Warning Signs You May Have a Slab Leak
A slab leak can wreak havoc on your homes foundation and structural integrity. With a large majority of homes in Dallas Fort-Worth built on a slab of concrete over clay soil, it is not uncommon for homeowners to run into slab leak problems. These slab leaks can happen on hot or cold water lines and even any drain line from any home appliance that uses water. Because a slab leak can happen at any time and cause costly damage, it’s important for homeowners to be educated on the potential causes of slab leaks and how to identify one.
Common signs you may have a slab leak
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What Causes a Slab Leak?
A slab leak is a break in a water carrying pipe that runs beneath the concrete foundation (slab) of your home. When one of these pipes break, water seeps into the ground and your home’s foundation. Slab leaks can be caused by either the water lines (pressure side) or sewer lines (drainage side) running under your foundation. Slab leak’s caused by the pressure side are more common in newer homes, while drainage side leaks are more common in older homes. Here are some of the most common reasons these pipes can become damaged and begin leaking.
Improper Installation and Unseen Damage – This is the most common cause in newer construction. Sometimes pipes can become damaged during the home building process and not be caught. A small amount of damage to a pipe could become a larger issue once under pressure as time goes on. The same holds true with improper installation, a small leak could go unnoticed for years but will eventually give way to much larger issues.
Ground/Foundation Shifts – In Texas our homes are usually built atop a concrete slab over clay soil. The clay soil expands and contracts seasonally with the natural fluctuations in moisture and temperature. Over time our foundations and the pipes built into them settle and age, this increases the pressure placed on them and the odds that one of these pipes could eventually start leaking.
Abrasion and Corrosion – Older homes are more likely to encounter corrosion issues because they have copper or galvanized steel pipes in their foundations. Chemicals in the water can cause corrosion, as can contact with wires that create electrolysis in the pipe. Copper is corrosion-resistant, not corrosion proof. Pipes naturally expand and contract as water flows throughout them, but doing so can cause trouble depending on how your home was built. If the pipes are in a place where they are exposed to concrete, gravel, even other pipes, they could start to rub against them (until they eventually wear down) if they don’t have enough room to expand.
Electrolysis or Galvanic Corrosion – Electrolysis may occur when a direct current electrical leak takes place underground, this type of leak is prone to attacking copper pipe. Electrolysis can also occur when two dissimilar metals come in contact with each other. Galvanic corrosion is caused by self-induced current created by electrical potential of two dissimilar metals in contact with an electrolyte. It can occur when two dissimilar metals (such as copper tube and steel pipe) are connected in the presence of an electrolyte.
What Happens if a Slab Leak Goes Undetected
Since slab leaks are not clearly visible to a homeowner, they can often go undetected for long periods of time. People often think of plumbing leaks as big, catastrophic pipe ruptures spraying water everywhere. While these large leaks do happen, the far more common leaks are the ones that don’t draw attention to themselves. These are the slow leaks, the ones that only release water one drop at a time or spray an ultra fine stream, far too little for you to notice a change in your water pressure. However, that slow drip can cause quite a bit of damage if left alone for long enough. A tiny pinhole leak can and most certainly will grow larger over time leading to further damage. Pinhole leaks are extremely small and even with close inspection they can be difficult to detect.
As such, it is very important to have regular inspections conducted in order to find and seal any pinhole leaks before they can cause serious damage to the surrounding areas. Leaving a potential slab leak unattended can lead to much larger, costly problems, such as a collapse in your foundation, expensive water bills, termite infestation, or mold damage which can be hazardous to your family’s health. With that said, if you are seeing any signs that you may have a slab leak you should act quickly.
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How to Detect and Repair a Slab Leak
If the slab leak is on the pressure side of the water system, it can typically be found without creating a lot of destruction. While these leaks are usually found quickly, they can cause significant damage. Leaks on the drainage side can be considerably more concealed, making them trickier to spot. They can leak for years without showing any external indication. Regardless of the type of slab leak you have, it takes skilled plumbers with the right type of detection equipment to pinpoint where the leak is so it can be repaired or the pipe replaced with the least amount of damage possible. Our plumbers use specialized equipment such as listening/sound amplifying equipment, line tracing/transmitting devices, thermal imagers, and sewer cameras to identify where slab leaks are located. Once the leak(s) have been identified then we will be able to provide one or multiple repair plans.
Fixing a slab leak can be done in several ways; if on the pressure side, it can be spot repaired in the concrete or rerouted up the walls and overhead through the attic. If it is on the sewer side, it can be spot repaired, tunneled from outside in, rerouted around the home or a combination of all 3 repairs.
Taking Action: Professional Slab Leak Repair and Detection
If you suspect you have a slab leak in your Dallas Fort-Worth home call Xtreme Air Services at (972) 288-2263 for professional slab leak repair & detection. Slab leaks cause costly damage, so early detection is important. Our expert, licensed plumbers are fully trained and equipped to locate slab leaks so they can be fixed quickly and efficiently.