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The Cost of Ignoring Leaks: A Facility Manager's Nightmare

Water leaks can be a huge headache for facility managers. The cost of water damage can be high, and it can be incredibly frustrating trying to find the source of a leak. However, it's important to investigate and mitigate any leaks as soon as possible. Here are some best practices for leak investigation that can help you identify the source of the problem and prevent any further damage.

Facility managers know all too well the financial and emotional toll a leak can take. So, it’s crucial to take the time to understand how to conduct a water test to find the source of the problem. Investigating leaks can be challenging, as water can take many forms and move in unpredictable ways. It can come from a variety of sources, such as plumbing leaks, groundwater, rainwater, condensation, or water vapor. 

When dealing with a leak, the first step is to determine whether it's related to plumbing or weather. Is it a constant leak, or does it only occur after a weather event? Is it both? It's important to know what you're dealing with before you start investigating. If it is a plumbing leak, it could be a supply line, waste line, storm drain, steam or hot water heating, or condensate line. If it is coming from ductwork, is it condensation or is it stormwater coming into the ductwork? 

It can be challenging to identify the source of a leak, as water can come from so many places. Testing the water can help. Chlorine in the water generally indicates a municipal water main break, while E. coli will indicate a sewer main break. The absence of either can indicate groundwater or an underground stream. Some bacteria but no E.coli would generally indicate surface stormwater. 

When investigating a leak, it's essential to have an understanding of general construction. If water is appearing on the ceiling, what is the construction of the ceiling? Is it plaster adhered directly to a concrete slab? Concrete encased steel beam, terracotta flat arch or is it a suspended gypsum board or suspended ceiling tile system? Facility managers need to understand what these materials are, their density, how thick they are, and how they are assembled. 

It's also important to investigate the ceiling cavity and look at the floor or roof above. Sometimes, performing destructive probes can help identify the source of the leak. Each layer of material must be examined carefully to identify the source.

The most important concept to remember when looking for a leak is to use the process of elimination and isolate the area being wetted. One must give the water sufficient time to migrate or work its way through the material or construction assembly. Rushing the process can lead to falsely identifying the leak location. It's crucial to have patience and allow the process to run its course.

Leak investigations can take a long time to resolve, and sometimes, there can be several sources of the leak. Investigating leaks can take several years before all the sources are discovered and repaired. It's important to be persistent and reconfirm your findings to be certain that you have identified the source of the leak.

Leak investigations can be a rollercoaster of emotions. Some leaks can be resolved in 20 minutes, while others can take years. Regardless of how long it takes, it's essential to be thorough and persistent to ensure that you have identified the source of the leak and prevented any further damage.

If you suspect that you have a water leak related to your roof, it's important to take action as soon as possible. Water intrusion can cause extensive damage to your home or property, so it's crucial to address any leaks quickly. Contact Centerline Roofing to assess the situation and provide the necessary repairs. Don't hesitate to take action - the longer you wait, the more damage the leak can cause. Protect your home and your property by addressing water leaks promptly.

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