Has your water bill been unusually high lately? You could have a slab leak. Many of the most common leaks occur in those easy-to-reach areas, such as under your kitchen sink or in the toilet. These leaks are harder to detect and can go unnoticed. The good news is that they can be located and fixed, especially when found early. Let’s have a look at what slab leaks are, how they’re caused, and what you can do to get yours fixed.
A slab leak is a leak that begins in your water pipes beneath your home’s concrete foundation. Therefore, they’re difficult to locate and fix. Your concrete slab is usually the floor and forms the foundation of your home. In most homes, water pipes are located beneath this slab and in some cases, they are embedded in the concrete.
Many factors can disrupt a water pipe, causing a troublesome leak. Although these leaks are often slow, over time they will begin to damage your foundation. A slab leak may also begin to erode your underlying soil. This is problematic as it may cause your foundation to shift or sink over time. Worse still, this can cause your home’s walls and floors to crack. In the worst-case scenario, a part of your home may collapse.
There are several causes behind a slab leak. Let’s have a look at the most important ones.
Chances are that you didn’t build your home from scratch using a trusted plumbing contractor. This means that there is often no way of knowing about the quality of the workmanship involved. If the original installer cut corners, some of your pipes could have been dented or nicked. Over time, a dent can cause a small pinhole leak.
Hot water pipes are at a higher risk of corroding. This is because they carry hot water, which causes them to expand and contract. This movement causes your pipe to rub against soil and underlying rock structures. And as you may have guessed, this causes corrosion. External forces such as earthquakes or excess water infiltration can also unsettle your pipes.
Not all water is the same. Harder water or water with a higher mineral content can corrode your pipes at a faster rate. Water’s pH scales range from 0-14. A healthy pH is between 6.5 and 8.5. But if it’s lower or higher than this, you may be in for more pipe maintenance.
Testing your water is as easy as buying a water pH test strip from your local Home Depot. But remember, it’s best to get a professional plumbing contractor to assess your water quality thoroughly. They will also be able to give you recommendations going forward.
Useful Fact: Did you know that the State of Florida has invested $1.8 billion to improve the water quality in the Everglades National Park? This has helped to curb the phosphorus levels, bringing the park’s water quality to a very high level. This is good news for our Fauna and Flora in South Florida. And good news for those of us who visit!
Here are some helpful tips to help you identify a slab leak.
Notice any abnormally warm areas on your floor? This could be a sign of a hot water leak in your slab. Warm spots are easier to detect on carpeted floors or other thin floors. Tiled floors may not present warm spots as frequently.
Severe leaks may warp the shape of your floor in an area. These often present as a ‘dome’ or a raised area on the floor. Domes are a helpful way of locating a slab leak. Remember that a dome can also be a warning sign of underlying damage. If you notice a dome, it’s time to call the water leak detection experts!
One of the causes of a wall or floor crack can be a slab leak. This is caused by heavy foundation movement caused by the leak. Any foundational shifts will cause your home structures to take the strain and crack.
As we mentioned at the start of the article, it’s best to scrutinize any increased water consumption. Haven’t had guests to stay over lately? Didn’t recently fill the swimming pool? An increased water bill could point towards a leak.
A slab leak can be an overwhelming issue to deal with as a homeowner. At Art Plumbing, AC & Electric, we specialize in slab leak detection and repair. Our professional plumbing team can fix any plumbing leak you may have.