During a recent home inspection in Fairlawn, Ohio, we discovered a fairly common item that we see on homes that are vacant for a period of time. When a tub in the upstairs bathroom was turned on, water was flowing directly out of the ceiling.
On the surface, this looked like a total disaster. In reality, it is a pretty simple fix, especially with the access hole that is already present in the garage ceiling. What likely caused this leak is a crack in the bottom of the trap. When homes sit vacant, water left in pipes can freeze. The trap is present to create a water seal in the plumbing to prevent sewer gas from flowing out of the drain. When the water in the trap freezes, it expands. In this case, it expanded and split the trap open, causing what appears as a very large leak in the drain.
On an inspection, it is important that the inspector runs the tubs/shower to identify issues like this. What is probably more important is that the inspector has the knowledge to properly identify what is causing the issue so that the buyer can make an informed decision.
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