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HELP! Where's the water coming from? Part III

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

I wanted to leave a new message since i have some new information that would potentially get lost in the series of old messages.

Water seems to be appearing/growing under my new hardwood floors and causing them to buckle and warp! This is occuring ONLY in our livingroom.

It has only been 1.5 months since they were installed. So this is happening quite quickly.

We have had a heating expert come out and pressure test and visually inspect our baseboard heating system. It is water tight.

We have had American Leak Detection come out and listen for leaks all over the house---NOTHING. Our hot and cold water lines are not losing pressure. We even paid the extra $250 and had a video camera sent through our waste line...there was minor root intrusions but nothing significant and the waste line is approximately 15 feet away from where the damage is occurring in our home (the waste line runs outside under our patio).

The leak detection guys did identify that there are pipes running under the area where the damage is occuring--but they appear to be holding pressure. He did also indicate that there is a T joint there not to far away from the area in question. The ground under our house is very heavy clay as Ive noted in planting trees that the water does not drain well at all.

Where is the water coming from? There is no rain? Im sure if there is a water table it is low? Why is the damage isolated only to our livingroom? HELP? Day by day our floors become more and more unrepairable. What should we do? No one in any of the companies has the slightest idea how they can help.

Sure we could pay to bypass the pipes in the slab, but that is expensive and it is no guarantee since they cannot identify a leak. Our money is quickly running out.

HELP/Russell

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Joined: Apr 8 2003

I remember reading a story once in Fine Homebuilding about a builder who redid the siding of a whole corner of a house for a client who reported continuous water, only to find when he was done that the client's dog preferred to relieve himself on that corner of the house! The siding had been fine all along.

Not knowing your floor plan, it's hard to say, but it sounds like your systems are all fine, especially since you say your hardwood is not doing this in other rooms. So what else happens nearby? Is there landscaping outside the living room? Do you water it often? Is the kitchen next to the room? A washing machine nearby? Is the slab under the living room level, or is there a slight low point there? Maybe water is getting to your floor when you USE it nearby, and then travelling in your subfloor assembly to this spot where it stays and then does the damage. (I think Lynn touched on this before.) A stretch, I know, but it sounds like you need to consider everything.

Good luck.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Hi Russell- How about doing a moisture map of your floor? You can use a moisture meter like the one here:

http://www.multimeterwarehouse.com/DM4Gf.htm

You may see a pattern and come up with a solution. You can also take 1 foot square pieces of plastic and tape them down tight to your floor in various spots (also mapping the floor) and see if you get condensation after 1 or 2 days. This is a quick and dirty moisture test.

Keep up the good work- you probably have the answer right in front of you but it may not be obvious yet. Give it a few days of thinking. If you can post some photos, that might be helpful.
/Lynn

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

So we all know that concrete is very porous and can absorb water....I'm sure you've thought of these but here are a few more:

do you have a pool?
how long are your sprinklers on at night? could water drain in the soil and collect in that area?
could you do a soil test to see what is in there (possibly leaking sewage, another source of water or liquid)
do your neighbors have sprinklers on that drain into your yard? (happened to my friends--right through their concrete I might add)
does your house sit over a natural/supposedly dried up riverbed (happened to someone else I know!)

all i can think of is that your land is so slightly sloped it is not visible but all the water in the surrounding areas collects there...

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

I totally agree with Cindy . If there is no domestic or radiant water leaking the only place the water can come from is from over watering the yard. My neighrobor water his grass for hours and all the water came over to my yard and satuarated my lawn. It was really bad until i installed a french drain i that took care of the problem. You did not say if you have a french drain. Tom

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

So after approximately $1000 in testing fees, we only know that we have a slow leak in our domestic water line. Using a helium test, the company pumped 70lbs of helium into our domestic water system and over night is dwindled down to approximately 10lbs.

The following are the facts:

1. Living room humidity is very very high
2. Living room floors are warping and buckling
3. Damage to floors is directly above domestic water piping in slab
4. Baseboard heating system is tight
5 Our house sits on horrible clay that doesnt release moisture

We apparently need to do the "slab water pipe bypass" Here is the problem now. We cannot find in our 3 bedroom 2 bath Terra Linda home the "manifold" that were supposed to tap into. Does anyone know where it might be? They say look in closets...we have and see only radiant heating manifold. HELP. Where's the freaking manifold? Is it ALSO in the slab?

Thanks/Russell

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Russel , You said you checked your water meter and the meter did not move so how can there be a water leak in your domestic water line. Tom

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Russell you can find the manifold by listening to the water when it is turn on it is usually very loud since it is above ground.

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

WEll, I did turn off the water and didnt notice any water movement at the meter, however, the pressure test we did was over 24 hours so this is more of a slow leak.

Are manifolds ALWAYS above ground? What do they look like? I don't believe ive ever seen one around here.

Russell

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Yes all manifold are above ground, and they have 6 to 7 copper pipes coming out of the ground just like y our radiant heating manifold. Tom

tom
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Joined: Mar 23 2003

Russell if i were you i would do a 24 hr test yourself and look at the meter to make sure it does drop. I hate to see you do the repair and the same problem. If you do the let me know your results. tom

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

So it looks like I have to get a whole house hot and cold water pipe retrofit. I have a bid from a reputable firm for $4950. This is to run both hot and cold water into 4 locations in the house (over the roof) from the garage.

Does this seem reasonable to you guys?

Thanks/Russell

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Yes- a very reputable company in my neighborhood charges twice that. Check references and perhaps go visit another house that has a retrofit by this company so you know what you are getting. Good luck. /Lynn

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