Most homeowners have never heard of the term slab leak, let alone where to begin if they have one. Slab leaks can be really dangerous if left untreated – but how is one supposed to know they have one?
Fortunately, our team at Natchez Heating & Cooling knows all the warning signs to look for. Continue reading to learn more about slab leaks and how to detect one in or around your home!
What is a Slab Leak?
A slab leak is when the concrete slabs that homes are built on begin to crack and break. This is most commonly caused by shifting or eroding soil as moisture and water begin to move the foundation of your home.
On other occasions, slab leaks can be the result of faulty plumbing or pipe leaks. The water trapped underneath begins to weather away the soil, which removes the support your slab has. This results in small cracks that begin to grow, and allow the water to seep into your home.
How To Find A Slab Leak
There are a few ways to find a slab leak. For the most part, it takes time for the leaks to grow and begin causing serious damage. In this case, it may take you a while to even notice you have a leak. Below are a few signs of slab leaks:
- Increased water bills, and no increased water usage
- Cracks in the foundation
- Discolored flooring
- Bad odors coming from the walls or flooring
- Soil around the home is uneven and eroding
- Damp/wet spots on floors
- Uneven lawn growth
If you notice any of these signs, it would be best to contact a professional plumber as soon as possible for an inspection. With the right equipment such as sonic or electromagnetic tools, a plumber can locate where the leaks are occurring and how to fix them.
Ways To Fix Slab Leaks
If your home is in need of slab repair, it is best to know what options you have. The condition of your home and the materials that make up the plumbing (i.e. type of piping installed) will determine which method is best.
One of the least destructive options, re-piping/rerouting is a great option if the area of faulty pipes is small. In this situation, it is easier and faster to just install new plumbing lines. A professionally licensed plumber will figure out where the new piping will go through.
As mentioned, this option is great if you don’t want to, or cannot, destroy your slab. Additionally, while the new pipes are being installed, your water doesn’t have to be shut off!
Destroying the Slab
If you need to get directly to the leak itself, breaking the slab open might be the best. However, this is one of the most expensive and messy ways. Breaking the slab requires it to be drilled and cut into, and you might have to find temporary housing elsewhere. Slab cutting requires noisy machinery, dust and debris floating around in the air, and your water must be turned off.
That being said, not every home or building has the same type of slab. Depending on the area you live in, your’s might differ from someone else’s. Consult with a professional plumber about your options for slab repair.
Tunneling Under the Slab
This option is more beneficial to homeowners, as it allows you to stay in your home and keep all the mess and repairs outside.
A plumber will dig a tunnel with tools to allow a big enough working space to access the pipes underneath or around your home. Inside, plumbers can work on repairing or replacing any faulty or eroded pipes. After, they replace all the removed dirt by dampening the soil and firmly packing it back in place.
Pipe Lining/Pipe Bursting
Lastly, this method is very popular as it is trenchless and requires minimal digging to fix the area of piping. With pipe lining, an epoxy coating is lined inside any broken piping that hardens to form a new pipe. Though it is relatively quick, drying within hours, pipe lining could possibly become faulty if the coating does not adhere properly or evenly applies to the piping. If the lining becomes uneven, it can results in the pipe further eroding and leaking more.
With pipe bursting, a new pipe with a special head is fed into the old pipe. This new pipe is slightly bigger, and pushes out the old piping and replaces it with the new. Pipe bursting is popular as well since it is minimal and doesn’t require invasive damage to your home.
Know What To Do When You Have A Slab Leak
If you have spotted any of the previously mentioned signs, and suspect you have a slab leak, call a professional plumber immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage could occur to your home and increase costs, as well as troubles of lengthy, noisy repairs.
For all slab leak repairs and plumbing assistance, Natchez Heating & Cooling has you covered!