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Slab Leak Repair and Detection 101

Warped wooden flooring

A Guide to Slab Leaks

When a leak is present underneath your home’s foundation, it’s referred to as a slab leak. This is because your home is built on top of a concrete slab and pipes run either through or under the slab.

A slab leak is different from typical pipe leaks because it can be harder to find, pinpoint, and resolve. This poses unique challenges that make slab leaks a greater risk to your home.

Here’s what you need to know about slab leaks and what you can do to mitigate damage to your home.

Signs of a Slab Leak

It’s crucial that you know the signs that a slab leak has occurred, so you can resolve the issue as soon as possible. Common signs of a slab leak include:

  • A spike in your water bill
  • The sound of running water
  • Cracks in your foundation
  • Puddles, warping, or damp areas on your floors
  • Bright patches of grass on your lawn
  • Discolored floors, walls, and ceilings

Just one of these symptoms may not seem like a big deal, but it may be the start of something serious. The quicker you can find a slab leak, the better chance you have of reducing the damage caused by the leak. If you discover any of the above symptoms, call a licensed plumber right away.

Causes of Slab Leaks

At its core, a slab leak is caused by a break in a pipe — it’s that simple. Why do pipes break? That’s where it gets more complicated.

Slab leaks are more common in homes where the slab or the pipes underneath were not installed correctly. If you’re by chance building a new home or buying a home, this is something to look out for.

Another factor is the material that the pipes are made of. Older homes were constructed using cast iron or galvanized steel pipes, which are strong but will corrode over time. Today, the most popular pipe options are copper and plastic, both of which are better suited to prevent corrosion.

No matter what pipes you have, corrosion and pressure can cause the pipes to break.

How to Fix a Slab Leak

To fix a slab leak, you’ll need the help of an experienced, licensed plumber. This is not something worthy of a DIY effort. But there are several techniques that plumbers can use to review and fix the problem.

The options generally range from extremely invasive to minimally invasive. The more invasive the method, the more time and money it will take to fix. A low-invasive method is a simple rerouting of pipes to bypass the broken area. This prevents the need to drill into the slab and provides plumbers with an above-ground workspace to reach the same solution. When this is the solution, the old lines are turned off so the leak is no longer a problem, and you have new pipes in action!

The more invasive techniques involve breaking into the slab to fix the pipes underneath. The plumber will usually fix the problem locally rather than replacing all the pipes as in the previous example. A similar but less intrusive solution would be to tunnel under the slab and work from the side if it would be accessible.

These repairs are an opportunity to upgrade existing pipes if they are old and outdated. Speak with your plumber to find out what would be the most efficient and cost-effective solution for you.

Uncompromised Service for All Slab Leak Issues

Slab leak repair is not a place to slack off. That’s why Lloyds Plumbing has the most experienced plumbers and the best service in the area to help protect your home. Call us today at (805) 495-8766 to learn more about how we can help.