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  1. #1
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    slow puddles of water seeping across kitchen floor

    My wife owns a townhouse style home. Just recently, we noticed the water pump kicks in every 10-20 minutes really briefly (for about 5 seconds) without any water taps being used inside the house. I was able to ignore the odd occurrence for about a week or so, but now I notice slight puddles of water seeping across the kitchen floor from under one of the kitchen cabinets. Luckily the bottom of the cabinet has a removable ~18 toe kick (face plate, cover, whatever) to hide the dead space of the elevated cabinet.

    Once removed, i notice the general area where about 16 ceramic tiles are moist-to-puddling wet. After mopping the floor dry, puddles take about 3-4 hours to re-form on the floor, and it must be such a slow process because the water seems to seep along the grooved grout lines and not gush across the face of most of the tiles affected (wet; I hope that makes sense).

    I am guessing we have a cracked PVC pipe or mysteriously loosened fitting or joint under the floor, and I am assuming the water pipes throughout the main floor of the house are seated in a concrete bed or foundation, which is giving me a slight headache to think about. I am not sure at this point if removing any of the wet tiles would do me any good as i do not expect I will actually see the pipe; if anything, I might see wet concrete if my suspicions are correct?

    I know just about everything I want to know about Thai construction, and that is a whole lotta nothing. I have attempted in the past to deal with local contractors doing various jobs, and have been handily dealt with instead when they simply ignore any and everything I say. So, before I decide to go ahead and make my slight headache even worse by calling in a local contractor, I would appreciate any suggestions or advice anyone might have to share. Likely some things or steps I could and should do before turning to the, ummm, "pros."

    It is raining atm which is a good thing so I confirm if rain has any added affect on the problem, which I am not expecting it will. Also the wife is going home for the weekend and as soon as she is gone i plan to shut-off the water from outside, between the water pump and the house, for a few hours when I expect the slow water puddling to cease, justifying my headache.

    In the meantime if anyone else has any ideas or suggestions I would appreciate to read them.

    BTW, the house is ~20-25 years old.
    Last edited by thaitang; 27-05-2011 at 02:57 PM.

  2. #2
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    dirtydog's Avatar
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    Underground pipe most likely leaking, turn off the pump, turn on a low level tap to release water pressure, then check to see how big your puddle gets.

  3. #3
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    First thing
    Check to see if the sink drain pipe is the source of the water.
    These are more likely to be the problem and only leak a bit when the sink it being emptied

  4. #4
    sabaii sabaii
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  5. #5
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    If the house is 20 - 25 years old, more than likely the pipes are galvanised metal and over that period will have corroded to the point where leaks will certainly occur. Plus differential settlement of the house foundations will stress and eventually crack the pipes.

    And yes, the pipes will almost certainly be embedded in the house foundation, concrete beams etc. etc..

    The best and most permanent solution is to cut off all the old piping from where it exits the Pump, don't bother to dig up the old pipes, just block the old main pipe where it leaves the Pump and leave the old pipe circuit in situ - but no longer in service.

    You will then have to install a complete new piping circuit - ABOVE Ground, so any future leaks can easily be found - to all the water outlets in the house.

    I suggest you use the newer Blue plastic piping, it's much easier to install - just cut to length and glue together use readily available elbow and "T" joints - no need for time consuming Tapping and Threading tools.

    The process is a bit of a pain and may take a day or two but it is FAR cheaper, and a much more permanent end to any future problems than trying to dig up and repair the old galvanised piping.

    Patrick

  6. #6
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    turn off the pump, turn on a low level tap to release water pressure, then check to see how big your puddle gets.
    I just turned the water pump and outside water valve off and released pressure from the pipes, as well as wiped the floor dry. Now I expect there to be no puddling in the next 3-4 hours, or as long as the water is shut off to the house. I will report back in a few hours.

    I was expecting to see some displaced or missing grout from between tiles through which the water is seeping, but there do not appear to be any such gaps or missing sections of grout. So, I wonder, it is possible for water to seep through grout then, since it does not seem likely for the water to be seeping through the ceramic tiles. How much of a PITA is this likely to make narrowing down a definite area in the floor under which the cracked/loose PVC causing the problem might be?

    First thing
    Check to see if the sink drain pipe is the source of the water.
    These are more likely to be the problem and only leak a bit when the sink it being emptied
    The sink is seated in the counter top that is adjacent and its drain is attached, via a flexible hose (and some duct tape; really hoaky-looking job to be sure and will likely need attention sooner rather than later) to the backwall of the kitchen (other side of the wall is the backside of the house to which there is no easy access). There is also moisture around the PVC fitting coming out of that back wall for the sink's tap that will need attention next, but is only moist the moisture does not appear to be running, all of the tiles surrounding the moist PVC fitting are dry, so it is hard to see how might be the source of the puddles on the floor of the kitchen.

    The water pump is working fine. It does not turn on excessively long, or it is not overheating, and there are no strange sounds coming from its operation. It appears to be a good tell-tale for the problem occurring in the kitchen.

    The rain we got this afternoon did not appear to make an measurable difference in the amount of puddling that trickles along the floor over the usual 3-4 hours, so it is too early to rule anything out, but I am thinking it is not as likely to be a leak in the wall behind the kitchen through which rain could have been seeping through. That sounds logical enough I think.

    Thanks for the early replies and any additional ideas or suggestions will be as appreciated as those already rendered.

  7. #7
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    The best and most permanent solution is to cut off all the old piping from where it exits the Pump, don't bother to dig up the old pipes, just block the old main pipe where it leaves the Pump and leave the old pipe circuit in situ - but no longer in service.

    You will then have to install a complete new piping circuit - ABOVE Ground, so any future leaks can easily be found - to all the water outlets in the house.
    Well this certainly has been discussed between me and the missus. I much prefer to do the work myself and know how well or what corners were cut to help avoid or identify future problems. The idea, however, of running pipe ABOVE ground sounds quite crude, but functional to be sure. I already want to re-do all of the piping out in the front of the house that looks like it was thrown in without much thought since none of six! locations of water taps for our small patio make much sense, when two taps installed with purpose would serve all of our requirements. Worse however, is that the pipe is just begging for problems laying on the ground along the wall; so perhaps I will need to move that project to priority number one and expand it to include the internal house pipe.

    Of course before going all-gang-busters, I need to be pretty sure the problem is in fact leaky pipes in the floor.

    A project like this has the promise to justify a few new toys in the tool department which is certainly appealing. I wonder if perhaps I could hide the piping in some crown-molding along the ceiling or some sort of custom-built enclosure running along the wall that might make the installation a little more appealing to the eyes?

    Any ideas about this possible solution are welcomed also.

  8. #8
    sabaii sabaii
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    Did you open the link ?







    Best Answer - Chosen by Asker

    If you mean your pump turns on and off rapidly (really short cycles) you have a waterlogged pressure tank. The pressure tank for your system has an air space inside that is separated from the water by a neoprene bladder or diaphragm. The air provides a cushion for the pump and system since air is compressible and water isn't. Sometimes the diaphragm will develop a small hole and water will enter the air space. You may be able bleed the water out and recharge the air or in some cases the diaphragm will have to replaced.
    Asker's Rating:Asker's Comment:seems to be the closest to my problem but, i would like to have a follw up question....
    Quote Originally Posted by thaitang
    The water pump is working fine. It does not turn on excessively long

  9. #9
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabaii sabaii View Post
    Did you open the link ?

    Best Answer - Chosen by Asker


    If you mean your pump turns on and off rapidly (really short cycles) you have a waterlogged pressure tank. The pressure tank for your system has an air space inside that is separated from the water by a neoprene bladder or diaphragm. The air provides a cushion for the pump and system since air is compressible and water isn't. Sometimes the diaphragm will develop a small hole and water will enter the air space. You may be able bleed the water out and recharge the air or in some cases the diaphragm will have to replaced.
    Yeap I sure did open the link, and I appreciate the info; good stuff there for other potential problems for people with water pumps that may come in handy down the road, but I did mention that:
    we noticed the water pump kicks in every 10-20 minutes really briefly (for about 5 seconds) without any water taps being used inside the house
    which I do not consider rapid turning on and off of the water pump. The water pump seems fine, except it comes on feeding water to the house when no one is using water, which is what peaked my interest in the first place. Actually the water pump is sort of a good idea in LOS to help indicate leaky pipes, b/c it was the water pump a month or two ago that indicated another leak, but lucky for me that was just one of the taps in the bathroom and a relatively easy Re&Re since the fitting came out of the wall fitting easy enough.

  10. #10
    sabaii sabaii
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaitang
    but now I notice slight puddles of water seeping across the kitchen floor from under one of the kitchen cabinets. Luckily the bottom of the cabinet has a removable ~18 toe kick (face plate, cover, whatever) to hide the dead space of the elevated cabinet. Once removed, i notice the general area where about 16 ceramic tiles are moist-to-puddling wet. After mopping the floor dry, puddles take about 3-4 hours to re-form on the floor, and it must be such a slow process because the water seems to seep along the grooved grout lines and not gush across the face of most of the tiles affected (wet; I hope that makes sense).
    Go in the cupboard under your sink

    Now run your hand along the pipes going to your taps,

    check the UBend and trap too.

    Place some newspaper in there and keep an eye on it

    I reckon this problem is a lot simpler than you think

  11. #11
    sabaii sabaii
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    The water pump is going off and on because you are losing pressure

  12. #12
    sabaii sabaii
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    Do you have an isolation valve on the pipe going to your tap, under the sink ?


  13. #13
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabaii sabaii View Post
    Do you have an isolation valve on the pipe going to your tap, under the sink ?
    No isolation valve. The water source for the sink tap consists of a flexible tube from the tap's bottom feed to a shut-off-valve attached to a PVC fitting that protrudes from the wall.

    Good idea with the newspaper, but none of the inside of that cabinet feels damp other than some visible mositure around/on the shut-off valve attached to the PVC fitting that protrudes from the wall. There is no water that appears to be trickling down from this valve onto the tiles; they feel bone-dry.

    Perhaps the moisture that is visible around the sink tap's water source shut-off valve is coming from the same leak problem, since it is only ~5 feet away from where water is puddling on the floor from under the adjacent cabinet sitting elevated from the floor.

  14. #14
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Is the thermostat set a little too high for the size of your radiators?

    Sometimes in these kind of temperatures, the thermostat should be tweaked down a bit, particularly if you have scrimped on the cost of huge radiators and only installed them kiddie size ones in the broom cupboard and under the stairwell.
    You will probably find that there is a pinhole in one of the radiators, that can be temporarily fixed by removing the tap thingy at the side of the rad with a fuck off great big monkey wrench, and cracking a raw egg into it.

  15. #15
    sabaii sabaii
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    Quote Originally Posted by thaitang
    No isolation valve. The water source for the sink tap consists of a flexible tube from the tap's bottom feed to a shut-off-valve attached to a PVC fitting that protrudes from the wall.
    Shut that down, then you are going to have to go and look at this





    Quote Originally Posted by thaitang
    The sink is seated in the counter top that is adjacent and its drain is attached, via a flexible hose (and some duct tape; really hoaky-looking job to be sure and will likely need attention sooner rather than later) to the backwall of the kitchen (other side of the wall is the backside of the house to which there is no easy access)
    And when you say




    Quote Originally Posted by thaitang
    There is also moisture around the PVC fitting coming out of that back wall for the sink's tap that will need attention next, but is only moist the moisture
    I reckon the water flows from there when your pump kicks in

    Wait until the water pump comes on then check everywhere

  16. #16
    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    Shut that down, then you are going to have to go and look at this
    Currently, I have the water main turned off as well the water pump is also off. Before I turn it back on, I want to give it a couple of hours to see if water continues to still seep out onto the floor or not.

    Afterwards, when I turn on the water and pump,
    I reckon the water flows from there when your pump kicks in
    Wait until the water pump comes on then check everywhere
    The fitting for this sink tap goes into the back wall (the other side facing outside which is not readily accessible), and so if this fitting or section of pipe is indeed leaking inside the wall or somewhere close by (because there does not appear to be any external leaking from the fitting) and feeding up to this point as a way of (least resistance) exit, I am not sure how I can tell without removing wall tiles that this is the source of the leak; and even then the pipe is likely to be buried in the concrete wall (I am uncertain and only making assumptions here), so what might I see if tiles were removed but possibly, likely wet concrete?

    I wish the puddling of water was occurring inside of the cabinet; I could then be fairly certain to replace the sink tap's fittings and as well as the hacky flexible pipe fitted to the sink's drain.

  17. #17
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    Double Post
    Last edited by Patrick; 27-05-2011 at 07:47 PM.

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    If your Pump is turning on and off and no water outlets in the house are open there are only two possible reasons:

    1) You are losing "pressure" (i.e. air) from your system (as sabaii sabaii seems so insistant on proving).

    OR

    2) You are losing "product" (i.e. water) from your system

    You are finding "product" (i.e. water) on your floor so it seems clear that water is what your system is leaking - yes?

    I have experienced this exact problem with my house - 30+ years old - here in Bangkok.


    Old galvanised steel pipes eventually corrode and start to leak - at first a small pinhole in one pipe which will quickly develop into a 1 or 2 mm hole then continue to expand; other pipes - obviously installed at the same time - are in a similar state of degredation and will soon follow.

    You will spend years on tenterhooks waiting for the next (inevitable) leak, then tracing and trying to repair each corroded point in the underground, foundation embedded, circuit.

    Yes the "above ground" solution seems crude but the installation can quite easily be disguised in a variety of ways.

    Patrick

  19. #19
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
    withnallstoke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick
    2) You are losing "product" (i.e. water) from your system You are finding "product" (i.e. water) on your floor so it seems clear that water is what your system is leaking - yes?
    Not conclusive.
    The fact that he is still breathing may point to an outpouring of "pressure" (i.e. air), that is under so much "pressure" in this "heat", that it may be "condensing" back to water.

  20. #20
    sabaii sabaii
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    No, I think he's losing pressure due to the leak, not air.

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    Member thaitang's Avatar
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    Well, after having the water pump turned off the puddling on the kitchen floor slowed, but did not dissipate completely. I became concerned thinking that perhaps because it was raining at the time that perhaps the water might be be coming from outside thru the back wall. However, then I remembered the shut-off valve from the water tank had not been turned off yet. Once I did that and mopped up the floor once again, there was no sign of puddling for the next 4 hours. In fact the grout between the tiles that were generally being piddled on was completely, bone dry, with no sign of moisture, confirming that:
    No, I think he's losing pressure due to the leak, not air.
    When I turned just the water tank shut-off valve back on, within the hour there was once again puddles beginning to form in the same spot. Once the water pump is turned on the puddling just occurs much faster.

    Upon inspection of the water pipe feeding the kitchen sink under the adjacent counter moisture was again still visible and can be wiped away, but is not dripping or trickling down any of the tile which surround the pipe coming in thru the back wall. I forgot to check the sink's shut-off valve under the sink while the water pump and water tank shut-off valve were turned off, so I can only assume they also dried up without any water source to leak.

    So it seems pretty certain that the source of the leak is coming from the pipe network embedded in the floors and walls; either old and rusting galvanized pipes,or shoddy workmanship of PVC fittings.

    I appreciate the help and ideas so far, and would appreciate reading any further steps that can be taken to check or verify or narrow the problem down without popping or breaking away any tiles or opening up the walls.

  22. #22
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by tat 1973
    ....I am a new user here...
    Are you saying you have a puddle spreading behind your ears?

  23. #23
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    I have been reading this thread with interest as I think that I may have the same problem as you , but without the puddle.
    House is only 4/5 years old and the pipes are all the blue pvc stuff.
    Never noticed any problem before because , as we were'nt staying in the house full time , I only put a pump in last november.
    I put the pump in myself and also did all the piping up where the pipe goes into the house.
    I purposefully left all pipes exposed for 4 days before covering them to make sure there were no leaks ect.
    I have had the same problem with my pump from the 1st day as well.
    All indications are that it's a leak as when I shut off the valve between the pump and the house , with the pump power still on , the pump stays off , which tells me the pump is holding it's pressure just fine.
    I have checked all the taps and also the toilet mechanism and there are no leaks , but I'm losing pressure somewhere.
    My problem is that I have no visible signs of water or even dampness to give me a clue as to where the pipe may be broken.

    cheers

  24. #24
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by storm1fishing
    My problem is that I have no visible signs of water
    Probably the toilet then.
    Have you checked both the cistern overflow and the cistern flange washer ?
    (assuming it's a flusher)

  25. #25
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    yes m8 checked both. Even turned the toilet water off at the tap in both toilets. Pump still comes on for a few seconds every few minutes.
    It's really got me baffled.

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