Water leak detector? Water behind wall!

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Billbill84

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Hi all. Been worrying about this issue for over a year now and still haven't got down to the bottom of it.
My visual reference is extremely limited because I have a fully finished basement with drywall everywhere. Except for a small area I left exposed because I ran a new sump pump discharge. In this sump room the issue exposes itself. Only during extreme heavy rain I get water somewhere behind the wall that exposes itself around the corner becoming visible in the non-drywalled area that I removed for discharge install. There's only two items that are suspect here.
1) master bedroom window. Directly above that area in question. Old casement pella crap windows with moisture issues on bottom of sashes (but yet could be another issue lol). I've experienced leaking windows running down inside of wall before in this house so this window is suspicious.
2) sewer main discharge foundation wall exit. Had some standing water few feet from the area near this area only during horrible rains when I see the issue. It's not a lot of water just some seepage that usually dries up before the rain is done calming down.
Main question. Is there some type of infrared device that I can employ here to see exactly where is coming in at?? I'd hate to start ripping out drywall aimlessly. Thx
 

oldognewtrick

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Yes, a FLIR camera can detect differences in temperatures. An area of moisture will radiate a different temperature signature than a dry spot. You might check with your local tool rental place and see if they have one you can rent.
 

Billbill84

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Yes, a FLIR camera can detect differences in temperatures. An area of moisture will radiate a different temperature signature than a dry spot. You might check with your local tool rental place and see if they have one you can rent.
Ok I'll check, but the odds of me having this camera to catch the issue in action is very slim. What about any staining on the concrete? Will a camera see that?
 

oldognewtrick

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No, staining won't show. Moisture will be there for a day or so after an event. If you find a camera to use, you can recreate the event with a hose pipe. Start low and slowly work your way up in areas you suspect are an issue.
 

Billbill84

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No, staining won't show. Moisture will be there for a day or so after an event. If you find a camera to use, you can recreate the event with a hose pipe. Start low and slowly work your way up in areas you suspect are an issue.
Ok copy that! I think I'll invest in one of them FILP cameras, looked them up, very pricey! But I suspect the reason for the price tag is because it's the secret weapon of many professional contractors makes sense to me. I've seen the insulation guy use one, the HVAC guy too. Never thought about applying that to this seepage issue, so thanks for that!
 

Billbill84

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I just realized something. My basement concrete walls have a plastic vapor barrier, insulation, then drywall. Will the FLIR be able to see through that plastic vapor barrier too though?
 

Steve123

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So you have a poured concrete foundation ?

It can crack. But most commonly, when it does crack, it will crack vertically, all the way from top to bottom.

Your foundation wall is supposed to rise minimum 8" above finished grade. So you should have about 8" of exposed foundation wall that you can inspect on the outside. Look carefully for vertical cracks --- it can be a bit tricky to spot it for a rookie set of eyes. Keep in mind also that water will collect at the lowest point on your floor, so where you see water may not be very close to where it is getting in.

Crack can be fixed. Cheaper if you have just grass on the other side of that wall rather than a driveway.
 

Jeff Handy

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Steve123 is right on.
But digging outside to fix the crack is much tougher than just removing the drywall to expose the crack for repairs.
 

Steve123

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It can be repaired from the inside too, but I'm pretty sure that repair from the outside is considered superior.
 

Jeff Handy

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Epoxy injection or polyurethane injection into the crack, from inside, is extremely common and has a long history of success.
The crack filler injection liquid is pumped well into the crack, at least several inches deep, not just a surface patch.
 

Billbill84

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Thanks for the suggestions guys much appreciated. No driveway outside on problem area just backyard landscaping. I don't see any foundation cracks either along the entire exposed area wall. Luckily my foundation's sill is slightly over 12" above grade until I slope it up some more but that's another story.

After all, I don't think the thermal cam will do much good here so I know exactly where to attack the problem, for all I know it could be leaking inside the wall from the upstairs window that's directly above (crappy old wood pella casement windows did that before in this house).
Next time this issue happens I'll grab the trim off the upstairs window get a good look at least to eliminate that, then I'll start pulling drywall downstairs to setup for that interior epoxy sealer.
 

Steve123

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A garden hose can be a useful tool in tracking down a water leak, if you want to test window flashing. Note that if water is getting in, it still might be 10 minutes before you can see it on the other side. But a garden hose is going to have a hard time saturating the ground around your foundation.

A 1" or 2" rain event can provide an even clearer indication of where water is getting in. But you can only run that check on mother nature's schedule.
 

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