Water Leakage into Your Building Part #1

 Water intrusion and leakage into your house is the most significant deteriorating condition your house will encounter. In the next series of blogs I will address things that must be considered when attempting to mediate a water/moisture intrusion issue in the home.

Origin of leakage: there are three primary sources of water leaks
  1. roof or building envelope leaks
  2. plumbing supply or sanitary drain leakage
  3. condensation within the building envelope

Roof or Building Leaks
roofing leaks are assumed to be the most common cause of water leakage into the interior of the house by homeowners. Often a roofer is called in to evaluate the roof and find leaks. In many cases the source of the leakage is not visually identifiable. The point of infiltration through the roof is not always directly above the interior water intrusion point. Water will follow framing members and other building components, sometimes great distances before they find their way to the interior.

Any penetration through the building envelope is a potential source of water intrusion because of inadequate flashing. Flashing is required where dissimilar components intersect with one another, such as a roof and a second-story wall, plumbing penetrations through the roof, the roof against a chimney etc.

Plumbing Leakage
the water supply plumbing is under significant pressure (80 PSI) and water leakage commonly occurs around compression fittings and valves that deteriorate with age. On rare occasions we find nails or screws penetrating the piping which take a considerable amount of time to rust away allowing leakage.

The sanitary drain system primarily leaks at slip joints for pipe connections and at the plumbing fixtures themselves. Toilets frequently become loose at the floor and the wax seal between the toilet and the sanitary drain flange becomes compromised.

it is very common for us to find water leakage in a house that is suspected to be a roof leak or a plumbing leak. Numerous trips to the house by roofers and plumbers may not find the source of leakage. Eventually the homeowner will call for infrared thermal imaging testing to track down the leakage. Many times it is found to be condensation.

In the State of Tennessee outdoor air humidity is much higher than in other parts of the United States. Air leakage through the building envelope comes in contact with the air conditioned space or air conditioning equipment which is at a temperature below the dewpoint of the outdoor air. Moisture in the vapor state converts to a liquid when about 970 BTUs are removed from the air.

Methods For Identifying Moisture
the process for identifying the source of moisture consists of three steps:
  1. identify the location of moisture; a water leak is generally identified by one small area where water is penetrating the walls or ceilings. Moisture testing equipment will identify the extent and size of this water that is not visibly identifiable.
  2. identify the source of moisture; the source of the water can be from building envelope leakage, plumbing leakage and/or condensation. The source of the moisture must be identified to identify which component has failed or is promoting water vapor to convince to a liquid.
  3. identify the path of moisture; a water leak can travel considerable distances throughout the building and a cause widespread damage or deterioration beyond the points of entry and exit into the building.

In my next blog Water Leakage into Your House Part #2, I will discuss the process and equipment which we utilize in greater detail to identify and document moisture intrusion.

Submitted by DavidAndersen on Thu, 02/14/2013 - 00:16.


The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options