Got Water? How to Tackle A Pesky Water Leak
Thanks for joining and get ready to hang on for the wild whitewater rafting ride as we talk about Leaks. Water leaks are extremely simple if you see the entire path.“Water leaks are extremely simple if you see the entire path.” Click To Tweet
The instructions I’m about to give you should work to solve ANY water leak problem – whether you are working a big warranty project in an automotive manufacturing company, or you’re at home and something on your property or car is leaking.
Video: Secrets to Solve Water Leaks - FAST!
Step One – Get to the Bottom of Your Water Leak
The first thing you’ll want to do is to remove all of the parts, covers, or carpets – basically, anything that could be obstructing part of the leak path. Make sure you have clear sight lines along the route the water will take.
Step Two – Make it Rain!
You’ll want to reproduce the water leak using a hose or by channeling the water with a funnel so you can control the entry point. Your goal is to observe the exact path that the leaking water takes. Does it run straight down? Or does it flow along a crooked little path to the side? Does it wobble to and fro? Can you tie it in a knot? Can you tie it in a bow?
Step 3 – Plan your Attack
Now it’s time to make a decision. Depending on your situation, you’ll need to decide whether you want to:
- Change the leak path, or
- Completely stop it.
Step 4 – Ataaaaaaaack!!
Once you’ve made your decision, you can easily stop the leak by plugging it with caulk or an automotive adhesive. Or, if you’ve decided to redirect the leaking water instead, you can pick up supplies at your local hardware store to make a seal. If you’re fixing a warranty problem in a manufacturing setting, I’d recommend some automotive sealer that acts like a weld. Some of my favorite products to work with are JB Weld and Goop.
Troubleshooting, that 4-syllable Word
Now let’s talk about some complications that can come up when you’re trying to find the leak path in a project. I assume you’re reading this blog and watching the accompanying video because you have found a water leak that is not simple and straightforward. The reason people have problems finding water leaks is because sometimes it’s very complicated to actually see it!
In a manufacturing plant I always ask for 5 leaky parts and 5 dry parts that have never leaked. The first thing I do is check all the leaky parts and make sure I can get them to leak (reproduce the event). Then I do the exact same procedure on the dry parts and try to figure out why the dry parts are staying dry instead of leaking like the rest of them. Do they have a different leak path? Or is there actually no water?
Once I can figure out what the difference is between the dry parts and the leaky ones, it makes it so easy to come up with a solution to completely stop the leaks.
What if it Works SOME of the Time??
Another reason you might be here today is because your water leak is intermittent. Intermittent water leaks can be confusing if you are not turning the wrench yourself and using fresh parts.
For example: I had a water leak that seemed impossible to solve and it was simply because of the torque on the wrench. Because I’m a problem solver, I know how much torque matters when you’re tightening a part yourself. That’s why I always tell my problem solvers, “You need to tighten your own bolts and screws. Don’t let somebody else do the work.” You learn so much about your project when you’re doing the hands-on work yourself.“You learn so much about your project when you’re doing the hands-on work yourself.” Click To Tweet
Of course a good problem solver will find a variable measurement like a torque wrench. In my particular project, the part was plastic, so it was a very small amount of torque I was measuring.
But it’s not My Fault!
Another possible complication is the assembly process. I had one project where the part would start leaking if the plug was inserted lengthwise. But, by turning the plug 90 degrees, the leak stopped.
Another complication is if you can’t reproduce the leak. Some warranty projects can come back with just rust spots, and I can’t reproduce the water. But by doing a scatterplot of where specifically the rust is found, you can find contrast between leaky parts and non-leaky parts.
One More Lightning Fast Pro Tip
Do you want an outside-the-box way to solve a water leak? Pressurize it and use a smoke machine to look for a path. This can also be very effective.
If you have a water leak that these tips don’t help, leave a comment below and we will come up with another test we can do to solve your water leak effectively and efficiently. Thanks for coming to me with your troubles – the Lightning Doctor is IN! Happy problem solving and stay dry!