Q: When showering, water leaks to our basement. We have part of the ceiling open because of an attempt to find it several years ago. No plumbers have been here. We use a bucket to catch the water. Also if you take a bath and the water goes in to the overflow drain then it leaks in another area of the basement. It is not possible for a home project but maybe you could enlighten me on what to look for when finding a plumber so this does not become a quite expensive repair if necessary.
A: These leaks are probably unrelated and possibly not as serious (or expensive) as you fear. It sounds like the connections under your drains could be loose, so when water leaks, gravity pulls in down along the pipes into the basement.
Letting the water leak and possibly damage building materials and furnishings could potentially be far more expensive than getting them repaired promptly. If other damage has occurred, you may need more than a plumber to make other repairs in your home.
In the case of the shower, it could be as simple as a loose connection or as serious as needing a new shower pan and trap. The tub overflow may just need to be cleaned out or completely removed, taken apart and replaced. No matter how simple or complicated it is, you will need a plumber to come figure it out and make the repairs.
I recommend you call two or three different plumbers and discuss your projects on the phone. Nowadays most plumbers don’t offer free estimates for service calls such as this and will have a minimum service charges for coming if you don’t hire them to do the work. But, if you do some “comparison shopping” over the phone to determine their minimum fees, hourly rates, schedules, warranties, you should be able to avoid extra service or trip charges by choosing one plumber to come do everything for you in one trip.
This information is brought to you by Herb Alexander of H.T. Alexander Plumbing in Orangevale, CA.