Leak in Radiant Heat Pipes / Cleaning A Relined Bathtub / Flushing Problem / Can You Repair A Rip in Vinyl Flooring?

In Q&A on June 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm

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We have a leak in our radiant heating pipes in the concrete flooring. Is there a way to detect a water leak? How do we find it?

A previous time we contacted a plumber who jack hammered nine different holes in our floor to find the leak. Is there a detector available?


The solution to your problem comes from the space program.

Thermographic imaging devices detect cold and/or hot areas in walls, ceilings, floors, etc. Companies that do thermography can be found by Googling “infra-red thermography”. They can easily pinpoint where your leak is occurring. That’s because the temperature of the water leak will be different from the surrounding soil.

By now, you’ve realized the code has changed and they no longer bury any plumbing or heating pipes in a slab unless they are wrapped and protected from the concrete.

Concrete is acidic and slowly disintegrates pipes. Additionally, the pipes expand and contract, that movement against concrete wears them out.


I had my bathtub relined by a company in Ann Arbor and they said to use dishwashing soap to clean the tub. That doesn’t work very well and wonder if you had a better idea. Would it be safe to use Soft Scrub for instance?


Dishwashing detergent won’t work either. Whatever you use must be non-abrasive and good for acrylics. Some suggestions that do work well are Formula 409®, Scrubbing Bubbles® shower cleaner, Clorox Bleach Cleaner® and Gel-Gloss®.

I contacted Re-Bath Bathtub Liners of Michigan on Maple in Troy and they told me they sell a tub re-liner cleaner for $6.00. They said if whatever you use doesn’t work, or you need advice call them at 248-577-0047 and they’ll be glad to help you out.


I am having a flushing problem with my toilet. When the toilet is flushed, water comes out of the laundry tub in the basement. Can you tell me what could be the problem? Can I fix this myself or do I need to call a plumber?


You have an obstruction in the line beyond the basement laundry tub.

If you are up to it, rent a snake or auger at one of those tool rental stores and snake out the line. Otherwise, call a plumbing-sewer cleaning company.

If you want to do it yourself, you should remove the toilet. Start by turning off the water at the valve behind the toilet. Drain as much of the water from the box and stool as you can. Now, remove the bolts holding the toilet to the floor and carefully lift up the entire unit and set it aside. Run the snake down from that point. Buy a toilet wax seal to replace the existing seal when you re-set the toilet.

If you call a plumber, expect to pay between $95.00 and $185.00 to snake out the line. If they have to pull up the toilet to clear out the obstruction, plumbers will probably charge a minimum of $200.00. Either way, you should have a royal flush when you’re done.


I want to have a new vinyl floor installed but have this place in the floor covering that has separated. What caused this and how does one fix it so new linoleum can be installed?


The photo you enclosed with your letter show the separation is not just an easy to repair seam. The vinyl has ripped due to a poorly installed sub-floor. You don’t have to remove the old vinyl but it is recommended.

Whatever caused the existing sub-floor to become loose or separated should be corrected. Screwing or filling gaps can accomplish that. Better yet, by removal and replacement of the sub-floor.

New sub-floor material is usually Masonite or Luan. When it is installed the seams of the new sub-floor should not be installed directly over a pre-existing seam. That’s providing you even leave the old sub-floor.


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