Slab Leak Detection: How well does it work?
After a slab leak has been confirmed there are two choices: 1) Fix the Slab Leak Spot Repair 2) Fix the Slab leak by re-routing the pipe. Spot repairs require the location of a leak to be approximated by a leak detection service.
Professional leak detection companies use a version of a microphone to approximate the location of a leak by honing in on sound produced by pressurized water or air escaping the small hole in the pipe.
Leak detectors make the assumption that the point the microphone detects the strongest sound is directly over the leak. When the leak detector determines the most likely area of a leak, they place a mark on your floor.
Leak detection services are notoriously inaccurate and their results are not guaranteed. Variations in slab concrete thickness, density, and sound conductivity, or the presence of multiple leaks mean the mark can be further away from the actual leak location.
Inaccuracy of leak detection instruments in addition to variations in sound carrying qualities of the slab also contribute to error in detection. Detection companies generally set a goal for a leak to be located with in 2-4 feet of the mark. This 4 ft diameter means the leak is ideally within an 8 foot circular area on the floor. Inaccurate leak detection is a common problem for plumbers and can significantly balloon the cost of repairs to your home caused by jackhammering concrete and demolition.
A single slab leak can indicate the entire slab piping system has deteriorated to a point of failure. Homes with slab pipes may experience multiple pipe failures on the same pipe under the foundation. These repeated leaks can be a nightmare for homeowners resulting in multiple insurance claims and a huge cost to the homeowner.