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Question DetailsAsked on 7/9/2013

looking for a building contractor who specializes in heating & ac leak detection? Unit is in a housing, floor to ceiling in a 17 story building

the leak is destroying my parquet floor tiles around the enclosed housing of the heating (in winter) and cooling system (in summer). hot water in winter and refrigerant in the summer flows through the same pipes through all 17 floors. the liquids flow through radiators and air is moved by fans which pushes either heated or cooled air into the condo rooms. as the air moves through the cold radiator, any condensation ends up in catch pans below which then is supposed to flow into drain pipes. if there are any holes in the drip pan, or the drain hole is plugged up, the water could possibly end up on the building slab and find its way to the parquet tile floor.
another possibility is that the water comes from the outside of the brick building and finding it's way to the parquet floor. I need to find where the water is coming from before repairing the parquet floor. I need to find a experienced & qualified person. please help if you can! thank you!

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Voted Best Answer

Unless you are the building owner or manager, I would question why you are fixing this - this sort of problem (relating to a central heating system) is commonly the responsibility of the building management, and rightly so because they don't want individual tenant's and/or contractors screwing up the system condo by condo, so be sure of who is responsible before getting it done yourself.

Since this is an active leak, unless it has been going for a long time, your condo owners insurance may cove it, and your insurance company can help with finding a contractor to repair it and contractor(s) to repair the damage.

As to finding the leak source, I would suspect if you use a strong flashlight and mirror in the heating/cooling unit enclosure you will be able to track the wetness or staining or dried mineral deposits left by the leak to its source. Also, use tissue (Kleenex or equiv - shows small amounts of water better than paper towel, and better than bare hand on cold surfaces) to wipe surfaces on the wall, all over radiator, baseboard, etc for leak moisture. Work from room outwards, so you can track it to its source once you find it. You did not say what the refrigerant is - if an antifreeze liquid rather than chilled water, look for stains that are colored (other than white), sticky, or with sugary crystals - that would identify the source as the cooling system, anyway. If coming through brick from outside, could have a powdery or streaky white or rusty color from the mortar and rebar in the wall, but should be leaving a healthy whitish or rusty stain on the wall and across the floor, too if there is enough coming in to damage the parquet floor.

If that does not do it, then honestly I don't know what more a plumber or HVAC specialist will be able to find without tearing the radiator out to pressure test it, though if you find one that has a color fiber optic camera they will be able to see behind things better than you.

The other alternative is to find an energy conservation firm that has a small color infrared video, which will show where water currently lies under surface coatings, and will show any significant wet areas in the wall, both from inside and outside.

if you are not able to find it yourself, I guess I would go with the plumber, just because since it is close to the heating encosure that is the most likely source, and once you have him there to try to locate the loak, you will not pay another service call charge to get it fixed. Do try to get one with a fiber optic camera - I would guess off the cuff that maybe 1 in 3 or 1 in 4 does - only about a $100 item to buy. Make sure theirs is color - shows leaks SO much better than black and white, which basically only shows them well if actually still wet.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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