Although you may always be on the lookout for your home’s maintenance needs, there are some maintenance issues that are not easy to spot. One such problem is a slab leak. Sadly, a slab leak can lead to significant damage to your home if you are unaware of the signs and do not how to handle the situation.
At Rick’s Plumbing, slab leaks are a part of our regular business. We have the experience and expertise needed to quickly and efficiently repair your slab leak, minimizing the damage to your home.
What is a Slab Leak?
Like most present-day buildings, your home is built on a concrete slab, which serves as the foundation. Damage to this slab can affect the stability of your entire home.
Slab leaks occur when water lines that are buried in your home’s concrete foundation develop a leak. This can happen for a number of reasons, including corrosion, excessive pressure, or abrasion. Regardless of the cause, it is important to be aware of the signs of a slab leak so that you can take action quickly.
1. Excessive Pressure
Pipes underground can crack due to the heavy pressure on them. This is especially true in places with clay soils because they expand while wet and then contract as they dry out, putting extra pressure on the slab and pipes. This can also occur as a result of an earthquake.
The pipes beneath the ground in your home make contact with the soil and the metals within it. This may cause galvanic corrosion, which occurs when two different metals make contact. This kind of corrosion can eventually lead to pipe breaks and leaks.
When water flows through pipes, it can cause them to vibrate. If the pipe is close to some other pipe, concrete, or some other solid surface, this vibration can lead to abrasion at the point of contact, which wears away at the pipes and can eventually cause leaks.
Symptoms You Have a Slab Leak
Symptoms of a slab leak are often hidden and may be wrongly diagnosed even when spotted. Always follow up on the symptoms of a slab leak because of the amount of damage they can cause in a short period. There are a few different symptoms that you may have a slab leak. These include:
1. The Sound of Running Water
When you hear the sound of running water beneath your floor while all the fixtures in your home are turned off, this is a sign that you have a leak somewhere. This sound is usually the result of water escaping through a small crack or hole in the pipe.
2. A Hot Floor
If you have a hot spot on your floor that does not seem to be related to any appliance or other heat source, this could be a sign of a slab leak. This may happen when water is leaking from one of the hot water pipes.
If you find puddles of water around your home, especially in the same spot, this may indicate a leak. These puddles are usually the result of water seeping up through cracks in the slab and pooling on the surface. Sometimes you may find puddles indoors as well, mostly in the kitchen or bathroom.
If you notice mold or mildew in your home, it may be the result of a slab leak. These can cause water to seep up through cracks and form puddles on the surface that are perfect breeding grounds for mold and mildew.
5. Unusually High Water Use
When your water meter is running even when all the fixtures in your home are turned off, this is another sign that you may have a slab leak. This happens because water is escaping from the pipes and running through the meter.
If you see a sudden and unexplained spike in your water bill, this may be caused by a leak. A single leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day, so it is important to take action as soon as possible if you see a jump in your water usage.
If you see cracks in your slab foundation, walls, or floors, this may also be a sign that you have a slab leak. This can happen when water leaks from the pipes and weakens the soil beneath the slab.
Expert Slab Leak Detection
When you suspect you have a slab leak, the best thing to do is call in a professional. They will be able to use their expertise and equipment to quickly and accurately locate the leak. This does not require breaking into your foundation.
Using modern non-invasive slab leak detection techniques, most contractors like Rick’s Plumbing can have your leak located in a few hours. This will save you time, money, and hassle in the long run. Sonic equipment like acoustic systems and ground mics can detect the vibration coming from water leaking at top speed. They also have sonic location systems to spot nonmetal pipes, and also video pipe inspection equipment.
Options For Fixing Slab Leaks
Professionals have three main options for fixing slab leaks. The best option for your home will depend on the location and severity of the leak, the state of the pipe, as well as the overall condition of your plumbing system.
The first option is to repair the leak. This can be done by excavating the area around the leak and repairing or replacing the damaged pipe. This is usually only an option for small leaks that are easy to access. Epoxy pipe lining can also be used to repair leaks in pipes. It includes placing epoxy in the pipe to block the leak without opening up the foundation.
2. Reroute The Pipe
The second option is to reroute the pipe that is leaking. This is usually an option if the leak is located in a pipe that is old or weak. As a result, if you repair the pipe, you may only be creating more leaks in other sections of the same pipe. So, you should shut the pipe at the nearest manifold and re-route it. Such pipes are often re-routed above the ground.
3. Repipe The House
If your house is old and your entire piping system is in bad shape, you may need to repipe the entire house. This is a big job, but it will ensure that all the pipes in your home are new and up to code. It will also eliminate the risk of future leaks.
Estimating And Covering The Costs
Once the contractor has located the leak, they will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of the cost of repairs. The price will include the cost of detection which is between $125 and $375. These estimates vary according to the company’s advanced equipment and proficiency.
When the contractor has to open the foundation, the price will go up to an average of $500 to $4,000. This will depend on how easy the leak is to access, its severity, and the plumbing services rate in your area. A leak in an ordinary pipe may cost about 25% less than in a sewer drain.
If a pipe is too weak and needs to be re-routed, you may be looking at a price tag of $200 to $500 if its a short pipe. This will depend on how complex the situation is. For the average pipe, the price is about $1,500.
A slab leak is usually covered by homeowner’s insurance if the leak was caused by wear and tear. This means that it is not something that you did to cause the leak. Your insurance cover often includes the demolition cost as well as the pipe replacement cost. The labor cost may not be covered. If your insurance includes a “tear-out provision”, it means it covers the cost of demolition.
Rerouting and repiping are not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance as they are considered preventive measures. Some companies may cover half the cost if the rerouting is due to a slab leak. You can petition your insurance company to modify the rates.
The policies differ from company to company, so it’s best to check with your agent to see what is covered. While some cover physical damage that results from a sudden leak, others don’t cover any water-related leak. If your policy only covers sudden leaks, you probably won’t get a payout if you pick up signs of a leak such as cracks. You should always check with your insurance company to see if you are covered before you start any repairs.
Contact a Contractor Experienced in Slab Leak Detection Today
Once you suspect that you have a slab leak, it’s best to find a contractor who is experienced in slab leak detection and repair. Such a company will be able to tell you the best course of action for your home. Rick’s Plumbing has been in business for about 30 years and our technicians are highly trained in all aspects of plumbing. We use state-of-the-art equipment to quickly and accurately detect leaks. We will then provide you with a free estimate for the repair. Contact us today at 203-874-6629 to schedule an appointment.