As a homeowner, you have a lot of responsibilities. From ensuring that you schedule annual AC maintenance to making sure you pay your insurance bill, it may seem like a lot to take in. One common problem that you may hear many homeowners complain about is the cost of repairing a slab leak. Understanding the basics of what a slab leak is can help you to detect one early on to help minimize repair costs.
What Is a Slab Leak?
Most homes are constructed on a concrete slab. This helps to create a sturdy base for the home’s foundation. Before the foundation is completely poured, there is a sewage line and water lines that run beneath the concrete. Whenever one of these lines develops a leak, it is referred to as a slab leak.
Common Warning Signs
Due to the nature of where the lines are, it’s easy to understand why many homeowners are worried about the cost of repairing a slab leak. One of the best things you can do to help reduce your risk of experiencing a large leak is to be mindful of the key warning signs that indicate there is an issue with a line underneath your concrete slab.
High Water Bills
One of the first indications that you may notice of a slab leak is that your water bill is a lot higher than normal. While it’s completely natural for your water bill to increase in the summertime due to more usage outside, it shouldn’t be skyrocketing. If you notice your water bill is higher than normal and you are unable to attribute any of your usage to that increase, it’s time to get your slab checked by a professional to see if there are water lines leaking.
Warm Floor Spots
Another common indicator that you have a water leak below your slab is a warm spot on your floor. While this indicator isn’t as common as other warning signs, it can be extremely helpful if you do identify it. This will tell you that you have a hot water leak and point you directly to where the leak is below your slab.
an obvious warning sign of a severe slab leak is a domed floor. The water leaking from underneath your slab can drastically impact the condition of your flooring material. Many times, it will start to raise up the flooring above where the slab leak is located. As soon as you notice this problem, it’s very important that you get it assessed by a professional. Having a domed floor can mean that you have a very severe slab leak that needs to be addressed before it makes your home inhabitable.
Low Water Pressure
Another common sign that you’ll likely pick up on that you have a slab leak is low water pressure. This tends to happen very quickly and can’t be attributed to other things like city-wide loss of pressure or other appliances being turned on like your washer. As the water seeps out of your water pipes, only a portion of it is making it to the pipes and fixtures in your home.
It’s completely natural for a home to settle over time. However, if you’ve noticed any significant movement in your home’s foundation, it’s likely attributed to a leak below your slab. The water can lift the slab and create upward heaving. If you notice this warning sign of the slab leak, it’s important that you get it checked by a professional right away. You also need to get your home’s structural integrity assessed by a professional to ensure that it’s still safe to live in.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
If you’ve noticed any of the warning signs that we went over above, it’s likely that you’ve called in a professional to assess your slab. The next thing you’ll want to worry about is the actual cause of the leak. This is of vital importance as the root cause of the leak needs to be understood before the problem can be remedied completely. There are several different causes of slab leaks.
Incorrectly Built Foundation
If you have a newer home and you’re experiencing a slab leak, the root cause of it may be due to an incorrectly built foundation. It’s best to rely on both a plumbing and structural home expert to determine if this is the actual cause of your slab leak.
Whenever the Earth moves from phenomena like earthquakes, it can disrupt the construction of your home. If you don’t live in an area where you experience earthquakes, you may be dealing with another form of earth movement like underground waterways and soil erosion.
If you live in a region of the country that experiences extremely hard or soft water conditions, it’s important to realize that your water can affect the integrity of your piping. Over time, your hard or soft water can cause pinhole leaks inside of copper piping that can allow water to leak. As time goes on, the leaks are going to get bigger and bigger.
Soils that are prone to expansion will have high mineral content that will absorb water. This causes the soil to swell up in size, which can easily weaken your plumbing lines and result in failure.
It’s vital to realize that your hot water pipe will expand and contract over time. If this pipe has shifted any after your foundation was built, it can create friction with the bottom of your concrete slab. Over time, the pipe may fail due to this friction and allow for hot water to seep out.
How Are Slab Leaks Identified?
If you suspect that you have a slab leak underneath your home, it’s important that you call in a plumbing expert that is experienced in handling this sort of issue. Those who will have slab leak detection equipment that is specifically designed to help them identify the source of the leak to help minimize the amount of slab removal that will need to take place.
What Happens If You Don’t Fix a Slab Leak?
Slab leaks are not a plumbing problem that you want to allow to persist. They can lead to a variety of very costly issues with your home. First and foremost, excess water beneath your home’s foundation can be a breeding ground for unwanted mold and mildew. This can create harmful respiratory issues for those living in your home.
If a slab leak is allowed to progress, it will eventually lead to the collapse of your home’s foundation. This isn’t something that any homeowner wants to deal with. If you notice any warning signs of a slab leak, it’s best to call in a plumbing professional right away.
Reliable Plumbing Services
Cal’s Plumbing offers reliable plumbing services for the Tucson, AZ community. We can also help with your drain, water heater, and water treatment needs. Simply give us a call today to schedule your next appointment.