Tommy’s Tips: Water Leaks

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Where’s that water leak coming from? An all too common question I’ve heard many times over the years!

What I mean by that statement is: not everything is as it may at first appear! Especially when it comes to water leaks, and in particular, small, slow ones which can sometimes be a devil to locate!

In the past I’ve often taken down a section of swollen ceiling plasterboard to fix a leaking supply or waste pipe only to draw a blank, and find that the source of the leak is actually somewhere else, and has travelled to that spot, and can lead to paranoia.

Leaks can often be misleading like that, water will often drip or pour through a light flex position, central to the room. In reality that’s the part of the ceiling that deflects slightly so water will run to the lowest point, and out through the hole in the ceiling where the flex is connected.

Water and electricity, not a good mix, first turn off the power to the lighting ring, via the consumer unit (fuse board). Then by a process of elimination, working outwards from the obvious spot, check all pipe and waste connections for leaks and weeps using paper kitchen roll and a torch, wipe the paper around the joints which will show a leak or weep instantly, I once discovered a leaking compression fitting approximately 12 ft away from the waters exit point through the light flex.

My most recent water leak discovery, was I thought, from alterations to the central heating pipe work within the wall studwork, as the evidence appeared to suggest that! Luckily before I removed the radiator and opened up the stud wall, I looked in the laundry room adjacent to the radiator, and wasn’t surprised to see evidence of a leak on that side of the wall as well.

I routinely checked the supply to the washing machine, and noticed it was wet, realising that I hadn’t tightened it fully when I’d first positioned it months earlier, and it had slowly pooled and soaked up into the wall and skirting’s. I pulled out the washing machine, mopped up the water, and cleaned off the mould. I put a little electric oil heater in the laundry room and turned the heating on to dry it all out for a week, I then rubbed the damaged area down, wiped it all down with white spirit to clean it off, then applied “stain block “(or you could use oil-based undercoat, to the walls, in order to seal in the staining or it will come through the emulsion) then two coats of emulsion, I undercoat and top coated the woodwork, re- connected the washing machine (properly this time!) and everything was as good as new!

The moral of this story; I, just like everyone else, can make stupid mistakes, but luckily I checked out the less obvious causes before I started demolishing the wall, and even though it was aggro, it could have been a lot worse.

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