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Slab Leaks - Everything You Need To Know

Learn the Ins and Outs of Slab Leaks

Most homeowners have had to deal with some sort of plumbing issue in their home - a dripping faucet, a clogged drain, an ever-running toilet… These tend to be familiar territory for many homeowners. But when it comes to slab leaks, many homeowners are in the dark. Slab leaks are somewhat less common (thank goodness!) than the above issues and are also more difficult to detect - it's possible to have a slab leak for months without realizing it. 

But they can also be one of the most destructive plumbing problems homeowners can face, so it's important to understand and be aware of them. This article will lay out what every homeowner should know about slab leaks, including what they are, why they're dangerous, how to spot them, and how the pros go about fixing them.

What Exactly Is a Slab Leak?slab leak

A slab leak is a leak or rupture in one of the water pipes underneath the concrete foundation (aka "slab") of a home. There are a few possible causes for slab leaks. If the soil under the foundation shifts or expands (as clay soils are known to do when wet), it can strain underground pipes, causing them to crack. The surrounding soil can also cause corrosion or abrasion of copper pipes, eventually resulting in leaks.

A few signs of a slab leak include:

  • Unusually warm spots on the floor (if a hot water line has broken)
  • The sound of running water when no water is in use
  • Inflated water bills
  • Puddles or damp spots around the house's perimeter
  • Evidence of a cracked or shifting foundation (cracks in the walls or floors, unlevel sections, etc.)

Why Slab Leaks Are Bad News

Among all the forms a plumbing leak can take, a slab leak is one of the most insidious and destructive. First and foremost, it can lead to erosion and shifting of the soil under the home's foundation, which can cause parts of the foundation to sink or crack. A shifting or damaged foundation can be extremely expensive to repair. It can also compromise the house's structural integrity and cause extensive damage - cracks in the drywall, broken windows, unsafe flooring, etc.

This is to say nothing of the water damage that may occur if the water comes up through a crack in the foundation or seeps into a basement or crawlspace. The excess moisture created by a foundation leak can also foster mold growth, negatively impacting indoor air quality. And since they can go unnoticed for months, slab leaks can also waste thousands of gallons of water, needlessly costing homeowners more on their utility bills.

plumber How Professionals Deal With Slab Leaks

If homeowners suspect they have a slab leak, the best course is to hire a professional to perform a slab leak detection service. Pros use special tools to determine if there is a leak in the home's plumbing system, then pinpoint its exact location - without unnecessarily tearing up the floors. This is typically done using ground microphones or acoustic listening devices to track down the distinct vibration signature or even by feeding a special video camera into the pipe itself.

Once the leak is found, the solution will depend on the extent and root cause of the leak. One option is to excavate and replace the damaged section of the pipe. Using a special epoxy to seal the leak from within, one can fix some slab leaks without digging or breaking through the foundation. For older deteriorating pipes, the only long-term solution may be to bypass the damaged pipe by rerouting through a new pipe installed above or away from the foundation. In extreme cases, a whole-home repiping may be necessary to prevent future slab leaks.

About Cajun Maintenance

Cajun Maintenance has been the go-to full-service plumbing company in Denham Springs for over a decade. Their trustworthy licensed technicians always arrive on time, provide award-winning service, and get the job done right the first time. Cajun Maintenance guarantees 100% satisfaction on every job, so homeowners know they're in good hands when they call Cajun for slab leak repair in Durham Springs, LA!