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Question DetailsAsked on 5/6/2015

Water coming from vent in ceiling after storm?

We just experienced record amounts of rain and significant hail and flooding. I'm noticing water slowly dripping from a vent in the ceiling of our second floor bathroom. Could this be related to the AC and what should I do about it until I can have our roof inspected?

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1 Answer


If coming from air conditioner vent - wall or ceiling grillage like this -

then I would be looking the the attic for a possible roof leak somehow getting into the A/C system or hitting the duct and just happening to run out there, and look in attic for other water too.

However, I would bet this is dripping from the cover of the bathroom fan which typically looks like this, may or may not have light in it too, typically linty -

probably roughly centered in the bathroom ceiling. If you had very hard driving rain, what probably happened is the wind blew the rain into the draft hood on the roof, so it then ran down into the duct and came out at the bathroom fan. If fan is allowed to dry out for a day or more before use (keep bathroom door open to improve circulation), will probably work fine and then letting it run for an hour or two will dry out the water in the duct and fan area.

As for the hood on the roof - typically looks like this -

Up inside the lower open face should be bug screening (may not be there), then inside a flapper which the air coming out from the fan tilts open, then it lays back down closed to keep vermin and cold air out. This might be stuck open, or might be the wind just blew it open so rain blew in as it splashed hard on the roof. Sometimes in very hard downpours the water will get in the hood on top of the flapper and still make its way down into the duct to the fan.

You might be able to see if the flapper is working - figure out which hood is over the bathroom with the drip, then go outside on roof using a strong flashlght so you can see into the shade there - or binoculars or zoom cell phone camera from the ground if afraid of ladders and roof or you have tile roof you should not be walking on. See what the open downhill side of the hood looks like - then compare with what it looks like with fan on. Easiest to do with someone else turning it one and off while you watch as it is not real noticeable - if the flapper is working you will see it open up an inch or few in the opening - it typically sits near horizontal so you are looking at the edge of the flapper when it opens.

If stuck just oiling the pivot points with WD40 spray usually works fine - just don't bend it.

It is quite likely, if you have never had drips from the fan (assuming that is what it is) before, this was a once in a long time event due to the unusually heavy wind and rain and may not indicate anything wrong with the hood at all - if the flapper is working OK when you turn the fan on and off and is closing when the fan is off, you might well write it off as a fluke storm event and just check the attic to be sure there are no signs of long-term leakage.

If you are not up to getting on the roof or there is no flapper, cost likely $100-150 minimum service call by a Roofer - up to more like $200-300 range if the entire hood needs to be replaced because he does not have a matching unit to change out the flapper with, which is likely if not a pretty and commonly used newer unit - I don't think you can get them as parts easily, even if you could figure out the brand, which is likely not visible when installed.

One other similar question with response here -

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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