The signs of a water leak are often fairly obvious. But when it comes to a slab leak, this may not be the case. Slab leaks are among the hardest plumbing issues to identify. The leak, and its cause, is beneath the concrete slab of your home—an area that’s rarely seen or accessible.
A slab leak may be caused by pipe corrosion, damage during construction or installation work, or shifts in soil or other ground materials. Pipe abrasion can occur due to contact with rough surfaces such as rock.
Whatever the cause, these are some of the direct signs of a slab leak:
- Hot spots: About 80% of slab leaks involve the hot water line. Contact with hot water heats the concrete above. Warmth is more easily detected on tile, hardwood, and linoleum flooring materials and may not be as evident through carpeting.
- Wet floors: The water may not collect in puddles, but if it has nowhere to go but up, it may cause dampness that can damage flooring materials. Floorboards can warp while structural components can be heavily damaged, requiring expensive repairs and replacements.
- Signs of foundation damage: Foundation shifting or settling may be due to soil erosion caused by water. Cracks in walls or the baseboard may occur as well. Foundation swelling due to a leak can even lift the building a small amount, which is known as heaving. A severe leak can warp the floor, forming a dome above its location.
- Leaks in sprinkler or irrigation lines: A leak in one of these can indicate a slab leak if the line runs near the concrete slab; if there’s a broken pipe, further foundation damage is highly possibile.
Many signs of a foundation slab leak that are similar to other plumbing leaks. Thus, here are some additional reasons to suspect a problem:
- Running water noise: Hearing the sound of running water when all is quiet is troublesome, especially when nobody at home is using water. It’s a clear sign water may be flowing freely out of a crack in a pipe below the foundation. When listening for running water, turn off all fixtures and go to the basement or lowest level of the structure.
- Reduced water pressure: Any plumbing leak can have an impact on water pressure. If a faucet isn’t running as strong or the showerhead is weak, it’s probably because less water is getting to the fixtures. When water pressure drops in multiple locations, the main water line under the foundation may be damaged.
- Higher water prices: A sudden increase in your monthly utility bill can be due to a slab leak. In this case, water is running continuously and the meter can’t tell the difference between what you’re using and what is being lost.
- Musty odors: Whether water is leaking from below the floor or behind a wall, it will create a moist environment that allows mold and mildew to grow. The mold might not be visible, but it emits a distinct smell that travels easily.
Contact Detour Plumbing to Fix Your Foundation Slab Leak
Fixing a slab leak is rarely a DIY job. Our professional plumbing contractors have the experience, technology, and techniques to find the leak using non-destructive methods. In many cases, non-intrusive methods can be used to fix the problem, such as epoxy re-liners and pipe rerouting techniques. Conveniently located in Santa Clarita, Detour Plumbing serves customers throughout Southern California. You can contact us if you suspect a slab leak in your home.