Slab Leak Symptoms: How do I know if I have a slab leak?
Homes built on a large concrete pad ( known as a slab) usually have plumbing pipes installed underneath the slab. When the plumbing pipes under a slab start leaking, you have what’s known as a slab leak.
Leaking Pipes under a slab foundation are a serious condition. Slab leaks need to be addressed quickly due to the possibility of the slab being undermined by soil erosion.
Signs your home has a leaking pipe underneath the concrete foundation include:
Increased water bill
Pooling or water leakage on the side of your home
Buckling or wetting of inside floors
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.
Slab Leak Repair: Bypass Plumbing in the Slab vs. Slab Leak Spot Repair
Bypass Plumbing in the Slab to Eliminate Future Slab Leaks
We believe pipe re-routing is the best option for homeowners because it is a permanent solution. We are able to provide a substantial warranty on pipe re-routing because a completely new pipe is installed and the entire pipe beneath the slab is eliminated from the plumbing system.
Slab repairs or “spot” repair amounts to patching a defective pipe. These are short-term to medium term solutions at best.
Spot repairs are fixing a pipe in one place that may be defective in others. For that reason there is a minimal warranty. Many plumbers recommend a spot repair because they do not have experience re-routing pipes.
Pipe Re-routing by Plumbing Express involves the following:
- 20 year transferrable labor warranty
- Quick turn-key process (includes drywall patching & paint)
- Insurance may help off-set the cost of the work
- Water restored to the home at the end of each work day
- Peace of mind knowing you won’t have another slab leak ever
- The best materials and W2 employees who know their stuff
- Flexible payment options
Choosing a slab leak spot repair vs. re-routing means you may face one of the following issues:
- High probability of having subsequent leaks on other sections of the deteriorated pipe
- Inaccurate leak detection results in higher costs, more damage to the slab and your home’s interior
- Existing pipe not warrantied, just the repair fittings itself
- Escalating insurance rates or cancellation due to multiple claims
- Presence of slab pipes makes your home less appealing to educated buyers
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I call a leak detection company before I call a plumber?
We recommend calling a plumber before calling a leak detection company. Plumbers can help you evaluate the situation and can conduct isolation tests to confirm the leak is indeed under the slab.
How do pipes under the slab start to leak?
After a pipe has deteriorated significantly small holes can develop from weak points across the pipe. Water will begin to seep out of these holes. The small holes grow larger over time resulting in a leak that can be visible in the floor or outside the foundation.
What are some signs of a slab leak?
Increased water bill without other signs of a leak, moisture or seepage on the 1st floor, leaking water outside the foundation.
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What People Have to Say
“Overall, our interactions with Plumbing Express were professional, courteous and timely. Will definitely use again!”
I had all of the old pipes in my 18-year-old home removed and replaced. Plumbing Express did an exceptional job on the interior work. They matched all of the tile and grout, cleaned the site, and made it impossible to tell they had even been there…
We had just moved here and needed all of our piping changed to PVC, so we took their advice and recommendations. After hearing from our neighbors, we figured they would do a good job. They ended up doing an excellent job!
Plumbing Express was punctual, got the work done in a very tight time frame, and the quality was good. The employees were very courteous, on time, and very professional.
This team is professional, thorough, and friendly. The interior of our home looks great. There is no trace of work being done… I actually think it looks better than it did before the job! The patching and paint work are impeccable.