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Old 02-15-2008, 07:49 PM
Location: Midtown
177 posts, read 836,939 times
Reputation: 103


I was sitting on my couch in the living room of my condo and I heard a bunch of noise coming from the inside of my wall. I've heard it before but it was always raining and I just assumed (ok convinced myself) that there was the possibility of a drain running from the roof through the party wall. Or maybe some animal?
After putting my head against the wall and clearly hearing the sound of water rushing down from above I am convinced that one of my neighbors pipes is leaking into my wall! I know that the guy immediately above me was doing some 'illegal' improvements but I'm not sure if he is the cause of it. The sound was REALLY loud-like not supposed to be dripping like that loud. I sounded like someone dumped a tub of water into the studs! I lived in a place where water damage seeped into into the drywall and I don't want that to be me! We would push the bubbles in the paint and water would gush out.
My question is-who do I complain to? Do I get someone to come by and poke a hole in my own wall to determine what the problem is or do I go to the property manager? I know I only own to the centerline but I'm sure that my next door neighbor would want to know about it as well. I want to stop this before it becomes a big problem. Thanks!
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Old 02-15-2008, 08:21 PM
24,852 posts, read 47,494,117 times
Reputation: 17879
Default Could be just where the soil stack is located?

It should be readily evident if water is leaking and you have Sheetrock walls... I would check the area where the wall meets the floor.

Never hurts to drop a note to the owner/manager to document your concerns.

Some homes just have noisy plumbing... especially if the soil stack is ABS pipe as opposed to Cast Iron.
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Old 02-16-2008, 07:31 AM
Location: Colorado
45 posts, read 413,580 times
Reputation: 87
Good morning, "cocopuffy:"

As "ultrarunner" points out, water loss in a wall cavity is usually “readily evident.” Unfortunately, it may not become readily evident until months or even years have passed by and the damage is extreme.

However, also pointed out by "ultrarunner," it could be innocent, and what you are hearing is the sewer water running through the pipes, which can be indistinguishable from the sound of water running into the wall cavity.

I would certainly suggest contacting the property manager.

Even though we are industrial hygienists, we are frequently asked to assess such situations, since the water may be associated with either raw sewerage (and therefore bodily fluids, pathogens, and Gram Negative Bacteria, endotoxins, etc) or subsequent mould issues.

There are three common ways that we use to assess such situations. In the simplest, we use a pin probe type moisture meter which has very small nail-like probes and we press the probes into the wall and wall cavity structural members and measure the moisture content of the various structural components. In this way an entire wall can be assessed in a matter of minutes. The device has probes up to 18” long, and allows a very rapid and conclusive determination. The drawback is that the device leave two (very) small holes at each assessment point.

We also will frequently use a digital remote imaging device. We core out a somewhat larger circular hole in the wall (about 1.5” diameter) and we insert a small remote video camera into the wall cavity; the camera has an internal light source. The camera sends a signal to an hand-held viewing screen and we can manipulate the camera through the wall cavity looking at all the wall components and inspecting the internal pipes for signs of leaks. The beauty of the camera is that regardless of the distance the object is from the camera, all object remain in focus (I have no idea how they do it). The drawback is slightly larger holes in the wall (which we don’t fix).

In the third assessment, one use thermography to “look” at the wall, and based on temperature differentials, try to interpret if there is a leak or not. The advantage is that thermography is completely non-destructive. The drawback is that it is also highly subjective and expensive, and usually needs to be followed up with one of the above techniques anyway.

Caoimhín P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

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Old 02-16-2008, 09:35 AM
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,330,556 times
Reputation: 1090
If your apartment was built with PVC pipes, and the drain pipe from the upstairs neighbor's place is running through your wall where you hear the noise, it could just be the water flowing down the drain. PVC pipes can be loud and it sounds just like water running down the wall. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is all you are dealing with.

They make moisture detectors that can be poked into a wall with only a small hole that is very easy to patch. I have no idea where do get one, but our home inspector had one. You could see if you could find someone with one of those to check. I tend to agree with ultrarunner - if it was water between the studs, you'd know. The drywall would be wet and/or stained, and water would be seeping out along the floor. If you end up having to rip out drywall to check, and it turns out to just be a drain or soil stack, take the time to put some insulation in that wall cavity. Its well worth it! Its a good idea to insulate interior walls around bathrooms to reduce plumbing noises
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:30 AM
Location: Holly Springs
3,835 posts, read 9,015,633 times
Reputation: 2933
moisture meters are available at Gas detectors | Thermal Imaging Cameras ,but they are pricey. My bet would be the drain line runs in that wall cavity as mentioned and that is what you are hearing.
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Old 02-16-2008, 11:37 AM
Location: Marietta, GA
857 posts, read 4,283,406 times
Reputation: 789
the easiest and cheapest way to test this out is to call the guy upstairs and ask him to flush his toilet, run his dishwasher, etc, and listen to your wall. It is probably just the waste line running down through your wall and, as stated in other posts, if it is PVC it can be very noisy. If there was a problem such as a leak you would most likely see some evidence of it.
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Old 02-17-2008, 12:57 PM
Location: Midtown
177 posts, read 836,939 times
Reputation: 103
thanks...there is no moisture or water on my walls or floors so that is a relief. I just thought it was strange that I started to hear the noise at about the same time his midnight construction began. The corner where the noise is coming from is where the kitchen is-maybe his dishwasher or something was dumping its water.
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Old 07-25-2013, 09:25 AM
1 posts, read 8,634 times
Reputation: 10
I have also same problem while lots of water raining and symbol of water seen on wall and it is wet. How could we control it ?
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