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Water Leak in Wall - how to locate break accurately?

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Deal Fanatic
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Mar 28, 2005
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Cornwall, Ontario

Water Leak in Wall - how to locate break accurately?

I ended up with a leaking water supply pipe in an outside wall.
In my opinion, water supply pipes should not be in outside walls to start with, especially in Canada, but that is now water under the bridge.
Do plumbers have some tools where they can pinpoint the leak reasonably accurately or do they end up ripping open the whole wall until they find the leak?
11 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2011
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Drywall saw or Olfa knife.
"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
Just a guy who dabbles in lots of stuff learning along the way. I do have opinions, and readily share them!
Deal Addict
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Aug 12, 2007
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Waterloo
krs wrote: I ended up with a leaking water supply pipe in an outside wall.
In my opinion, water supply pipes should not be in outside walls to start with, especially in Canada, but that is now water under the bridge.
Do plumbers have some tools where they can pinpoint the leak reasonably accurately or do they end up ripping open the whole wall until they find the leak?
I dont think they are in outside walls.
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Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
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Mississauga
Supahhh wrote: I dont think they are in outside walls.
You haven’t seen how they build new houses around here...

Most commonly found are supply lines running through garage ceilings (because there’s living space above the garage) with inadequate/no insulation.
Deal Addict
Jan 5, 2003
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Toronto
If you have a rough idea but want to pinpoint it to minimize damage, then I would just rip out all the drywall in that wide area anyway. All that insulation and drywall is now wet and mouldy so needs to be removed and replaced. If you have NO idea where it is, then, yeah, that's much more difficult...

Let's start with: how do you know there's a leak? Water/mold at the bottom of the wall?
Deal Fanatic
Jun 11, 2005
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Mississauga
Water follows gravity and any cavity down. Look for the highest wet spot and open there. That should be the source of the leak.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2011
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Center of Universe
mrweather wrote: You haven’t seen how they build new houses around here...

Most commonly found are supply lines running through garage ceilings (because there’s living space above the garage) with inadequate/no insulation.
Never seen that in the 3 new builds I've bought?
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Aug 12, 2007
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Waterloo
mrweather wrote: You haven’t seen how they build new houses around here...

Most commonly found are supply lines running through garage ceilings (because there’s living space above the garage) with inadequate/no insulation.
vkizzle wrote: Never seen that in the 3 new builds I've bought?
Garages Ive seen. and have seen when the Garage door is left open in -20 weather the pipes freeze. and yes they are not properly insulating those pipes and walls with pipes in them.
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Deal Addict
Dec 25, 2007
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GTA
If water is flowing through the pipes, it shouldn't have frozen.l We haven't had sustained cold temperatures for long enough. There may be another reason for the leak.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
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Mississauga
vkizzle wrote: Never seen that in the 3 new builds I've bought?
If your location is correct, maybe builders in the NCR are more conscientious about this issue. But it has certainly happened in the GTA. One example was a bathroom located over a covered porch and the pipes froze because of poor insulation in the ceiling of the porch.
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
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Ontario
Either way if you have a leak and the pipes are on the outside wall you will need open up all the drywall so you can insulate it properly OR if possible move the pipe to the warmer side so this does not happen in a month or 2 when its -30c outside. Open it up properly insulate the wall behind the pipe and close it back up.
krs wrote: I ended up with a leaking water supply pipe in an outside wall.
In my opinion, water supply pipes should not be in outside walls to start with, especially in Canada, but that is now water under the bridge.
Do plumbers have some tools where they can pinpoint the leak reasonably accurately or do they end up ripping open the whole wall until they find the leak?

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