Being a Chicago property manager means staying on top of the little things, and that means making sure your building doesn’t have any water leaks. Often, tenants themselves won’t even pay attention to a small leak, especially if it doesn’t affect their everyday lives. The problem is that even the smallest of leaks can eventually cause massive problems for property managers. Here are some of the signs that your tenant may have a leaky shower.

7 Signs Your Chicago Building Has a Leaky Shower

Since bathrooms are wet areas, it can be difficult to tell if there is a leak, especially if it’s inside a wall around the shower. This is because showers are often tiled or have a plastic barrier over the drywall, so unless the tiles start coming off or the barrier becomes loose, it can be difficult to visually detect leaks. Thankfully, a little vigilance can help you spot a leaky shower before they become a plumbing catastrophe.

1. Stains on the Ceiling or Walls

Water leaks will often first manifest themselves as a small stain on a wall or ceiling. If the stain is on the ceiling, it could be the result of a leaky shower in the unit above. Encourage your residents to let you know as soon as possible when they notice a ceiling or wall stain so that it can be investigated. A small water leak in a bathroom could lead to damage in multiple units. Of course, you want to address it quickly.

2. Mold or Mildew

Some minor mold or mildew may be common where water and heat are present in bathrooms, especially if your tenants leave the floors wet after a bath or shower. However, persistent, growing mold and the smell of mildew could be another sign of a leaky shower or pipe joint. Look for signs of mold or mildew when conducting any unit inspection.

3. Bubbling Paint or Wallpaper

The paint and wallpaper should lay flat against the wall. If it bubbles or peels, it can mean there’s a leak behind the wall. Always have your residents report any wallpaper and/or paint damage so that it can be investigated and repaired. The worst-case scenario involves there being a leak behind the wall that’s soaking the drywall. The best-case scenario is that the paint or wallpaper just needs to be replaced due to age. Either way, you’ll be taking proactive steps towards keeping your building properly maintained.

4. Warped and Damaged Floors

If a wall or section of flooring looks warped or if the tiles start to come loose, it’s usually due to water damage. This could be from water that wasn’t cleaned up after a shower or water that is leaking from a pipe inside the floor. It’s best to have your maintenance team or a professional plumber investigate the damage so that you don’t end up with expensive water repair bills.

5. Odd Smells

As water accumulates over time, it will develop a musty or earthy odor. If tenants have a recurring odor in their bathroom, even after it is cleaned, it could mean water is accumulating in unseen areas, like under or behind the shower. This could be from a variety of sources including a leaky shower. If you receive complaints about foul odors or odd smells, always investigate them further.

6. Extraordinarily High Water Bills or Water Usage

We all know that Chicago has undergone several water rate hikes over the last few years, but it’s still important to keep an eye on your water bill. If it’s extremely high or you notice a sudden increase in the amount of water your building is using, it’s best to investigate. Extremely high water bills and water usage can mean your building has one or more leaks in the system.

7. Low Water Pressure

Don’t ignore low water pressure. While it can be caused by multiple units running washers and dishwashers at the same time, it can also be due to a leak. If you receive multiple complaints of low water pressure, especially from the upper floors, you may want to consider getting your water pressure tested and test your system for leaks.

Who’s Responsible for Paying for Water Damage

Who is responsible for the damage from a leaky shower will depend on whether you are managing a condominium or apartment building, and where the leak occurred. When a resident owns their unit, it is generally their responsibility if the leak is inside their unit’s walls or is in piping that is exclusive to their unit. However, if the leak is in a public wall, it may be the responsibility of the HOA board or building owner. In apartments, all leaks are the responsibility of the property manager/owner, unless it was caused deliberately by the tenant or through gross neglect by the tenant.

Getting Help From NuFlow for Leaking Showers and Pipes

More and more Chicago property managers are discovering Nu Flow Midwest’s innovative epoxy pipe restoration process that seals leaks and gives old plumbing new life. The epoxy pipe lining process can be done without invasive demolition of walls and flooring and can result in significant savings compared to the cost of installing new plumbing pipes. Not to mention, pipe lining is environmentally friendly because it doesn’t use new pipes, and it doesn’t contribute to landfill waste. We also offer a 10-year warranty on all our pipe lining services.

To learn more about epoxy pipe lining and how it can stop current and future leaks in your Chicago building, give us a call at 815-790-9000.