Among all the plumbing complications, slab leaks are the trickiest to detect as they occur underneath the concrete structure. It can happen in the water lines either on the drainage side or the pressure side. Undetected but stealthily leaking precious water, slab leaks can collapse a home or a building’s foundation.
Slab leaks are also known as pinhole leaks when they occur in the walls or ceiling above the ground.
Possible signs to watch out for a slab leak.
These cracks could range from a hairline to a substantial one. It can occur in the walls or on the floors.
- Warm or damp floors.
It is prevalent in structures where the water leak affects the hot water line. It is particularly common around floors that are directly above the plumbing.
- Molds and stains.
Any area of the house can develop mildew, but if it takes place underneath mats, rugs, carpets or furniture, it is connected to a slab leak. Molds and mildew infestation is typically accompanied by a peculiar musty smell in the air. Staining is also a part of this issue.
- Low water pressure.
If the pressure in the shower or any of the taps around the house is never enough, it is always a good idea to inspect further.
- A moving meter dial.
When the water is not in use at any part of the house or a building but the water meter dials moves constantly, a slab leak might be to blame.
- Running water.
A sudden rush of water is expected in the plumbing system occasionally. However, if you hear a steady trickling of water even when all the taps are turned off, it could be attributed to a slab leak.
- Termite infestation.
Although not as common, it is not rare. It is particularly true if the area you live in is hot and humid. Termite infestation is a clear indication of problems in the foundation.
- A sudden spike in water bills.
Every household or a building can assess an approximate amount of the monthly water bills. When there is an unexplained spike in the water bills, a slab leak is usually a right suspect.
- Outdoor water pooling.
When there are no rains and yet water pools around the house without any reason, it is usually due to a slab leak.
What triggers a slab leak?
A shift in the foundation due to movements of the earth can put pressure on the pipes. Although they are capable of withstanding it to a certain degree, extreme weather conditions can put a tremendous amount of pressure on the pipes. As a result of this, the pipes can develop a crack, crease, and bend which culminates in a slab leak.
- Rust and corrosion.
When the pipes are installed in direct contact with the soil and gravel, it can result in corrosion over time. A gradual corroding is expected, but it can be accelerated if the power lines are also in direct contact with the pipes. The condition is worsened if the pipes are made of copper.
As the water flows continuously through the pipes, they tend to contract and expand. It results in them undergoing wear and tear. It can be made worse if the pipes are in constant friction with gravel and concrete underneath the foundation.
- Improper installation.
Improper installation of the pipes is a significant cause of slab leaks. Another reason is that the pipes could have sustained some minor damages during the installation and it gets aggravated over time. It is crucial that an experienced professional undertake the contract, as the pipes will have the entire house resting on them.
Earthquakes can also cause significant damage to the plumbing system. It can be especially grievous if the soil is fragile. It is always recommended to inspect the pipelines for possible damages after an earthquake, however mild.
Is there a way to prevent slab leaks?
Considering that the leaks occur underneath the floors, it can seem like an abysmal situation. But yes, there are measures that you can undertake before the leaks cause total destruction.
- Regular inspection.
We have all heard it before, but we never practice it. But the best thing you can do to prevent a slab leak is to conduct regular inspection. You can do this by inspecting all the water lines in the property and emergency shut off valves. It will enable you to stay ahead of the leak and nip the impending disaster in the bud.
- Maintain a steady water pressure.
Every once in a while it is fine to have a full pressure shower. However, using exaggerated pressure all the time can strain the pipes and may even result in bursting. The ideal pressure is between 65 PSI and 80 PSI.
- No chemical cleaners.
Most chemical drain cleaners that we employ as instant remedy for clogged drains are very harsh on the pipes. It does provide temporary relief, but it can considerably weaken the pipes and the entire plumbing system.
- Hard or soft water.
Of course, the type of water is determined by the area where you live. However, understanding the nature of water you have in the pipes makes you better prepared to handle a problem. Hard water can be damaging to the pipes so if you know the water in your area is hard, installing a water softener may soften and reduce the negative impacts considerably.
Why a professional plumber is required for a slab leak.
A professional plumber is better equipped with the right tools and the knowledge about the different problems pertaining to a slab leak. After careful inspection, he or she can determine whether to repair or replace the parts or the system.
For a veiled and cunning problem as a slab leak, the use of sophisticated equipment is required. Professional plumbers at Sedco Plumbing employ equipment such as electronic sound equipment to detect a leak. Monitoring devices are also used which can identify the exact location of the leak.
After the detection, the best options are laid out for you to consider. It is much more efficient, cost-effective and time-saving as opposed to trying to undertake the problem yourself, rather unsuccessfully. Plumbing services are also available any time you require it.