Once you discover your shower is leaking, it's important to identify the source of the leak so that it can be fixed immediately. A leaking shower not only raises your water bill and wastes an invaluable resource, it puts other parts of your house at risk of damage. As a result, you may end up repair costs beyond what it takes for the leaking shower repairs. You can try to find the source of a leak as you call for an emergency plumber by following this procedure, especially when the source is not apparent.
1. Check the shower pipe systems
Before deciding that a shower leak comes from the shower pan, you should rule out all other possibilities, since the shower pan is the most expensive and extensive repair procedure. You can start by sealing off the showerhead by using any hose valve fitting you have and Teflon tape for proper sealing. Turn on the tap and inspect the shower riser pipe, gooseneck and arms for any leaking water. Where the pipes are inaccessible, a pressure gauge can identify a leak inside the wall. You will notice reduced water pressure in the shower compared with other taps, which indicates that there could be a slow leak in the wall. Sometimes such leaks can go unnoticed for years without dripping. Adjusting the showerhead aggressively or tugging can set off an in-wall leak without your knowledge.
2. Check the trap and drainpipe
After making sure shower stems, risers and goosenecks are fine, attach a hose to the hose valve fitting installed above. Ensure the spout points directly into the drain so that water flows into the drain without wetting any other surface. This test will help you find out whether the drainpipe and trap are fine. Old and corroded traps and badly installed joints (such as joints between old and new piping) are often sources of leakage. If the piping is concealed, pour water for some time and ensure it drains at the same speed throughout before eliminating this as a cause. Finally, place a drain plug and pour a little water around the drain. Watch closely to see whether the water disappears. If it does, this could mean that there's a deteriorated or loose joint seal where water leaks through out of the shower pan. Stand in the shower stall to place additional weight on the pan to confirm its integrity.
3. Check the caulk
Lastly, once all components are proved sound, test the shower walls and door using the extension hose installed earlier. Spray water on all portions of the shower from the inside and ask a second person to stand outside and watch for any leakage or external splashing. Small leaks between the partitions are often found this way and can prevent you from making expensive shower pan repairs.