In the world of plumbing, problems usually arise in two distinct categories: water leaks & drain clogs.
Sewer and drain clogs are annoying and are usually a result of an obstruction in the drain line. Clogs are normally rectified by hiring a sewer & drain cleaning professional to evaluate and identify the location of the clog. Most professional plumbers will use a drain cleaning sewer video camera to look inside of the drain line to locate the clog and then evaluate the best options to clear the line.
Water leaks have the potential to create more damage inside the house. Let’s face it, water belongs inside of pipes, fixtures, toilets, or any other areas that are designed to hold water. When water shows up in locations that are not designed for water, problems and water damage is the result.
Water Leaks in Odd Locations
Leaks can be a result of various situations. They can happen around the water closet during toilet repair & installation. Leaks can occur around fixtures such as faucets, faucet repair & installation, water heater connections or during water heater repair, laundry (water hose lines), water softeners, water treatment systems, and hose bibs. Sometimes leaks will be detected during kitchen and bathroom remodeling projects. But, the worst type of water leaks are the ones that occur at inaccessible areas such as behind walls or under the slab foundation.
Underground Water Leaks
Underground leak detection is not usually a “do it yourself” type of job. Finding a water leak below the concrete or under a concrete slab is best left to the professionals. Slab leaks will almost always qualify as an emergency plumbing situation. Accurate slab leak detection is critical when dealing with underground pipe leaks. The first step in being prepared for an under concrete slab leak is knowing the signs and learning how to detect a slab pipe leak.
Slab Leak Symptoms
There are several indications that may be visible when you are looking for a slab leak. Obviously, evidence of water on the floor or water damage inside the house are the most prominent. Finding moisture or dampness below carpeting can be another sign of a leak. Since your water system is pressurized, any leaks will create running water, which can sometimes be heard under floors or behind walls. This is a sure sign of a problem if you are hearing this sound when no water or fixtures are running. In addition to that, you can also check your water meter to see if it is turning when there is no water running.
Noticing that you have a high water bill can be another sign of a water leak. The water line that is usually the first one to leak is the hot water line. If you a warm area on a tile floor, which tile floors are normally cool, this could also be a sign of a water leak below the floor. If you find any of these signs, you should contact a leak detection service or a 24 hour emergency plumber to come over and evaluate the evidence.
Slab Leak Repair
After determining that you indeed have a water leak under your slab, the leak detection services company or a 24 hour emergency plumber will give you two options. Option 1 would be to offer to repair the individual pipe that is causing the slab leak. This would involve breaking up the concrete floor at the location of the leak, repairing the single leaking pipe, and repairing the concrete floor. This option will be the less expensive choice of the two, however there are some things to consider when evaluating a leak under the foundation.
Water leaks are usually the result of aging copper pipes. Once a copper pipe system begins to spring leaks, it is usually the first of many more to come. So, in essence, this may be like putting a band aid on a problem that is destined to repeat itself again with the potential for a future slab leak.
Option 2 would be to completely repipe the home. This option will be more expensive, but is usually a better choice when dealing with a system of failing water lines. Repiping involves replacing the original copper water lines with new CPVC (Chlorinated Polyvinyl Chloride) water pipes that will be run overhead into the attic with lines dropped down to each fixture. This is the type of plumbing that is being used on almost all new home construction and it is a great choice when building your home.
Slab leak detection is a job for an experienced professional. Water leaks are no fun, but they do occur and we should be prepared for them. Understanding what to look for and knowing how to detect a slab leak are very important for any homeowner. Knowing that slab leak detection is best left to a professional, at the first sign of a water leak, you should contact your local leak detection service provider or a 24 hour emergency plumbing company that is experienced in leak detection. Also, please understand the big picture regarding failing copper pipes and the benefits of each option, slab leak repair vs repiping (complete home pipe replacement). Understanding this process will help you to make an educated decision on how to take care of a slab leak.
Please check out our blog for more leak detection and repair articles.