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Thread: Trickle-down plumbing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default Trickle-down plumbing

    I have been noticing a faint trickling sound in my bathroom... mainly late at night when it's really quiet in the house. The sound is in the floor. No faucets are dripping. Toilets do not seem to be refilling because of bad flappers... if they do, I haven't noticed it. This sound is intermittent... not a constant thing.

    Went into the crawl space to investigate. The large main discharge pipe to the septic tank has 3 basic sources: bathroom #1, bathroom #2, and the kitchen/laundry room discharge. The trickling sound (while it is happening) is easier to hear in the crawl space. I tried to find out which of the 3 discharge pipes is trickling into the main discharge by pressing my ear up against each of them, but no luck. the sound resonates so much that they all sound the same.

    How do I narrow this down so that I can determine the source? I used to use a type of stethoscope when diagnosing bad valve tappets on my car, but the source of this noise is a mystery.

    Since the noise is intermittent, it may be a bad flapper, but all of them look and function good.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    I hate to suggest this, but you could cut the pipes and set them over a bucket (could cut one at a time hoping you guess right on the first pipe). Then, put in a coupler to put them back together (hopefully you have room to bend the pipes and a solvent type coupler will just push into place). A fernco solution would be a possible future leak source but maybe not a big issue in a crawl space.

    Another possibility would be if you have a clean out in the each run and can open it and look down the pipe to see if you can see the trickle.

    If you think it is toilets, turn off their water and fully open the flapper to drain the tank. See if the trickle sound goes away during the night and turn the toilet back on in the morning.

    Do you have an air conditioner or dehumidifier that has a condensate pump or hose that dumps water into a drain?
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Welland Ontario
    Posts
    398

    Default

    Most likely cause is a toilet. Turn off the supply to the toilet and flush it. Wait and see if drip stops.
    Operation Overlord.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    8

    Default You guys got it!

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    Most likely cause is a toilet. Turn off the supply to the toilet and flush it. Wait and see if drip stops.
    Well, suemarkp and chrisb, score another one for you guys. Thank you! It was a toilet.
    Suemarkp, your diagnostic process was something that had occurred to me, but I dreaded cutting pipe or dealing with the cleanout plug for obvious reasons.
    While in one of the bathrooms this morning, I heard the dribble again. Cursing under my breath, I went back to bed. Almost immediately, my dog began indulging himself in one of his early morning activities (barking at some unseen critter). Got up again, and went to the other bathroom, since it is close to where the dog is. Started to open the window to tell Fido to shut up, when I heard a very faint trickle from the toilet. Followed your instructions about flushing. Turned off water to the toilet and the trickle is gone.

    The new toilets (both of ours are fairly new), as you know are super-quiet fillers. That was why this leak went so long undetected.

    Thanks again, my friends!

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