How to Detect a Slab or Foundation Leak
Do you suspect a slab or foundation leak in your house and have no idea how to fix it? We’re here to help! Many people wrongly assume that detecting and repairing a slab leak is a difficult task. In fact, most homeowners can find and resolve foundation leaks without having vast plumbing experience. It’s all about knowing where to look and how to approach the problem.
Water can get under your house in many ways and cause huge damage. You might face an old and leaky plumbing system, clogged gutters, and tree roots beneath the construction. All of these issues sound horrifying but are solvable, as long as you know what you are doing. For that reason, we provided an ultimate guide to help you manage your plumbing system and keep your home safe. Stay with us, and you’ll learn how to detect a slab or foundation leak and resolve it in the best possible way.
What is a Slab Leak?
When we say a slab leak we refer to the leak developed in the water lines below the concrete foundation of your house. A slab is a barrier between the ground and your home, and it is usually made of concrete. Pipes located under the slab tend to deteriorate over time, which is completely normal. Finding the damage, however, can be quite challenging.
Hidden pipes can develop pinhole leaks impossible to spot under the foundation, especially when you don’t know where to look exactly. Undetected slab leaks can cause a lot of damage to the foundation and even make it collapse over time. To prevent this from happening, homeowners need to examine the plumbing system frequently and repair the damage on time.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
A slab leak can be caused by several different things, including:
- Poor Pipe Installation. If the pipes are installed incorrectly to start with, there’s a chance they will malfunction at some point. Homeowners are likely to have problems in the long run with an improperly installed pipe system.
- Foundation Shifts. The most common threats to the foundation are excessive moisture, expanding soil, and poor drainage. These factors can cause the shift of the foundation and damage to the pipes.
- Abrasion. When water flows throughout the pipes, it makes them expand and contract. Depending on the structure of the house, the pipes might not have enough room to breathe and can suffer from abrasion.
- Corrosion. Another threat to the pipes is corrosion that comes from the soil. This is a common cause of slab leaks, especially in houses with copper pipes.
Warning Signs You Have a Slab Leak
An early slab leak detection can save you from excessive damage and costly repairs. You don’t even have to call a professional to diagnose the issue. Although foundation leaks are not always obvious, some of them are easy to discover without any previous plumbing experience. To help you find them on your own, we listed some of the most common signs of slab leaks.
The first thing you should check is whether your appliances work properly. Even the minor leaks in the appliances can be behind water seeping through the slab foundation. Dripping faucets and pipe and toilet leaks can lead to loads of water under the construction of your house and cause excessive damage in the long run, threatening the entire structure of your home.
Water Spots and Puddles
Among the slab leak causes, small holes and cracks in the plumbing system are the most common. They appear over time due to regular wear and tear, and you shouldn’t have problems detecting them. Leaks from small holes are usually culprits behind damp carpets and floors. You might even notice small pools of water inside your house, which is a major red flag. Most of the time, however, small holes and cracks are followed by water spots on the floors and walls.
A water leak in a concrete slab floor is usually followed by mold. You might not be able to see it at first, but you’ll certainly recognize the smell. A musty, sour scent is always behind wet walls and carpets. If you notice it anywhere in the house, take no chances and inspect the entire plumbing system. When the water gathers on the floor or walls for too long, mold or mildew appears suddenly and expands quickly, causing a lot of damage and headaches.
Low Water Pressure
Most of the time, low water pressure comes from debris in the water, faulty valves, or mineral buildups. However, if you checked all these things already, you might be facing a slab leak. To be sure about it, run the water and mark the points that have low pressure. A slab might be located near these points, so you’ll want to inspect all the surrounding areas.
High Water Bills
When pipes are hidden in the floors, walls, or foundation, it’s difficult to pinpoint the leak. You might be facing the damage you can’t see with your bare eye. In this situation, it’s crucial to inspect and monitor the water usage. A high water bill will show you whether you use more water or you have a leak somewhere in the system.
Water Heater Issues
Do you know that water heaters are usually to be blamed for significant leaks? Old and overused appliances are known to malfunction and cause excessive damage to the plumbing system. To avoid this from happening, make sure to inspect your water heater regularly and replace it when necessary.
Other Signs of Damage
A regular home inspection can also help you find slab leaks. For example, hot spots on the floor are a common sign of water accumulation when the heat is transferred from the foundation to the floor. Cracks in the ceilings or walls can also indicate a slab leak caused by foundation shifts.
Once you finish up inspecting the inside, take a look at the outside of your house. Sometimes, slab leaks build up moisture in the yard, leaving standing water and mud all around.
Need Backup? Consult Professional Leak Detection Company
All of the warning signs we listed above should help you detect and repair leaks on your own. As long as you follow the red flags in your home, you can find the issue and resolve it accordingly. With the assistance of an extra pair of hands and some common DIY tools, you’ll be ready to tackle anything that comes into your way.
However, if you notice or suspect larger damage to the plumbing system, you might want to seek help. Knowing when to leave the work to professionals can be equally beneficial. A leak detection company can save you quite some money, time, and frustration you would otherwise invest in the plumbing system without a guarantee for success. Above all, professionals can restore your home in a breeze and make sure you don’t experience any similar issues anytime soon.
Need support in the greater Phoenix area? Contact us today and find out how to detect a slab or foundation leak and resolve it in the most efficient way. Leak Science is here to answer all of your questions and provide much-needed support in time of a leak crisis.