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Thursday, 19 August 2021

Basics of Slab Leak Detection

Every now and then, slab leaks are bound to happen, even to the most diligent of homeowners. Water leaking in or under your property can become very frustrating. If not attended to immediately, it can lead to long-lasting water damage. Significant water damage is costly to repair. To avoid this, you must be familiar with how and when slab leaks occur. Here is how slab leak detection is done and what you should do if you ever encounter a leak.


Slab Leak Defined

A slab leak develops in copper water pipes in or under the concrete foundation of your home. In most cases, the water lines of your home are located beneath the slab, the concrete floor of your basement. In some houses, water lines can be embedded in the slab itself.  In contrast, leaks found above ground, like in walls or ceilings, are known as pinhole leaks. 


Slab leaks can be found in the pressure and drainage sides of your foundation. Slab leaks in the pressure side of your drain are usually easier to spot and fix. On the other hand, drainage side slab leaks can leak for ages without showing any signs. If you continue to ignore slab leaks, it can result in mold damage, termite infestation, and even the collapse of your home’s foundation. 

Common Causes of Slab Leaks

There are a few reasons why slab leaks happen in the first place. 

  • Pre-Damage and Poor Installation - If your pipes experienced damage during installation, it could result in a lot of problems later on. Furthermore, improperly installed pipes won’t be able to function properly. Water flow can be hindered, and leaking is bound to happen. 
  • Pressure From External Forces - This can be due to earthquakes, soil erosion, and even ground shifts. When the ground starts to move, it can put pressure on your pipes. Excessive pressure can potentially lead to a burst pipe.
  • Abrasion and Corrosion – Pipes naturally expand and contract as water flows through them. However, constant contact between pipes and other materials can wear them down. Also, pipes can corrode as time goes by because of constant contact with soil and the quality of water that flows through it.


Signs of Slab Leaks

Since slab leaks occur under the concrete foundation of your home, they can be frustrating and hard to detect. Here are some tell-tale signs that you’re experiencing slab leaks. 

  • Water Bill Increase – This is the most common and recognizable sign that your house has slab leaks. If you see that your water bill suddenly spiked without any changes to your water consumption, it can be an indication of a leak.
  • Reduced Water Pressure – Less water runs through pipes whenever there’s a leak. Water escapes from the damaged pipe and weakens the water flow. 
  • Random Damp Spots On Floors – Once water accumulates beneath your home, it goes up and reaches your floor. Visible signs of water damage can be a good indicator of a leak.
  • Noticeable Signs of Mold or Mildew - Damp spots on floors can also lead to mold and mildew formation. Sometimes, it can also manifest on walls. A smell can also be noticed by the homeowner. It can direct the owner where the leak is coming from.
  • Hot Spots – Most slab leaks occur in the hot water line. Leaking hot water would eventually heat up the concrete slab above it. And as the concrete heats up, your floors start to get hot as well. These hot areas are more detectable on hardwood, linoleum, and tile flooring. Carpet floors, however, would make detection a bit more difficult.


What You Should Do

Once you see signs of a slab leak, you’re better off getting the services of an actual plumber as soon as possible before you do anything. Plumbers have the technical know-how and equipment to safely fix a slab leak. For the average homeowner, fixing a slab leak would be difficult and costly as it requires you to break and tear up your home’s concrete slab. Before you can even consider making a hole on your concrete slab, you must know where the leak is located. Do not start tearing down walls and slabs in an attempt to fix a leak. 


These tips can help you in identifying and detecting a slab leak. Now you’ll be familiar with what to do should a slab leak ever happen to your home.

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