There are plenty of reasons why a bathtub leaks. Sometimes there may be underlying issues causing the leaky bathtub, but that is not always the cause.
Still, it would be best to act fast before the bathtub leak worsens. Water leaking from your bathtub may cause water damage, compromising the integrity of different components.
Water damage is dangerous and may leave lasting effects. A leaking bathtub can impact your floor tiles, chipping at grout, paint, and eventually at the tiles themselves.
Any water leaking within walls or flooring may settle in crawl spaces and gaps between your home’s floors, breeding mold.
Using a plumber’s putty to patch up cracks and abrasions to reduce a tub leak can only do so much. Improperly measured plumber’s putty can chip into your tub drain opening and cause clogs.
Ensure you examine your bathtub for any symptoms, and call a professional immediately if you notice a tub leak.
How Do I Inspect My Bathroom for a Bathtub Leak?
Examine your faucet for any unusual activity. Turn the gasket on, and let the water run for a couple of minutes. Turn the faucet off, and see how long before the water stops flowing.
It is unusual for the water flow to continue running when the faucet is turned off. If there’s a constant drip, it may indicate a leak somewhere in your drain pipes.
Take note of water flow toward tub drains. After turning the running water off, inspect whether the water level is still or swirling around your drain. There may be a clog if water isn’t freely flowing down the bathtub drain.
A clog doesn’t necessarily point to a leak, but enough air or water pressure buildup can burst a pipe.
You can discern whether there’s a drain leak using your other senses. You may pick up on noises from leaking drains, a busted pipe, and stepping on a wet floor.
Follow your gut when you pick up on these things and investigate where the noises are coming from.
If the floor is wet, there should be sounds of water splashing coming from the area. If the floor is directly below an upstairs bathroom, one of your plumbing fixtures may be leaking downstairs.
What’s Wrong with My Tub Drain?
The fastest way to explain away a leaking tub is an overflow. It can cause water to overflow into your bathroom floor and leak downstairs.
If you left your tub faucet running, the water might have filled up past the tub wall or a compromised overflow plate.
An overflow pipe attachment prevents these ordeals, but don’t leave the room if you don’t have one.
Water drains down your pipes and exits your home through sewer lines, but a clog may cause leaks and need repair. So many plumbing lines are intertwined with one another, and a pipe with problems may cause a domino effect.
Don’t hesitate to contact professionals if water isn’t going down your shower drain or if any drain opening produces backflow.
Below are some of the most common reasons for a leaking bathtub.
Clogged pipes leak because they create tension from built-up air pressure. Minor clogs are easily remedied with drain cleaners and snaking.
Still, major clogs from foreign objects or microparticles that cause chemical reactions may burst a pipe quicker.
Most plumbing fixtures come with an overflow pipe. Your shower, sink, or bathtub faucet is linked to an overflow pipe installed behind a wall or counter.
It is where excess water goes when your tub is nearing capacity.
The overflow pipe is linked to an overflow plate typically located under or around the tub faucet and sealed by a corresponding gasket.
Drain Assembly Components and How They Work
A leaking tub drain may not be caused by wear and tear. An improper drain assembly can lead to faulty drains and pipes. Your leaky bathtub may have been compromised to begin with, resulting in persistent leaking drains.
The next time you fill the tub, bring the water level to full capacity. You will notice water flows through a different drain pipe.
You may not notice right away because it sits behind the overflow plate.
Tub Overflow Drain: Overflow drain opening, overflow gasket, overflow tube, overflow gasket
A silver circular plate with two screws holding it down may seem like it only serves as the base of the trip lever.
However, looking closely, you will see one or a couple of holes in its body.
Your tub’s overflow plate leads excessive water flow down the overflow tube and back into the drain pipe. The overflow drain pipe prevents your tub from overflowing outside the tub wall.
However, the overflow gasket behind the overflow pipe helps prevents backflow and leaks.
The integrity of your overflow gasket will deteriorate over time. A rubber gasket creates a watertight seal but absorbs residual moisture the water leaves behind. A compromised overflow gasket may cause a bathtub drain leak.
Its rubber can chip, cause clogs within the overflow drain, and affect the rest of the tub overflow drain pipe.
You can run to the local hardware store to replace the overflow gasket. Installing a new gasket is best done by a licensed plumber.
Without the necessary know-how and expertise, you might cause more damage to an already leaking tub drain.
Plumbing fixtures installed by anyone other than a licensed plumber may be unreliable, unstable, and flimsy. Your tub’s overflow tube may be improperly linked to the rest of your pipes, resulting in bathtub leaks.
Remedying missing caulk or reducing excess putty is one thing. However, it is not an easy fix to repair or replace anything behind walls.
Bathtub Drain Leaking: Is a Bathtub Leak a Major Issue?
Your bathtub drain leaking due to a clog may be minor and can be easily remedied. However, an overflow tube with compromised links to the rest of your plumbing pipes can cause extensive water damage.
If the bathtub leaks, follow its trail to find the source.
Water leaking into unseen places for prolonged periods won’t just compromise the integrity of your walls, floors, and ceiling. It is a great breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and hazardous microorganisms to thrive.
One particular growth poses great risks, demanding costly repair and remediation.
Mold Growth (Serious Issue)
Moisture captures mold spores in the air, typical for humid climates like Florida.
Mold remediation experts will tell you the best remedy against it is prevention. While air quality plays a major role, securing your plumbing helps prevent any seemingly harmless water stains from harboring mold and mildew.
What Should I Do if My Bathtub Leaks?
First, check if your plumbing has a main access panel. If there’s a master control to your home’s water supply, trip the switch to shut down supply valves and call a professional plumber immediately.
Conducting at-home remedies for complicated issues may further compromise your situation. There are plenty of how-to articles online offering tips and tricks, but it’s ill-advised to tear through your walls and ceilings to inspect your pipes.
Mold remediation is also far too complicated and hazardous to deal with yourself.
Contrary to popular online statements, there are no anti-mold remedies you can pour down your drain opening to prevent mold growth.
The best offense is a good defense, ensuring all your installations are facilitated properly and undergo routine maintenance.
What is the Proper Drain Assembly?
There are plenty of components that make up your drain assembly, but here are the most significant parts:
- Overflow plate
- Overflow gasket
- Overflow tube
- Overflow pipe
- Drain flange
- Drain opening
- Drain stopper/Drain plug
Excess water flow hits all these components first before flowing into anywhere else outside of your tub.
How Do I Unclog My Bathtub Drain?
A leak may require extensive plumbing repair, but you can remedy some with a simple drain removal tool, an old wire hanger, baking soda, and white vinegar.
The clog might be nothing more than hair clumps and soap scum.
Enough particle pollution can cause a leaky bathtub or shower. The drain leak may spew backflow and have you bathing in filth.
Here are some tips you can follow to resolve leaks caused by minor clogging.
Bathtub drain leaking: Simple solutions
If you have a drain snake, simply insert it into the drain opening and move it around in a circular motion to pull out any clogs.
If you don’t have a drain snake at your disposal, you can make one with a wire hanger and hard plastic.
It might be easier to run to the hardware store and buy one, but your old coat hanger makes a viable alternative.
Here’s another solution you can do at home.
- Pour boiling water down the drain opening.
- Pour one cup of baking soda down the leaking tub drain.
- Follow it up with equal parts white vinegar.
- Let the baking soda, vinegar, and boiling water sit together for twenty minutes.
- Run hot water from the tub faucet.
The process should be enough to dislodge minor clogs and flush them down the drain. Dislodging any clogs blocking water flow in your drain assembly may stop your bathtub drain from leaking.
If You Need Reliable Plumbing Services in Melbourne, Florida
There’s no time to wait. Water splashing around unseen spaces within your walls and floors may already be causing water damage. Some damages are irreversible and require a major repair or total overhaul. If the leaks persist, it’s time to call the professionals.
Don’t hesitate to call experts to assist you. Luckily, you don’t have to settle!
Mac 5 Expert Services
Plumbing repair doesn’t have to be a dice roll or break the bank. Mac 5 Plumbing Services are some of Florida’s most reliable and affordable.
Please book an appointment online or call our hotline for urgent concerns.