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Cause Of Upstairs Shower Plumbing Leaking To Downstairs Ceiling


plumbing ceiling stainYou see a stain on your downstairs ceiling, you know, right below your upstairs shower plumbing. That’s trouble. It could be the drain, the pressurized water supply plumbing, or a host of other items. Here is a step-by-step method to troubleshooting where the leak is coming from.

The first thing to do is to remove the shower head and cap the arm. Then turn on the shower valve. This will pressurize the incoming water supply piping and isolate this as a potential cause. It is a good idea to turn on the hot and cold handles separately to isolate each of those as well. If you have a single handle shower valve, you can turn it to full hot or full cold for this. Remove the escutcheon plate covering the shower valve and look inside for a leak. You will also want to go downstairs and listen for dripping during these steps.

If you can’t find a leak, remove the cap on the shower arm and attach a garden hose to it. You will have to screw on an adapter for the hose to thread on to it. Run the hose directly into the drain opening. This will isolate the drain as a potential cause. Run the water and listen for drips.

Still no leak? Plug up the shower drain and fill the pan with water. You can use a tennis ball or other object. Let this sit overnight to see if you get a drop in the water level and drips on the ceiling.

If everything has checked out so far, check for gaps in the caulking and the grout, if you have tile in the shower. You might be looking at a maintenance issue that has been overlooked. You can reinstall the shower head and start in one corner and start spraying the shower to look and listen for leaks.


Left untreated, a leak from your shower plumbing can do serious damage. Your shower probably gets used at least once a day (or every other day), so the leak is pretty much in "go" mode. It can ruin your ceiling/floors if not taken care of.
Posted @ Friday, June 24, 2011 1:12 PM by 800 Plumbing
Did you get it fixed ok?
Posted @ Thursday, January 19, 2012 10:23 PM by Plumbers Raleighj
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