Drain related disorders: how to spot a leak with visual inspection


Emma Potter

Chromatic variations

In the presence of leaks generated by the drains, the walls and floors can take on different colors. Since the contamination by acidic and polluted water can chemically transform into binders or cause the dispersion of pigments in paints.

The phenomenon is therefore to be considered a vector of complex chemical reactions, often difficult to interpret. Binding materials often undergo a transformation in the presence of elements such as gypsum; which can be formed by combined action with carbonic acid, and ultimately dissolved.

Even oxides, which tend to be visible traces, determine a visual test, since if washed away they tend to stain the surfaces.

Biological formations and bacteria

Drains are a source of nutrition for biological formations generally. Among the most present we find the hydrophilic moldsi mushrooms and the algae.

These three pathogens require different amounts of water, so they tend to populate different areas of the walls, depending on the water present and the quality of the environment.

THE bacteria they must be added to this ecosystem since they benefit from the nutrition produced by these three pathogens, which they can feed on.

Pathologies caused by drains: how to identify a leak with visual inspection 20230919 150446

Center distance of the origin zone

We must always consider whether degraded areas appear to have a epicenterwhich can be in close to the passage of the exhaust pipesor along theirs path. In these cases, the water could leak from the gasket which separates the pipe from the toilet but also along its entire path, depending on the material it is made of.

Potentially, each connection between one element and another can cause water to leak out, in the presence of polyvinyl (PVC) pipes. Polyvinyl is installed using puttyOften not immune to corrosive effects of acid vapours, present inside the exhausts.

Pathologies caused by drains: how to identify a leak with visual inspection WhatsApp image 2024 03 19 hours 16.22.09 4c0412bc

Size of degradation

After identifying one of the probable points of origin of the infiltrationit is necessary to understand how much the home can hide quantity of water present. The quantity of water that can escape changes depending on the use of the sanitary fixtures, but the way in which this dispersed water can be hidden also changes, depending on the materials that make up the home.

For example, if there is a crawl space underneath the floors, it will be necessary to consider that the actual manifestation in the masonry may not be representative of the exact quantity of water present. Since a good part of the dispersion is then conveyed inside the crawl space and years can pass before degradation occurs.

It should also be considered that perforated bricks, historic terracotta bricks and stones have different porosities, with different absorption capacities. If the construction was made with perforated elements, the problem could appear on several walls and over time. Since it will be necessary to wait until the water has completely filled the porous partitions lower than the walking surface, before it can show deterioration on the plaster.

Pathologies caused by drains: how to spot a leak with visual inspection IMG 20210127 165838

Geometry of the event

Consider the geometries of the event is essential. If the leak in a drain occurs on the first floor, it is quite simple to understand the problem position of the originby conveying the water downwards.

If the dispersing drain is located on the ground floor, we will not be able to benefit from visible drips, but we will have to consider where the water can channel depending on the variables present.
It may therefore result misleading rely on the distance from the origin, since in the presence of a concrete slab that is not perfectly horizontal, the dispersed water will flow towards the lowest point of the slab. Which could also be on the opposite sidecompared to the loss.

Pathologies caused by drains: how to spot a leak with visual inspection IMG 20240328 174328

Extension speed

There speed extent of degradation must be considered many factors, in order to determine a logical and easy to understand process. The disturbances dictated by seasonalitymust be considered as a collaborative phenomenon in understanding the problem, since they can cause the filling of biological tanks following persistent rain.

In this case one can happen very fast contamination in the days following the disturbance. When this phenomenon occurs, the advent of biological formations can be noticed very quickly, which determine a chromatic variation of the surface.

Another vector of evaluation, which depends on seasonality, is the presence of radiator or underfloor heating. The strong evaporation generated by the heat of the heating can completely dry the dispersed water in a very short time, generating significant detachments of the plaster near the leak.