Something’s Wrong Down There: How to Tell If You Have a Slab Leak
If you’ve lived in Orange County for any period of time, you know that our climate and location can wreak havoc on area homes. From minor earthquakes that damage the foundation to humidity that invites mold, it’s no wonder homeowners are constantly running interference.
But even as a responsible homeowner, it’s easy to let some things slide—because out of sight is out of mind.
When it comes to a slab leak, however, it’s critical to know the signs. This type of damage can impact any drain line or pipe in the home, and the unseen water can cause crippling structural damage.
Here’s what to watch out for to prevent slab leak damage from affecting your home.
Warped, Damp, or Misshapen Floors
Depending on where your leak is, you may notice that your hardwood floors have begun to buckle or that cracks have started running across your tile floor. With carpeting, you may notice that your carpets feel unusually damp. In less severe cases, the water may not be deep enough to form a puddle, but you might still notice moisture anyway.
When excess moisture gets trapped beneath your floor, the resulting water damage can warp or damage the materials in noticeable ways. Changes to your flooring are always a sign to sit up and pay attention, especially when these changes occur suddenly.
Warm Patches on Your Floor
When your slab leaks, water comes up toward your home from pipes underground. When any of those pipes are carrying hot water, the floor above it might begin to feel unusually warm. If your pet is curled up on a specific part of the floor in wintertime, or if you notice a temperature change from one part of the room to another, it may be a sign of a slab leak.
A Hefty Water Bill
Unless you’ve had any routine changes or recent visitors, it’s always a red flag when your water bill spikes. Of course, your mind may not jump to a slab leak right away, but this is a sign that you are running water somewhere in your house without knowing it. If you can’t locate the leak yourself, make sure to have an expert come out to take a look.
Decreased Water Pressure
A decrease in water pressure can have many common culprits. In some homes, it’s as simple as having too many people using the water at once.
However, if you’ve been noticing decreased water pressure over an extended period of time, it may be that a slab leak is pulling away from that pressure.
Sounds of Running Water
Sometimes, the first sign of a slab leak is the sound. If water is running at all hours, you may have a leak somewhere.
Ensure no one in your home is using water, and ensure that all appliances like washing machines and dishwashers are turned off. If you can still hear running water, it’s a bad sign.
Alternatively, you may notice that your hot water heater is running non-stop. If a hot water pipe has contributed to your slab leak, it may cause your hot water heater to run more than it should. This can have a big impact on your water and your utility bill, so it’s a good idea to have it checked out as soon as possible.
Mold, Mildew, or Musty Odor
When moisture clings to your floors, it’s no surprise when mold and mildew follow. The first sign to look for is a damp or musty odor, even if you haven’t yet seen any visible signs of mold. Make sure, of course, that it’s not another common culprit.
You may also notice that more sensitive people in your family, like small children, older adults, or people with allergies or asthma, begin to feel sick or have difficulty breathing.
Structural Changes or Damage
All the moisture building up has to go somewhere. In many cases, it will creep up under your floor, but that isn’t the only place in your home to look.
If you notice any standing water or mud around the foundations of your home outside, rule out common causes like sprinkler systems or irrigation issues. If you can’t find a source for the water, it could be a slab leak.
Inside your home, you might notice sudden hairline cracks in your walls or ceiling as the foundation shifts or settles with incoming moisture.
How to Know When You Have a Slab Leak
Once any of these signs have triggered the suspicion of a slab leak in your mind, you’ll want to know one way or another. Of course, it’s hard for most homeowners to diagnose their own issues, as leaks can come from a huge range of sources and causes.
The best way to diagnose your leak is to call for backup from our team. We have plenty of experience with various types of leaks, and we’ll be able to let you know if you should be worried. Our team can also give you a little more insight into the next steps, including slab leak repair and homeowners’ insurance claims.
However, if you need a little extra convincing to be sure you have a leak, you can try a simple test. Turn off all faucets in your home, and make sure any appliance that uses water is turned off as well.
Once you’re certain there’s no running water inside, head out to your water meter. Your water meter can detect even minimal water use, so watch it for a few minutes. If the meter continues to show that water is running somewhere in your home, you have a leak to take care of.
Contact Our Team for Diagnosis and Repair
There are some subtle plumbing issues that no homeowner should have to tackle alone, and slab leaks are among them. If you’re worried that your home may have an unseen leak, call in our expert team for help. Our specialized equipment allows us to perform slab leak detection tests to see where the issue lies, and we’ll help you take care of the repair to ensure your peace of mind.
Contact us at any time for same-day and emergency service!
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