Local Plumbers Explain Slab Leak Detection
Some people may not be aware of the urgency to repair slab leaks, which happen under the foundation of a home. These may come from the little cracks in the water pipe beneath the slab of concrete, and these can lead to serious damage to your property. So as early as possible, it is crucial to hire local professional plumbers with expertise in slab leak detection.
All homes in North Texas are prone to slab leaks due to a combination of climate change and the nature of our soil – it causes the ground to shift more.
Older homes (pre 1980’s) have cast iron plumbing. Cast iron fares poorly in Texas’s soil texure which is a naturally alkaline clay. Over time the soil turns acidic, essentially eating the cast iron away.
It’s important to know the signs of a possible slab leak inside your home. Understanding your plumbing problem may help your plumber determine whether you have an emergency plumbing situation or need a general plumbing solution. Either way, it’s best to let a licensed plumber handle the job.
Signs of a Slab Leak
If you notice any of the following signs occur in or around your residence, you may have a slab leak.
Hot Spots on the Flooring
As you walk across a room and notice that there are some parts of the floor that are warmer, these may strongly indicate that there is a leak on the slab. When the hot water line has a leak, hot water will build up beneath the slab and will transfer moisture and heat into the nearby areas.
Sound of Water Running
When the faucet or shower is open, you may hear the sound of water running through the pipes. However, when the same sound is heard without anyone using it, this may be a sign of a leak and a sign you may need your plumbing checked.
Higher Water Bills
As you check your bills on a monthly basis, you may notice a sudden increase, which may indicate a leak.
Movement of Water Meter
If the water has not been used but there is movement in the water meter, then this may mean that there is a leak.
Standing Water around the House
When there is a slab leak, the water will eventually go somewhere. If there is a pool of water, high groundwater levels, or mud somewhere around the house, and there is no defective valve, then this shows that there is a leak.
Causes of a Slab Leak
We’ve literally seen every possible scenario for slab leaks, broken water lines and clogged sewer lines. Here’s a roundup of the most common causes of a slab leak in North Texas:
Poor Installation of Piping
Piping may be forced into a position or it may have been damaged after it was installed.
Due to the constant change in temperature, a copper pipe contracts and expands. When it accidentally gets hit by a sharp object, it may eventually cut through the pipe.
Copper wires tend to deteriorate due to soil and water resulting in possible slab leaks.
As a house grows older, it may need some plumbing repairs, which may include replacement of the piping system.
Slab Leak FAQs
What type of homes are at risk for a slab leak?
Homes built on a concrete slab with water and sewer lines run underneath are at risk, especially those built between 1965 and 2005. Recent foundation work or relocated plumbing carry risks, as do previous slab leak repairs or water heater failures. Built in recirculation pumps in larger houses increase the risk, too.
Environmental factors also play a role. Homes built in areas with a lot of soil movement or corrosive soil composition are at greater risk. A corrosive water supply increases risks by wearing down pipes faster. North Texas has a lot of these geological features, so homeowners in the region should be vigilant about warning signs of a leak
What are the most common signs of a leak?
You may notice one or more of these warning signs including low water pressure, high water bills, running water sounds when none is in use, persistent wet and/or warm spots on floors, and muddy ground beside exterior walls.
What does a slab leak sound like?
You may hear a hissing sound as it leaks from a broken pipe. If you aren’t sure what you hear, turn off all the taps and any appliances in your house that use water. Make sure there’s no ambient noise that could be mistaken for a leak. If the sound persists, there’s a good chance you have a leak.
What's the difference between a water line break and a sewer slab leak?
A water line break affects the pressurized line coming into your house, resulting in water continuously escaping from the line into the structure of your house. The water may penetrate your floors or pool outside near an exterior wall. Sewer lines aren’t pressurized, so they only leak when wastewater enters the system. They can take longer to detect.
Do slab leaks cause water damage inside my house?
Wet spots will cause floor damage over time. Moisture can also penetrate walls, causing surface and internal damage. In some cases, excessive moisture could even cause mold and mildew to flourish.
How does a slab leak affect the foundation of my house?
Water leaking into the ground below a slab foundation may cause it to shift. This can intensify slab fractures and affect the structure of your house, as it no longer rests on a level foundation.
How do you fix a slab leak?
If the leak is only in one spot, a plumber can jackhammer through the slab, dig into the ground below, and repair the pipe. However, the leak must be located correctly, and the flooring above the repair spot must be replaced.
Another option is to bypass the slab by tunneling from outside to reach and fix the broken pipe. This is very labor intensive, as it requires digging by hand.
An easy solution for a one-story house is to abandon the line under the slab in favor of a new water line running through the walls and attic. This requires some cutting and repairs to the walls.
Another option is to run a new water line through the old one. It reduces the pipe diameter, though. If there’s any bending, damage, or other complication in the old line, running a new line through it may not be possible.
What should you do if you have a slab leak?
You should contact our professional plumbers immediately, whether it’s to head off major problems or minimize existing damage. A leak will only get worse with time.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Plumber
Locating a slab leak will require the services of a specialist. There is a certain type of equipment, which is used in tracing the piping under the slab. There is also another type of sensitive device that is used in listening to the pipes. A professional will be able to determine the leak plus the source and destination of the pipe that is leaking. Even without undergoing a complete process of leak detection, a good Carrollton plumber can tell the difference between a leaking slab and running water from a toilet or washing machine.
Contact Plumbing Dynamics in Carrollton
If you suspect the presence of a slab leak, it is crucial to contact Plumbing Dynamics since we are the North Texas experts in slab leak detection and we are equipped with the right tools to determine and address this kind of leak.
We never charge you extra for a service call or a trip charge. We are Master Plumbers who’ve seen every possible plumbing problem in Dallas, TX. We are family-owned and operated for nearly 30 years and will hold your hand through the entire slab leak repair process.