tend to rot away over time and cause a leak.

    Its also MUCH easier to check that and rule it out or fix it before you open a wall and most likely mess something up. Then spend more money paying someone to fix your mistakes.

    I would check the shower arm, then call a professional. If a homeowner could do plumbing why is there a buisness with professionals with P1 licenses?
     
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #12
    Homeowners just need to know where to look and when to call it quits and call a pro. I find people call the pros before they've even attempted to fix it just because it looks intimidating. Most of the time I've fixed a problem even though at first I thought I'd have to call someone to do it for me.
     
  13. CW Jones macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Not entirely true. Drains are meant to ALWAYS have water sitting in them, hence the traps. So if the trap if dry, then you could guess its the drain. If there is water in the trap its most likely not that. You only call for water when the shower is on. I still say its the shower arm where it comes out of the wing-ell.
     
  14. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Is the shower arm the pipe that the head is attached to?
     
  15. CW Jones macrumors 6502

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    #15
    And if a homeowner needs to ask on a computer forum... where to look or what it might be... they should not attempt it themselves.

    I hope it works out for them, Not saying homeowners CAN'T but 9 times out of 10 the hassle to try and fix it and fail, isn't worth the money spent.

    I work at a supply house, as well as with my father who has his P1 and been doing this for over 30 years. I have seen a lot lol but a homeowner that tries to fix something or sweat a pipe with no experience... was never one of them haha

    Yes, if you can go check that right now I will be on for another 5 minutes and can help you after that.

    It unscrews from a "wing-ell" as its called most times. Go nice and slow when you turn it out, then check the threads on both the ell and the arm.
     
  16. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502

    Ca$hflow

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    #16
    After you open up the wall or ceiling which could be necessary too depending, turn on the water and search for the leak. It will be obvious as the amount you are describing is quite a bit. Currently right now it's tough to determine because the leak is running along the joist and drywall joints and therefore is more of a challenge to find. Once you expose the area finding it will be easy. After you fix the leak leave portable fan on at the opening to make sure everything is dry before you close it in to prevent mold. If you have any wet insulation then remove and replace it too. Make sure everything is dry before you close things up.

    EDIT: Yes it's a canister of propane. no different then your barbecue only smaller and burns cooler. No big deal. Just make sure you have a damp cloth and water if you are soldering close to Joists to control any singeing.
     
  17. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    May 10, 2009
    #17
    if you have the drain closed and the drain is apparently not leaking in that case but water is still flowing through the ceiling it is not at the drain at all it is likely coming from your supply line going to the shower head past the mixer valve/diverter (somewhere between your hot and cold handles and the shower head itself) switch to the spout you use to fill the bathtub and see if it continues to leak running either the shower head or the spout if it does then likely it is at the valve itself where the leak is if it only does it when you shower but not when you draw a bath likely it is in the section of the line going to the shower head. but either way eventually you are going to have to rip out some drywall in the neighboring room to get to the problem unless it is something simple like using some teflon tape to seal the pipe threading to the shower head or spout or maybe replacing the rubber sealing rings in the valve/diverter.

    Also if it is a break at that point in the supply line and you are sure you are dealing with copper pipe cutting coupling a new section sweating it with a torch is at the very worse on a scale of ten a difficulty of 3.

    Just cut the broken section out cleanly clean all the edges use couplers and a section of new pipe to replace it.

    Sand or wirebrush clean the inside of the couplers & the ends of the pipe pieces and apply flux paste heating the copper till its nice and hot (you will notice chromatic discoloration in the copper--I perfer a nice deep blue sheen just don't let it get glowing red hot) and touch the solder to the joint moving it around it for a second or two.

    Important clean burrs on the insides of all the usable cut pipes or you will get an annoying whistle every time you turn the water on

    The solder will get sucked in between the pieces being joined and should be sealed air and water tight. also remember to have some sort of decent fireproofing around the area you are working and definitely goggles.

    I hope this helps
     
  18. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    NJ, USA
    #18
    My parents are both sleeping so I cant check it right now but all I would do is grab the arm that the shower head is screwed onto and gently pull it out of the wall? How far should it go? And when I see the "wing-ell" will it unscrew there? Thanks for your help.

    Its not a tub/shower combo its just the shower so there is no tub spout. Its possible that it has something to do with the valve since it is missing a screw and has been loose for about a year, maybe something finally broke on it?
     
  19. CW Jones macrumors 6502

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    CT
    #19
    Your going to unscrew the shower arm from the wing-ell. If the wing-ell was installed correctly then it shouldn't pull away at all.

    Once it is unscrewed it will come out and you can check the threads on the shower arm, and then inside the wing-ell. The wing-ell will be sweat onto the copper pipe, so it won't come out.

    This is the easiest one to check first and requires no Sheetrock removal or cutting(unless you have to replace the ell.
     
  20. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    So the arm is attached to the wing-ell right at the start of the wall?
     
  21. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #21
    Forget the wing-ell. Just unscrew the arm the shower head is attached to. Then look at the pipe inside the wall.
     
  22. Wallace2 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    How would I know if anything is damaged?
     
  23. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Then that simplifies matters a bit, I still suspect it is at or past the valve I left you instructions for a few possible scenarios editing my first post which will help you whatever the problem may be.
     
  24. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #24
    Got me, it seems CW Jones is the expert. I was just trying to clarify what he was saying.
     
  25. Ttownbeast macrumors 65816

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    #25
    If you unscrew the pipe going into the wall from the shower head that likely will be a threaded connection check the threads for wear or damage and retape (teflon) the threads to ensure the connection is water tight when you screw it back on.
     

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