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What To Do If Water Starts Leaking Through Your Ceiling

A leak in the ceiling is never something pleasant to deal with, but it’s important to know what to do to prevent water damage from spreading. As soon as you spot dripping water, dark rings, or sagging, bubbling drywall, you need to act fast.


Step 1: Contain the water.

First things first: if water is actively dripping down, get something to contain it. You can use just about any waterproof bin. Next, retrieve some old towels or a mop to soak up and dry the puddles on your floor as quickly as possible. Pro tip: If water splashes out of the bin each time it drips down, line the bin with a t-shirt or towel.

Step 2: Protect your furniture.

If needed, move your furniture out of the way of the leak. You can also cover unmovable items with a tarp, vinyl shower curtains, or any other waterproof surface. Don’t forget to wipe away any water that has collected underneath your furniture, including the legs.

Step 3: Help the leak drain.

Now that you’ve completed some initial damage control, grab a sturdy step stool or ladder so that you can get to your ceiling. Locate the area where your ceiling is darkening, bulging, or bubbling. With a small bucket ready to catch falling water, poke a hole into that spot with a narrow, sharp item (like a screwdriver or a pen). This will give the water place to drain and will make it less like to spread and weigh down your ceiling.

Step 4: Try to determine the leak’s source.

You’ll need to try to determine whether you have a plumbing leak or a roof leak, and there’s a relatively simple way to tell. If it’s raining outside, or if you have snow on your roof, you most likely have a roof leak. You can check for additional signs like holes, mold, or brown spots in your attic. If there’s no rain or snow outside, you most likely have a plumbing leak.


Plumbing leaks can happen for numerous reasons. Leaks in your walls or ceiling will typically occur due to:

  • Age. As pipes wear out, corrode, or become brittle, they become more susceptible to leaks.
  • Clogs. If a clog is severe enough, the pressure that builds up can create a leak in your plumbing. Clogs can also create standing water inside your pipes that wears them down, especially if that water contains corrosive chemicals.
  • High water pressure and water hammer. Excessively forceful water can damage pipe joints and connections, increasing the risk of a leak.
  • Burst pipes during winter. The pressure change that happens when water molecules freeze pushes water toward the nearest tap. This creates a huge buildup of pressure between the tap and the ice blocking the pipe. That pressure can make the pipe burst.

You can count on JSP Home Services for emergency plumbing services in Kingston. Call (845) 209-1700 , and we’ll send an emergency plumber to your location right away!


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