Plumbing in the Home/Leak Detection


I live in a condo building on the seventh floor in unit 712.  My neighbor on the fifth floor in unit 512 is seeing water dripping at the top of her wall in her entryway which is behind the plumbing of our guest bathrooms.  It appears that when I use my bathroom the leak appears.  I ran a test over the past week to see exactly which item in my bathroom is causing the leak.  On Sunday, I turned on the toilet water and flushed it a couple of times.  On Monday night, the neighbor said there was no leak.  On Tuesday and Wednesday, we used the toilet as normal but not the bathroom sink and unit 512 reported no leak.  On Wednesday night thru Thursday evening, I was away from home and had the main water supply to my unit shutoff just in case any leaking occurred.  On Thursday night, I turned the water back on and began using the toilet and sink as normal.  Unit 512, called me on Saturday morning and said the leak was back.  It seemed to me that it appeared to be related to the bathroom sink.  We stopped using the bathroom sink but continued to use the toilet.  On Monday night, unit 512 called to say the leak had increased.  It had gone from a drip to a bigger drip.  I tried to get it investigated by a plumber here that was referred to me by my building maintenance manager.  When I explained the problem to him, he said that he felt that it was a building issue and not a unit issue since the unit directly below me showed no signs of a leak and that I should contact the condo management company to look into it.  Since the leak takes so long to show up on the fifth floor, I am not sure that calling another plumber wouldn't be a waste of time.  What is your take on this leaking situation?  Do you have any idea of what I should do next concerning this leak?  By the way, there is no evidence of a leak in my unit or the unit directly below me on the sixth floor.  Let me know if you need more information.

Hello Angela,
The first plumber is correct. In a condo, you are responsible from the "paint in". All the building systems are the responsibility of the HOA and building maintenance department. You should not be spending any money or time on this.  You pay HOA fees every month for just this reason.  

Tracking down leaks like this is a difficult problem in any situation. Doing it via email is impossible. The HOA's maintenance should be actively dealing with this.

Good Luck,

PS: Check your documents, called the CC&Rs. (Covenants, Conveyances & Restrictions) That will lay out who is responsible. I'm in California and your mileage may vary! LOL

Plumbing in the Home

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


Retired, Licensed General Contractor with Plumbing license. Active Home Inspector, Litigation Consultant and Infrared Thermographer, Online Marketing specialist.

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