A slab leak in your home can do a lot more than just crack your foundation – it can crack your sanity too. Why, when, and how pipes break under a slab foundation are serious business. Read on to find out how to preventatively protect yourself from slab leaks or address possible existing leaks before they wash you – and your finances – down the drain.
Do You Have a Slab Leak?
Without asking a dedicated plumber, it isn’t truly a guarantee to be able to diagnose your own slab leak, but let’s start with the basics:
- Obviously, damp spots on the floor but pay close attention to the temperature: a hot water line leaking will create warm areas
- You may hear water but not see it – put your ear to the ground and if it is coming from underneath the floor, you may have a slab leak
- Check your bill. Not just against the past few months (as water usage may vary depending on other factors such as outside temperature), but last year. If you think you have a slab leak in April 2017, grab your bill from April 2016. Is this bill significantly higher? You may have a slab leak.
Let’s Go to the Video
A word of caution here. Not everything you see online is honest, fair, and unsponsored.
But there are plenty of slab leak videos available to check out, both from plumbers and homeowners who have DIY’ed or recorded their professionals at work.
It is not pretty but can give you more visual detail on whether your leak is a slab leak or something else.
The Big Slab Grab
This paper from Missouri S&T University explains the idea of a slab leak in non-plumber-expertise terms: A slab leak happens because soils expand from rainfall, for example, and when they expand, they go up and out.
We’re going to guess that “breathable” is not something you associate with concrete and other permanent flooring materials.
This expansion, or swelling, causes your existing floor slab to eventually crack because, well, it’s not stretchy, or you’d bounce or sink into it as you walked.
Where Slab Leaks Come From
Many leaks do come from inside the house, or a mixture of inside and outside issues:
- Obviously, rain and groundwater are going to be one of the most major culprits. Think one inch of rain is nothing to open an umbrella for? Well, in a one-inch rain, 1,250 gallons of water pour down. Got your floaties on? Because Dallas-Fort Worth has already received 7.78 inches of rain in the first three months of 2017 alone.
- Don’t get fried, but some moisture can come from unlikely sources such as cooking, clothes dryers, and of course, showering.
It May Not Be Covered
Think your homeowner’s insurance will take care of your slab leak and foundation problems?
Adjusters who come out to your property are going to look for ways to accuse you, the homeowner, as the culprit for the leak, usually attributing it to negligence.
Don’t think about trying to ride it out and hope for the best. This is the perfect reason why finding the idea experienced licensed plumber is something you should do before you spring a leak.
Strengthen Your Weak Leak Link
Whether you think you’ve got a leak, your socks are already wet past your ankles, or you would like a second opinion on existing work or quote, contact an industry professional. Do not wait for a slab link to drown you.
Here are some things you should look for when researching a plumber:
- High tech! That’s right. In this day and age, your plumber should be taking advantage of the most techie electronics possible – they are NOT just for social media. Ask what’s in your plumber’s portfolio and walk away if they don’t reply with tech-savvy equipment, updated video cameras, and more.
- Experience. Get a plumber who has longevity in the field, and in slab work in particular. Ask how many years of leak detection experience he has.
- Your conversation should be free. Never pay for an estimate. Licensed Fort Worth plumbers should give you a free estimate, with no pressure, no request for money down, and no stress.
Slab Leak Fix Options
Don’t try this at home. Really.
Plumbers are experts at what they do, and for leak detection and slab leak repairs, you want to go with someone who knows the business.
There are three basic options to repair a diagnosed slab leak:
- Depending on how badly the pipe is damaged, a fix may be possible to just that section of the pipe. For this, leaks must be minor and the pipe itself should be in top (aka: not super old, rusty) condition.
- A change in pipe location may be required, even rerouting it above ground. The pipe will first be shut off, then moved. This happens when a pipe is too old to be patched.
- The last option is a complete plumbing overhaul. Yes, this means a longer, potentially higher-priced commitment, but you’ll be warding off future leaks and other troubles ahead of the game. It’s a return on investment to consider, especially when your home is older or the pipes have not been switched out in a long, long time.
In fact, plumbers can let you know of a prospective serious problematic situation you may not even be aware of: your pipes being made of polybutylene.
If you have polybutylene pipes in your home, a slab leak can compound the existing problems from these old, outdated, dangerous materials.
Let It Flow
Now for the audience participation part of this program. We’d like to hear if you’ve personally diagnosed a slab leak and what you did.
We’d love to hear if you’ve worked with an experienced plumber in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and what you think.
Feel free to request service by filling out this form, or leave your details below. You can also opt for a second opinion on a leak that someone else has already given you an estimate for! The 2016 rainfall averaged 6.25 inches in May, 3.60 inches in June, and3.89 inches in July, so let’s work together to keep Dallas dry!
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