Don’t Let a Drip Become a Puddle: Detect Leaks in Your Building
Roof leaks in a commercial building can be difficult to detect and repair. The larger the building, the more space that must be covered when looking for areas where water is getting into your inside spaces. Leaks can lead to serious problems, so it’s best to detect leaks in your building and fix these troublesome areas as soon as they appear.
Problems Associated with Leaks in Your Building
At first, a small leak may seem like little more than an annoyance. However, even small leaks can, over time, cause significant problems. Worse, an unrepaired leak tends to become bigger and more serious if it’s not fixed immediately. Leaks in your building can cause trouble such as:
- Damage to stock, raw materials, electronics, and equipment.
- Excess moisture that can cause mold growth and create a favorable environment for insects.
- Damage to roofing materials and the building’s structure, especially in attics or upper areas of the building.
- Damage to insulation in the roof, attic, and walls.
- Water accumulations that can create slip hazards or increase the chance of electrocution.
- Hidden damage that may not be detectable until extensive and costly repairs are needed.
How to Detect Leaks in Your Building
There are many effective techniques you can use to detect leaks in your building, ranging from simple observation by your or your employees to complex testing and inspection by professionals.
- Watch for wet spots, small drips, or small puddles: The obvious presence of dripping water or small puddles of water on the floor are the best indicators of a roof leak. Wet spots in carpets, on ceiling tiles, or on items under the drip will also show the presence of a leak. When possible, check for these types of leaks when it’s raining or when the leaks are still active.
- Check for stains: If you can’t look for links during a rainstorm or when the leaks are actually occurring, check for stains on the floor, walls, ceiling tiles, carpets, or other items. These are reliable indicators of a leak and can give you an idea where the leak is happening and where to start checking for holes in the roof.
- Search out the source of the leak: When the water is still dripping, look for the source of the leak where water is entering your building. This may require removal of ceiling tiles, entry into the attic, removal of roofing material, checking of roof penetrations, or a close examination aided by a ladder or lift system. It is very important to track the source of a leak while water is still flowing. Sometimes, the actual entry point of the water may not be the point where water is entering your building.
- Inspect water paths along the roof slope or metal ribs of roof decks: Keep in mind that water will run downhill, so take into the consideration the slope of the roof and the presence of roof decks that could provide a channel for water flow.
- Check indoor pressure: Negative pressure inside your building can pull water into the space. Be particularly mindful of the effects of negative pressure around rooftop HVAC units and perimeter walls.
- Conduct water testing: Test for leaks by having one person spray water onto the roof while another watches inside for water to appear. Remember that it may take some time for the water to travel its usual path and become visible inside the building.
- Conduct a moisture survey: This professional procedure uses sophisticated testing and inspection equipment to locate wet roof insulation or other areas of moisture. The testing is usually done with infrared cameras and sensors, capacitance testers, or other technology.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on how to detect leaks in your building, and to view projects we’ve worked on, contact Sobieski Commercial!