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Question DetailsAsked on 3/13/2018

Water flooded the floor in front of kitchen sink, but is not in the cabinets. The dishwasher is next to the sink.

we pulled the dishwasher out, and ran it. there are tiny leaks coming from a couple of places but nothing to account for the amount of water that was on the floor. The dishwasher hadn't been run for a couple of days before the leak. Where could this water be coming from? There was no water on any of the hoses, the cabinets, or the wall behind the dishwasher. We think it has to be the dishwasher, but can't recreate the problem. we don't want to replace it, fix the floor, and find out it was something else causing the problem.

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Obviously, get the flooring thoroughly dried out ASAP with large fans (and running A/C if you have one and not too cold for that) - and depending on flooring type and whether water went in underneath or not, may well have to be replaced to prevent mold formation under it or peeling up of the flooring if glued down. Generally, insurance companies consider any but concrete, stone, or tile (or similar totally inorganic flooring) as ones you should take up after flooding. Generally, only snap-joint 100% plastic plank flooring like Pergo and Mannington and some others make is potentially reusable - though even then, because a few pieces at least get damaged in removal and are generally not available any longer for pattern/color matching purposes, generally that room's flooring is a write-off. So consider your deductible and flooring type, and whether you need an insurance claim filed and an inspection by the insurance company before doing any removal or repair, to document the damage. And obviously, finding the problem is a must before repairing cabinet bases or putting down new flooring. Of course, depending on source, insurance may or may not cover it - generally yes if from one-time leaking pipe or appliance, generally no if from long-term leak or outside surface water. Roof leaks depends - commonly yes, but not always, especially if roof is considered to be serioously deteriorated/undermaintained or past its life.


You say it flooded in front of the kitchen sink, not in front of the dishwasher, so presumably water was under the sink and dishwasher cabinets both, making the source unclear for that reason. Obviously, not using the dishwasher for a few days or so (and turning the water supply to it off and making sure it has done the pump-out cycle so it is empty) would eliminate that source if the flooding happens again during that time. Pushing a towel in under to catch any small drips can also help eliminate that source - be aware there are exposed electrical wires and connections under there, so unplug first.


You can dry out the flooring under the dishwasher, reinstall it with a towel under it (not contacting the underside) and do trial runs with the dishwasher to see if it leaks - or possibly even test it out on the kitchen floor. You said tiny leaks are coming from a couple of places on it - if dripping down off the dishwasher (as opposed to just wet feet in the puddle) then it IS leaking - could be from rust-through, bad connection, split hose, cracked/leaking pump or main seals, all of which can leak substantially more during run-time than just sitting there. If you (with power unplugged) thoroughly dry it underneath, then run it, sounds like you will then find one or more wet spots up underneath (maybe all from one fine spray) - commonly split supply hose at connection or connection loose, pump housing cracked or leaking seal, leaking supply solenoid valve (which the supply hose connects into), or leaking main shaft seal. Or of course leaking tub or door seal, though if you are certain the leak occurred without it being run, then for a significant leak pump, shaft, tub, door leaks would be out of consideration.


Also, pressure changes in the hot water feed hose due to turning the sink faucet and especially from the hand sprayer going on and off (which puts quite a surge of pressure in the hose) can make a small leak or closed-up leak in that hose spurt water. Ditto if yours is a fancy unit and also has a cold water feed hose.


If it possibly froze under there, then that could have split the supply (or drain) hose or caused water to leak out at a fitting while pressuring up from the freezing of the water in the line - can reach over 1000 psi potentially, so you can get a seal or gasket or connection leaking under that pressure, but it stops once back to normal (thawed) pressures.


Dishwasher drain hose would normally only hold a couple to max few cups of water at most, so if a large leak that could not be the source without running the unit - though a leaking connection where it ties into the garbage disposal or drain lines could be if backing up there - but that would usually flow into the under-sink cabinet area.


I would first dry everything well, including (if your cabinets are made this way) pulling up the "floor" of the cabinet under the sink - usually just a piece of plywood or sometimes linoleum over plywood, but usually not well nailed down if at all. Check underneath for any sign of current wetness (once dried out from the flooding), maybe spreading from a water or drain line leading down into the wall from the sink - leaking from corrosion, leaking connection, or having frozen up.


You said no water in the cabinets - I presume that meant none in the cabinet under the sink. If water WAS on the "floor" of the cabinet in there, or running down the outside of any of the pipes (wipe everything including all pipes totally dry, then run water, fill sink sides and drain, use garbage disposal and such to check for any wetness (from lowest to highest on each pipe) forming on the pipes or garbage disposal) then a leaking pipe, water leaking from faucet or sprayer due to freezing, or worn-through housing or shot seal in the garbage disposal would be supect.


Ditto to piping from any under-sink water purification or insatant hot water system.


Also check the air gapper for the dishwasher (though you said it had not been run, but if the drain line/trap is partly plugged sometimes the garbage disposal can back-pressure through the dishwasher drain line) - ditto if you have an air gapper or water line surge suppression device on the water line under there which might be leaking.


Also check any reefer water supply tubing for leakage - sometimes they leak only when the reefer is using water for the ice-maker or water dispenser, especially when the pressure surges due to the flow rapidly shutting off.


Remotely possible (might have to drill a few small holes in the backwall drywall to fingertip or moisture probe check this) you had a leak from an overlying window or roof ice damming or such that come down through the wall and leaked out under the sink area.


If this is a slab-on-grade house or the top of the foundation does not come well above surrounding ground level, also check for any sources of water intrusion from the outside - damaged siding or window flashing, or water backing up against the slab and overflowing it. Even if not backed up now, and especially if you had major rains or melting snow, that might have been the cause - might have left a visible high-water mark on the foundation or wall if so.


Sometimes in situations where the leak source cannot be found like this it is best to get the water dried out (Water and Smoke Damage is the normal Search the List category for that type of contractor) and any damaged material which has to be replaced torn out, but not do the rehab till the source is found.


Otherwise, tearing into cabinet floors and lower walls till you find the highest wet point, which is usually (though not always due to wicking) near the source point. Bear in mind, you do not do much tearing into things or replacing things before you blow through the normal household insurance deductible, so this is usually (unless your floors are inorganic) an insurance claim time. Don't forget to check (fiber optic scope good for this) in any underlying ceilings for water which would need at least drying out.



Answered 8 months ago by LCD

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Answered 8 months ago by LCD




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