One of the most frustrating things that can happen to your plumbing is a slab leak. As you may know, a slab leak is when a pipe breaks underneath concrete slabs inside or outside your home. This is a very dangerous type of leak that could lead to costly repairs if not dealt with immediately. The leak can damage household appliances and even the environment if not properly addressed. Also keep in mind that if a slab leak seeps deep into the ground, then it has the potential to weaken the foundation of the house. When this happens, you’ll need the services of the best plumbing experts in Ventura County and the Greater Los Angeles area with the experience and skills to fix your slab leak in no time.
How to Detect a Slab Leak
Since a slab leak is usually underground, it may not be immediately evident that you have one. However, there are several simple ways to check for a slab leak:
Unusually High Water Bills
If you notice that your water bills are higher than usual, it may be an early indication that your underground pipes are leaking. A huge spike in your monthly bill that is totally out of the norm without having increased water usage may mean that you may have leaky plumbing that needs to be checked out.
Leaky Faucets + Faulty Appliances
High water bills may just be caused by leaky faucets and common household appliances–the most common culprits being the toilets. Faucets are easy to check since you can just look for pools of water below the faucets. For toilets, drop food coloring in the tank and then wait a few minutes. If the colored water stays in the toilet bowl, then you just might have a toilet leak.
Warped Wooden Floors + Damp Carpets
When a slab leak is underneath your house or property, water will accumulate underneath the concrete, and since it cannot leak, it will eventually rise up, reach your wooden floors, and cause them to warp. Damp carpets or any floor areas that are darker than others could also be a telltale sign that you have a slab leak.
Mildew or Mold
Mold and mildew are another sure sign that you have leaky plumbing underneath your floors. However, this may not be as apparent as damp and dark spots on your carpet and flooring. If the leak is under the walls, you will see mold or mildew growing on the walls as the dampness spreads on wooden or concrete surfaces. Mold and mildew are easier to notice since they emit a musty smell just after a few days.
Reduced Water Pressure
Bathtubs, sinks, and showers depend on water pressure to provide powerful jets of water. If you notice less water pressure quite suddenly, you may have a leaky pipe draining away the water before it reaches the fixture. Evaluate your overall water pressure by turning off all other water-based appliances and testing the stream from each fixture at a time.
Constantly Running Water Heater
If hot water heater is running almost all of the time, then you may just have a hot water leak. If hot water is leaking into the ground, the water heater is constantly running. If you cannot find any evidence of a slab leak near the water heater, check to see if it is broken, which could be indicated by muddy water or huge cracks on the tank.
Hotter Areas On Your Floors
If you have a slab leak springing from your water heater, you will find that some area of your floor will be hotter or warmer than others. This is not so easy to detect with carpeted rooms but linoleum, hardwood, and tile flooring will feel warmer wherever there is a hot water leak. Pets, especially cats, love to sleep in warm spots. If you find the cat prefers a given spot on the floor, check to see if it is warmer than its surrounding areas.
Slab leaks often cause foundations to crack. When piping breaks or cracks, water accumulates and rises to the surface where it saturates and cracks foundations and slabs. You’ll usually detect these type of leaks in the following ways:
- 1. Windows or doors have separated from the house or will not close properly
- 2. Cracks in moldings, tiles, floors, or bricks
- 3. Warped or uneven floors
- 4. Separated, bowed, or rotated walls
When You Can’t Do It Yourself
Since slab leaks are often under the concrete, they may not be immediately visible unless you have specialized tools. This means you could have a leak go undetected for years. A good example of an undetected slab leak will include fixtures such as sinks, bathtubs, showers, and toilets whose pipes are often underground, under floors, or behind walls. These leaks could result in massive damage before they are even noticed. To detect such leaks, you’ll need professional plumbers with the experience and appropriate leak detection equipment.
At Lloyd’s Plumbing we have the specialized tools and trained personnel that can locate and fix any type of slab leak in your house or on your property. We have accurate, cutting-edge equipment that makes it easy for our team to find the leak and repair it as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Our modern leak detection hardware includes electromagnetic pipeline locators and electronic amplification equipment. These lead our professional plumbers to the source of your slab leak with the least amount of disruption to your property.
How To Test For A Slab Leak
If you have seen the signs of a leak but are still unsure about calling in a professional, you can test for leaks by following the steps below:
- 1. Turn off all fixtures, faucets, and water appliances on the property and in the house. Check that appliance such as dishwashers and washing machines are also turned off, since they may get damaged if you cut off the water. The water meter might give a false reading if they are on.
- 2. Find the main water valve which is typically found on a pipe beside the house near the water meter in warmer climates. For persons living in colder climates, the valve may be inside the house in places such as the garage or the basement.
- 3. Once you have found the valve, turn it clockwise to shut off the water coming in from the mains. If you find two valves, turn off the one nearest the house and leave the other one as it is. Test that you have shut off the water by turning on a fixture far away from the water valve.
- 4. Now find your water meter, which will typically be located near the boundary of the property on near the driveway. Most will be covered with a metal or plastic covering labeled Water Meter which makes it very easy to locate. If you cannot locate the meter, you can always call your local provider and ask them about its location.
- 5. Once you have found the meter, remove the cover using either a screwdriver, crowbar, pliers or if it’s not tight, just lift up the cap to check it. Others are usually screwed on tight, and you may need to have a pentagon wrench to pry them open.
- 6. Depending on the type of water meter on your property, you may either have to check for a triangle or read numbers to determine if you have a leak. Some have a clock-like hand that moves dramatically, while others have a small sailing wheel, small triangle, or odometer with numbers showing usage. If all of your fixtures and appliances are off but the odometer, triangle, or sail is still moving, you could have a slab leak.
Slab Leak Repairs At Lloyd’s Plumbing
Slab leaks can result in expensive repairs if they are not taken care of quickly and efficiently. They can damage your cabinetry, carpets, tiles, hardwood floors and even your house’s foundation.
There are several routes we can take to repair a slab leak for you depending on the amount of damage done, the property’s type of plumbing, and your personal preferences.
Cost-Effective Option: This will involve redirecting or rerouting the water supply pipe away from the leak area.
Cutting Through The Foundation: This works very well if you have a modern home since we will cut open the foundation to fix your pipes for a long-term plumbing solution.
Re-piping: Older homes will often need the entire line to be pulled out and repiped, especially if slab leaks have become a frequent problem.
Pipe Coating: If we determine that it may be too expensive or too difficult to repair your plumbing by cutting through the foundation, we can stop the leak by coating the pipes with epoxy.
Contact Lloyds Plumbing today!
If you have a problem with slab leaks. We have qualified and experienced plumbers available around the clock to help you with any leaks or plumbing issues. Our plumbers have non-invasive, specialized equipment that can be used to make fast and efficient diagnoses without disrupting your home. Some modern devices our technicians utilize include electromagnetic pipeline locators, camera inspections, electronic amplification equipment, and pressure gauges. These can locate leaks anywhere underneath your gardens, slabs, or foundations. Technicians at Lloyd’s Plumbing are available 24/7 to be dispatched to your premises in order to detect and help you deal with slab leaks before they become a bigger problem. Talk with one of our plumbing experts directly by calling 818-707-7501!