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Determining Your Strategy for Slab Leak Repair


Determining Your Strategy for Slab Leak Repair

When you own a home, no matter how diligent you are about routine maintenance, eventually, things wear out, including your plumbing system. You may encounter persistent clogs, slow drains, and broken pipes.

Either you or your plumber can usually cure the problems with relatively simple repairs. However, there’s a tricky plumbing issue that causes trouble for the unsuspecting homeowner. It’s called a slab leak, and it occurs in the hot or cold water pipes buried underneath the foundation of a home.

Most homeowners can deal with minor plumbing issues, but a slab leak repair poses more of a challenge. Due to the location, it’s difficult (but not impossible) to detect slab leaks before they cause severe damage. You need a strategy!

Read on and learn more about this covert plumbing issue, including the tell-tale signs and tips on slab leak repair in Orange County.

What Causes Slab Leaks?

A variety of different events can contribute to the development of a slab leak underneath your foundation, including:

  • Pressure
  • Corrosion
  • Abrasion

In California, earthquakes can exert excess pressure on underground pipes, causing them to crack. Certain soil types expand and shrink, which causes ground shifting under a foundation. When the ground shifts, it puts pressure on both the slab and your pipes.

Plumbing pipes buried underground, come in contact with soil and metals in the ground. The reaction may cause corrosion, which eats a hole in the pipeline, resulting in a slab leak.

Water moving through pipes causes vibrations. When a pipe is next to a hard surface, like it is when buried under your foundation, the vibrations will cause the pipe to wear out. Over time, a hole forms, and you have a leak!

Since all of these activities take place hidden from view, you may not realize you have a problem for quite some time. Next, we’ll talk about the signs you should look for when you suspect you’re dealing with something other than an ordinary leak.

Signs You Have a Slab Leak

Even though you won’t see the leak, it will give you clues that it’s there under your foundation.

Pay Close Attention to Your Floor

If you detect water coming from under the surface of your floor, you should suspect a slab leak. Note the temperature of the floor. Unless you have radiant heat, the flooring shouldn’t feel hot. If it does, you have a hot water slab leak.

Your Nose Knows

Have you noticed a moldy smell in your home? Mold develops due to excessive moisture, and if you can’t find the source, call a qualified plumber. Plumbers are experts at finding slab leaks!

Listen for Running Water

When your house gets quiet, especially at night, keep your ear tuned for the sound of running water. It’s the audible evidence of a leak somewhere in your home. If the sound comes from underneath the floor, the plot thickens.

If you can’t find the source of the running water, contact a plumber!

Your Water Bill

You can usually explain a rise in your water bill. Either your city raises your rates, or you change your water usage. If you’re seeing rising water bills, with no reason behind them, you could have a slab leak.

Any of these scenarios indicate a plumbing problem. Whether it’s a slab leak or something else, you should get a plumber to come out to stop the leak and make repairs. Waiting could result in water damage to your home.

How Do Plumbers Find Leaks Under the Foundation?

You might have all the evidence you need, but you’ll still want confirmation of a slab leak. Validation doesn’t mean you break open your foundation! Even a plumber won’t open the foundation on a whim.

Using modern plumbing technology, your plumber can detect a leak without destroying your foundation.

Most plumbing companies today use sonic equipment to identify and fix slab leaks. If you have a leak when water moves through the pipe, it causes a vibration, and a ground mic can pick up the noise. Plumbers also use video cameras designed to pinpoint leaks.

How to Repair a Water Leak in a Concrete Slab

Once you receive confirmation that you definitely have a leak under your foundation, you’ll work with your plumber to come up with a strategy to fix it.

Today, plumbers have more than one option when considering the best repair for a slab leak. The repair process depends on the severity of the leak, and the condition of the pipe. Here are the three repair solutions:

  • Repair or Replace the Damaged Pipe Section
  • Re-route the Pipe
  • Re-Pipe
  • Re-line the Pipe

If the damage is limited to a short piece of pipe, the plumber will usually go ahead and repair or replace that section. It’s the least invasive and most practical solution.

When you have an old pipe or one in poor condition, a repair may cause a leak somewhere else on the pipe. In this case, the plumber may opt to shut off the leaking pipe and re-route it.

In an old house, you may have deterioration in the entire pipe system. To avoid future leaks and repair expenses, your plumber may advise re-piping. Re-piping is invasive and entails cutting into flooring and the concrete slab.

Trenchless pipe repair, also called pipe re-lining, requires the plumber to make holes at both ends of the damaged pipe. They then press a new liner through the pipe, which covers the break and seals any leaks.

Slab Leak Repair Cost

It’s natural to wonder how much repairing a slab leak will cost. Your plumber is the best resource for estimating costs, but the price of the repair depends on the extent of the leak and the repair method you choose.

Most plumbing companies have a separate charge for leak detection. Costs can vary depending on the plumber’s expertise and the type of equipment they use.

Repair costs also vary based on the extent of the leak, how difficult it is to access the pipe, and the rates for plumbing services in your area.

Worried You Might Have a Slab Leak?

If you think you’re seeing, hearing, or smelling signs of a leak, can’t find the exact location, don’t assume there isn’t a leak. You’ll need further exploration. Since slab leaks occur underneath your foundation, you may not see visible evidence.

It’s likely time to request assistance. Your plumber can help you strategize and determine the best solution for slab leak repair.

For help troubleshooting a leak, or if you need other plumbing services, contact us today. With over 30 years of experience in Orange County, we’ve never met a plumbing issue we can’t resolve.

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