Water Leak: Mystery Solved

Went up into the attic yesterday. Did I mention I HATE going into the attic? I discovered that the guys who insulated for us last year did a really nice job. Which I partially ruined. They even caulked the attic access door shut, which I had to cut open. I poked my head up through the hole and with the help of a flashlight, could see some dark stains on the roof, where I suspected the leak was at. Then I went on top of the roof and rigged up a hose to point at the suspected leak site, hoping I could see drips from the attic access so I could confirm the leak. Well, I couldn’t. Which meant I actually had to go in and inspect it.

Did I mention I HATE going into the attic? Really should have taken Peter up on his offer of a respirator mask – I used one of my thick paper ones left over from some project or other. Grabbed some big flat boards to lie on (so the blown insulation could take my weight). Also, got lots of help from Michael.

I made my way over to the toilet exhaust pipe where very dark water marks were — to find it completely dry with absolutely no evidence whatsoever of wet insulation. The dark marks must have been from an old leak. I asked Michael to turn on the hose and we left it running for a bit. Everything stayed completely dry. I was very pleased for a few moments. Until I realized where I was (did I mention I HATE going up to the attic?) and that the water leak was now a mystery and therefore the stuff of nightmares.

As I exited, I could see the huge depressed area in the insulation where I had worked my way over to the corner. (Imagine a few feet of fresh snow which has had a sled go through it – I tried fluffing it back up but it looked about as good as it would if I tried it with snow.) I had a hard time rigging the access panel closed – they had done such a nice job, dang it all. Once I got back out, Michael spent a lot of time vacuuming the insulation off me. Looking around, it seemed like a ton of the stuff had fallen into my office. Now you know why I HATE going into the attic.

I headed outside to poke my head into the overhang to look for any sign of dampness. Michael had said that when he went outside, he saw some water dripping from it. It was damp but not dripping. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I told Michael to turn the hose on for me – maybe the water was getting down there in some other way – perhaps behind the siding. He did so, and then went back into the house. I had my head right up there looking for drops, when I heard Michael flush the upstairs toilet — and a waterfall of water splashed onto my face!! He came right out, saw my face and started laughing. He said he figured that perhaps it was the toilet.

Mystery solved. Thank goodness for Michael! Should have figured it out, really, but I convinced myself that it was worse right after a rain. Time to call a plumber.

(For anyone interested in attics: I was completely amazed when I first poked my head into the attic. On a sunny day, about 1:30 in the afternoon – about 25-28 celcius out – and it was very cool in the attic!! Perhaps 3 to 5 degrees cooler up there. We had no air conditioning on, so it’s not as though it was somehow getting up there. Goes to show how well the attic was insulated. By the time I got up there, completely covered in clothing from head to foot for protection, it was boiling! It was never that way before we had the extra insulation. The guys also sealed absolutely all the holes, like the light fixtures. We used GreenSaver to assess our home, and then hired them to improve the insulation. Got money back from the government, too!)

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