Slow dripping leaks may not sound so bad initially. How can one drop of water every ten seconds really be all that bad? However, these leaks can still cause catastrophic damage to a building. Slow leaks tend to go unnoticed until they have already soaked into the insulation and drywall, rotted the rafters, or warped the flooring.
An undetected drip leak can originate from a multitude of sources. Maybe there is a fitting under the slab that the plumber didn’t quite solder properly. Maybe the HVAC technician forgot to properly attach the condensate pump for your indoor coil. Maybe the sink has a hairline crack in it because the warehouse was just a little too rough with it. Maybe the ancient cut-off valves for your toilet corroded long ago and have started seeping water out. Maybe the previous homeowner decided to DIY the shower pan and missed an important step in the youtube video. Once a water-damage claim or suit is filed, a forensic engineer should be called in to find the source of the leak (provided it was not readily apparent), conduct failure analysis on the leaking culprit, and determine the circumstances surrounding the leak, including how it happened and who should be responsible for it.
An investigation should start by looking for the effects of gravity and whether or not water will pool or run on a given surface. Once the source is found, we use failure analysis to figure out why the fitting, valve, fixture, or appliance started leaking in the first place. It could be a manufacturer defect, installation error, improper use, or even improper maintenance.
So, when that drip…drip….drip has taken its toll on you or your client, please let the Failure Analysis Experts at Bison Engineering be the ones to figure out what happened!