Unlike many of the plumbing issues in your home that can be prevented, a slab leak is not something that a homeowner can really prevent or even predict. But fortunately, these types of leaks are not very common in most areas of the country. But when a slab leak does occur, it is a grave matter that requires the fast attention of a leak detection specialist. The best thing that homeowners can do to minimize the damage caused by a slab leak is to be aware of the signs that there is a leak under their foundation.
What Exactly Is A Slab Leak?
Any home that is built on a concrete slab foundation holds the potential to develop a slab leak. They occur when one of the water lines that is running under the concrete slab is damaged or broken and begins to leak. In most cases, the homeowner is unaware of the leak or does not recognize the signs of these particular leaks. The longer the leak goes undetected and repaired, the more water flows into the ground under the home’s foundation. Over time, enough soil can be washed away to cause the foundation to crack, shift, or settle. In the most extreme cases, some or all of the house can collapse due to structural damage to the foundation.
How Common Are Slab Leaks?
The potential for slab leaks depends significantly on the region of the country and the type of soil in the area. States with more seismic activity are far more prone to slab leaks than areas with no earthquakes or soils shifting. It is also important to note that older homes tend to have more slab leaks as their copper pipes begin to corrode and deteriorate.
Signs Of A Slab Leak
One of the first indications to grab most homeowner’s attention is an unusually high water bill. After a quick look at the common culprits such as a leaking toilet, faucet, or shower, attention will then turn to the hidden pipes under the foundation. In many cases, it is not possible to visually detect a slab leak from outside the home. A leak detection specialist is called in to determine if there is a leak concealed under the concrete slab.
In the case of a slab leak in a hot water pipe, you could notice an unusually warm area on your floor. Carpeted floors and those with thin linoleum are the easiest to detect the temperature difference and the moisture. Tile floors often conceal a slab leak a bit longer, but eventually, it will become noticeable.
If a leak is undetected for an extended time, it is not uncommon to notice a slight dome shape in the flooring as it begins to warp. The good news is that the convex shape of the flooring helps locate the leak. The bad news is that there is likely to be extensive damage to the foundation and flooring by the time that the raised area is noticeable.
Leaks that remain hidden for a very long time can cause your foundation to swell and lift or tilt your home to a small degree. This process is known as foundation heaving and is a severe matter. Not only will this require the service of an expert plumber to repair the leak, but you will also need to consult with a foundation specialist or your home builder to determine if the shift has caused any other significant damage. The most common issues after a foundation heave are cracks to the foundation and the interior and exterior walls of the home. Only a building professional will be able to evaluate the damage and provide you with a plan for repairing the damage to your home and the soil that is supporting it.
If you think that you might have a leak hidden under the slab foundation of your home, it is critical that you contact the professionals at Gordon AC & Plumbing to schedule emergency leak detection. The sooner the leak is located and repaired, the sooner you can evaluate your home to know that it is safe for you and your loved ones. Call (318) 202-9144 at the first sign of a slab leak at your home.