Some homes are built directly on a concrete slab, or foundation, rather than on a concrete or wooden frame. Before these homes are built, an engineer must examine the soil to ensure that the ground is able to support the home over the long term and won’t shift. The builder determines where the plumbing, draining, or other elements may need to be under the foundation before the concrete is poured. These pipes and other elements are laid in a trench surrounded by gravel, and the concrete is poured directly over it all.
The thinking is that the plumbing underneath will last just as long as the foundation itself. Unfortunately, that isn’t true. In fact, your plumbing could be leaking underneath your foundation, eroding the soil and potentially undermining the structural integrity of your whole home. Even if it doesn’t reach that point, the leak could cause your foundation to crack, and repairing the leak requires you to break through the slab.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
Often, slab leaks are caused by aging plumbing. No matter how great the materials used for the plumbing are, they will eventually age and the components will start to break down. That can lead to slow leaks at first, but eventually, the pipes will burst and your foundation could be flooded. It’s important that you find out the age of the plumbing when you buy a new house so that you can keep track of its life span and know when you need to start thinking about re-piping.
Slab leaks can also occur because the ground has shifted over time – potentially because a proper site study was not done before construction and sometimes as a result of unexpected changes. When the ground shifts, pressure can cause the pipes to burst or to loosen from their connections, leading to leaks. Other causes of slab leaks can include improper installation or the use of poor materials.
Signs of a Slab Leak
Unfortunately, there usually aren’t any signs of a slab leak. You won’t see spots on the floor or water. All the damage will be where you can’t see it. You will have to be attuned to the other signs of a slab leak to catch it in the early stages so that the damage doesn’t spread as far.
One of the first things you will likely notice when you have a slab leak is an increased water bill. Your home is using more water because water is leaking under your foundation. Pay close attention to your average water spend each month to see if it’s on the rise for reasons unrelated to lifestyle changes or the season. Other signs of a potential slab leak include the sound of running water or a hissing sound. The most obvious sign is a cracked slab, but by then, you have a major problem on your hands.
Repairing a Slab Leak
There’s no getting around the fact that repairing a slab leak will be very expensive. You will have to cut through the slab to get to the plumbing below. After repairing the plumbing, you will then have to pay to repair the slab, and then you will have to replace whatever carpet or flooring had to be removed to get to the slab. You may also have additional expenses, depending on the extent of the damage.
Instead of merely fixing the plumbing leak, you may want to consider using this situation as an opportunity to re-pipe your home. You don’t want to have to tear through your slab again. Instead, you can re-pipe with stronger materials that are less prone to corrosion or other damage and that will last for a lifetime.
Slab leaks can devastate your home, but if you work closely with a good plumber, you can head them off or catch them in their earliest stages to minimize the damage. Regular plumbing inspections can help, as can keeping track of the life cycle of your plumbing. Look to re-pipe your home when your plumbing nears the end of its life but has not yet started failing.
Integrity Repipe can re-pipe your home to ensure that it has a strong and healthy plumbing system. Our expert plumbers can perform re-pipe repair on portions of your system, or they can re-pipe your entire home with a more suitable and longer-lasting piping material. The right piping will save your home from damage, will keep your water bills low, and will protect the quality of your water. Call us today to learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation.
Published by – Integrity Repipe Inc
Integrity Repipe Inc – Aliso Viejo, CA
27068 La Paz Rd #771
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656