View Full Version : Question for the handymen and ladies

11-25-2007, 08:28 PM
Ok, I am looking for a little free advice. I have been out of my apartment since Wednesday and when I came back today and started doing some work in my living room I noticed a little plinking noise that sounded like something dripping. I pinpointed it to near the bookcase by my couch and armed myself with all possible mouse-proof clothing before getting down on the ground to inspect below the bookcase (the bookcase is on little feet). Nothing. The room is carpeted and it's not wet anywhere. But as I sit here this sound is undeniable, and it sounds like it is RIGHT in the room. It's clearly not; it must be in the wall, but it's very distinct and wet-sounding.

The only sign of water I can find is up above the bookcase where the paint is bubbled a little bit. I have no idea if it's always been that way or not, and it's not the kind of bubbled paint that I've seen when i had, say, a horrible leak in my bathroom from a broken pipe (those paint bubbles moved and cracked; these do not), but it's there, just a little. There has to be some kind of leak inside the wall, and it has been raining here all day. The building is brick and I am on the first floor with one floor above me. The building is probably 1940s-ish, and it's a'ight, though I have no proof that my landlord puts any thought into any problem in this building beyond throwing some plaster (and, in one memorable case, medical gauze) onto it.

My questions are:

a) is this a typical thing to happen on a rainy day (rainy several days, really), or do I need to call my landlord whom I prefer to deal with as little as possible?
and, more pressingly, b) in the meantime, should I move my bookcase? This is a beautiful antique bookcase which is a family heirloom and to which I am quite attached. It would be a pain to move it as this is my "heavy book" bookcase and it has a big glass door that I'm always scared I'll break while moving it, so moving it would require some book moving and stacking and effort, but I'll do it if the handyfolk on the board think this leak might be something besides my own paranoia.

Thank you very much for your handy help.

11-25-2007, 10:30 PM
I'm assuming you have an apartment above you? If you're not seeing any signs of water damage to the ceiling and/or walls, then it's possible that the noise you are hearing could simply be water running/draining through the pipes in the wall. That is common when those above you are running water (doing dishes, laundry, taking a shower, etc).

May be they left the water on slightly at a sink/tub where it's only dripping (draining) into the pipes. Have you possibly thought about checking with them?

I would definitely move the antique though and continue to monitor the situation. If there is a leak, even a small one, then damage to the ceiling/walls will become evident.

And, if possible, I would definitely be calling the landlord immediately. I'm sure they would want to know right away because they own this property, and water damage, if not caught right away, can be very, very costly.

Falls City Beer
11-25-2007, 10:39 PM
What sometimes happens is that landlords don't clean out gutters, so on a rainy day you'll have rainwater collecting in them, then overflowing, which in turn seeps into the brickwork and potentially through the walls. Call this landlord posthaste and move your furniture away from that wall.

However, if it's not an exterior wall, that's not likely what it is.

11-25-2007, 10:49 PM
I wouldn't move anything unless you are worried water is coming from above the bookcase. If the possible leak is in the wall it is very doubtful that water is going to come spraying out though the wall and damage any furniture.

The other thing is to think about the lay-out of the building. Does it make any sense that water pipes would be in the wall you are talking about. Is there a bathroom or kitchen sink on the other side of the wall in question? If it is an outside wall it is doubtful there are any water pipes.

11-25-2007, 11:05 PM
Thanks for all the advice, guys. To answer the various questions, it is an outside wall, and not near any other plumbing. My upstairs neighbor isn't home, unfortunately, so I can't find out if he's hearing the same thing, but his apartment is laid out same as mine (and I'm well familiar with all of his major noises, unfortunately), so I don't think it's anything he's doing that's causing it. It's definitely a drip-drip.

I think I will move the bookcase and call the landlord in the morning. Better safe than sorry, I guess.