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Can a shower valve dry out and leak temporarily?

Posted by JeffKuhn (My Page) on
Sun, May 26, 13 at 13:22

The water in my home was shut off for five months while I was overseas. The heat was left on, set to about 60° F. About 18 hours after turning the water back on, I noticed water stains forming on the ceiling beneath two adjacent second floor bathrooms (I estimate at least 2 pints had leaked out). There was no visible water anywhere in the bathrooms themselves. I shut the water off to those bathrooms, and when I got time about a week later turned it back and tried to track down the leak.

I drilled some holes in the ceiling to try to find the source with an inspection camera, but could find nothing. Tried running plenty of water through all the drains and toilets - still bone dry. The water to the bathrooms has been back on for over 48 hours and not a drop.

The stains cover a large area along a drywall seam, and don't help me track down the source. The only explanation I can think of it that a shower valve leaked behind a wall for a while, then stopped.

Is this plausible? I've attached a picture of the suspect valve (Delta - model unknown). If this is a likely culprit, can it be repaired (or am I better off replacing to ensure it doesn't happen again?)

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Can a shower valve dry out and leak temporarily?

Did you operate any shut-of valves in the wall? One of them might have been leaking out the stem.

RE: Can a shower valve dry out and leak temporarily?

The leak had stopped by the time I removed the cover, so I haven't touched the shut offs. Might these leak for a while, and then stop? Would tightening the nuts solve such a leak, or would I need to replace the rubber parts?

I guess it's good that it's no longer leaking, but i'm hesitant to fix the ceiling until I'm confident that the leak won't come back. Is there anything else besides rubber seals in a valve that might leak for a while then stop? It seems if it were in a pipe or drain, that the leak would have continued (but I'm really just guessing here).

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