Being a responsible home owner you will monitor for any issues with your maintenance that are that may be brewing in your home. While some maintenance problems are easy to identify with a quick inspection however, some are out of view. The slab’s leak can be just one of them. This kind of leak can result in significant damage to your house however, you can stop this by recognizing the signs and what to do to resolve the issue.
What is an Slab Leak?
Plumbing Pipes Prior to Concrete Slabs are Poured
Photo Credit Roger Mommaerts
The majority of modern homes are built on concrete slab foundations, in which the concrete layer is poured on or placed on an area of gravel or soil. The house is built upon this slab. Any destruction to the slab can compromise the strength of the structural integrity of the whole home.
“Slab leak,” also known as a “slab leak” is when your plumbing system begins to leak beneath the concrete slab foundation. It can cause several problems that can become worse in the event that the leak doesn’t stop. There are a variety of possible causes for slab leaks.
Excessive pressure Underground pipes are usually placed under pressure that is excessive that can cause cracks in them. This is a frequent issue in areas that have clay soils that expand when wet, and shrink upon drying and causes the ground beneath the slab to move, and create stress on the slab as well as pipes. A seismic event can trigger this problem.
Corrosion Underground pipes are in direct contact with soil and the elements they contain. This could lead to galvanic corrosion triggered through contact between two metals. This type of corrosion may cause a hole to be cut in your pipe , and lead to the leakage.
Abrasion The flow of water through pipe causes it to shake. When the pipes are adjacent to a hard surface , such as concrete or rebar, as well as gravel steel is likely to break down to the point that it comes into contact with the surface. In the end, a hole will form and the pipe begins to leak.
Slab Leak Symptoms That You Should Avoid
The signs of slab leaks aren’t always apparent, and some can be often mistaken as other problems. If you experience any of these signs however it’s best to look into. A slab leak could cause significant damage in a small period of time.
Sound of water running If you hear the sound of water running through your floor , but no water-using appliances or taps are running it’s likely that you’ve got an issue with your water.
The hot floors The floor or a portion on a flooring that’s extremely warm could indicate a problem with those hot lines. The soles of your feet makes hot spots easier to spot.
Puddles Puddles that are found along the exterior of your home which have no apparent source like leaky hose bibs may be caused by the cracks that are in your foundation, caused by leaks in your slab. In the indoors, you may see water puddles that are forming on the floor from under a cabinet, from between tiles or the wall’s bottom. It is more likely to be seen in bathrooms and kitchens close to pipes or fixtures.
Mold Moisture promotes the growth of mildew and mold. If you notice mold growing under your carpets, it’s likely the moisture that is feeding it is a result of an underlying leak.
High water usage The most obvious indication is when the watermeter’s dial continuously spinning, signalling that you’re using water even though all of your taps are shut and all water-using appliances are turned off. Leaks in the hot water line could have your water heater running continuously as well.
In the end, you may notice that your water bills are more expensive than normal. This is usually a sign of an issue with the plumbing system. In this case, you’ll require a professional inspection to determine whether you’ve got an issue with your slab.
Cracks Cracks in your slab foundation , or in your flooring or walls may be the result of water damage caused by the leak of your slab.
Professional Slab Leak Detection
Even if you spot indications for a slab leak you’ll need to verify the possibility that you actually have an issue with your underground pipe. It’s not necessary to cut the foundation in order for this, however. Do not let a plumber break your foundation until they’ve verified the existence of a leak using other methods.
Modern technology permits accurate safe slab leak detection. The majority of companies that are equipped to detect and repair slab leaks utilize equipment that emits sound, such as ground mics and Acoustic systems. They detect the sound that is generated when a leaky portion of pipe shakes due to water flowing out at a rapid rate. They also can use the sonic technology to locate non-metal pipes as well as video inspection equipment for pipes.
Alternatives for Resolving Slab Leaks
There are three main methods to deal with slab leaks. The best option for you will depend on the severity of the leak and the state of the pipe as well as the rest of your plumbing system.
Restore the damaged area When the leak appears to be not too severe as well as the pipe otherwise in good shape This is usually the best solution. The pipe with the leak and the fittings that are connected to it can be repaired. A pipe liner made of epoxy is another option. It involves lining the inside of the pipe using epoxy in order to close the leak. It doesn’t need cracking the foundation.
Change the route of pipe If the leaky pipe is damaged, fixing an issue in one area can cause a leak to spring elsewhere on the pipe. In this situation the best choice could be to close off the pipe from the nearest manifold, and then reroute it. The pipe is typically routed to the top of the ground.
Repipe the house If you live in an older home where the entire pipe system is failing the slab leak is typically an indication that you’ll see leaks appearing within other parts of your system. If you take the initiative of Repiping your home will prevent future leaks, as well as the costs of repair, damage and stress that they cause.
Estimating and covering the Costs
The cost of repairing slab leaks starts with detection, which can range between $125 to $375. Businesses who focus on slab leak repair and detection are more expensive due to their expertise and the latest equipment.
Repairing the foundation and opening the pipe that is leaking could cost as low as $500. It can cost up to $4000 if the leak’s severe or the pipe is difficult to access, or the rates to get plumbing help are expensive in your region. The leak in the sewer drain is likely to cost around twenty percent higher than a leak in a normal pipe.
For a damaged pipe that’s best rerouted, a process of rerouting can cost anywhere from $200-$500 for shorter pipes. For the majority of pipes it will cost higher than $1500, or higher in more complex scenarios.
Insurance for the Homeowner
Insurance for homeowners typically covers part or all the expenses that arise from the leak of a slab. If a repair of a minor nature is all you require then your insurance will likely cover the costs for demolishment (breaking in the concrete foundation, then closing it) and pipe replacement but it will not cover the cost of labor that are involved. A “tear-out clause” included in the policy implies that the costs of demolition must be paid for.
Rerouting and Repiping are typically not covered. However, since they lower the chance of water damage and leaks in your home, you may request your insurance company to increase your premium after the job has been completed.
The policies vary greatly and some do not cover water-related damages at all and others only cover physical damages due to a leak which occurred abruptly. This can be a problem like a damaged flooring or wall but not the damage caused by plumbing repairs. If there are only a few leaks that are covered, and you have noticed indications of a leak, for example, warm floors, prior to the leak caused damage you may not be eligible to be paid.
If you see indications of a slab leak, you should contact an experienced plumber as quickly as you are able. Choose a plumbing firm that has experience in slab leak repair and detection. The sooner you can address the issue and fix it, the less damage you’ll need to address under your foundation and within your home.