Locating leaks between floors

I have a leak somewhere between the two floors of my house (water drips out of a ceiling fixture hole). Due to a layer of board above my ceiling (35 year old house) I cannot see any of the piping. Who should I talk to that may have expertise locating this leak? I have tried plumbers and general contractors, both of whom kind of scratched their heads and said something useful like "boy you have a problem don't you?" My goal, of course, is not to have to destroy large portions of the house to find the leak.
Is there any other type of person I should be talking to, or am I just not having luck finding the right people? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
Rick L.
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Richard and Tracy Lambour wrote:

If you can't get contractors to take it seriously, you may be better off looking for local "handyman". Check with a hardware store in town (if any) and ask for references.
Jim
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Richard and Tracy Lambour wrote:

you could then make an educated guess on the most efficient way the plumbing would have been routed.
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Richard and Tracy Lambour wrote:

There is a specialist in finding such leaks using ultra high sensitive microphones. Ask around or look up the yellow page. Good luck, Tony
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Good point. But I think those pertain to water under pressure; i.e., fresh water.

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Whoever finds the leak will almost certain have to make some "inspection" holes in the ceiling. A high speed cutting tool like the "rotazip" might reduce the damage. Depending upon what needs to be down, a good sized portion of the ceiling may have to come down.
Good luck.
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Tony has the idea if you have the $, and you need a pro not an everyday Hacko
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m Ransley wrote:

I know they can pin point the leaking spot. Actually they guarantee their work if they're real pro. What holes? What cutting? Tony
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You might try turning off supply to each fixture and monitoring leak. If you don't have time for that, cutting holes in the boards is the only answer. A Forensic Engineer or Architect might have equipment needed to look through a relatively small hole.
Tom Baker
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Yeah, now you're talking. An engineer or plumber with good troubleshooting skills can handle that. Classic troubleshooting involves "divide and conquer" Have you ruled out rainwater as your source? Does the wetness stop if you shut off the water pressure? How about if you just shut off the HOT water, at the hot water tank? (Don't forget to alleviate pressure by opening faucets to relieve any valve leakage.) Could the wetness be arising from waste water? Where are you located?

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I'm guessing he is from the Boston area by his header....Ross
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wrote

Ping Plot of IP address from header....Ross
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I've had a similar problem, with 2 plumbers and 1 roofer just passing the buck between themselves. I ended up opening the wall myself to locate the leak. It was a bit messy, but I eventually found it, it was a cracked cast iron pipe that normally carries the flat roof rain water to the sewer. Not a large crack, but a surpising amount of water ended in the basement, specially in the springtime.
I don't think it would have been possible to find this without opening the walls, and I can understand why a plumber won't want to start randomly putting holes in a wall just to diagnose the problem. If you don't want to do this yourself, just find an experienced handyman and pay him by the hour to make holes and find the problem. After the plumber fixes the actual problem, the handyman can fix the walls/ceilings.
Good luck and let us know how this was resolved.

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Considering this was a drain, with no pressure, couldn't it have been discovered: 1) by noticing the leak coincided with rainfall 2) by putting a plumber's camera in the drain pipe? That's quite the story, though!

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