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Plumbing Problems 101: 4 Signs You Need aSlab Leak Repair

May 22, 2020 at 4:00 AM
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No one likes to deal with plumbing issues, especially ones that require calling a professional. Slab leak repair is one of those times when reaching out to a plumber is necessary.

Living in Southern California comes with many benefits, but it also increases your chances of experiencing a slab leak. Slab foundations on homes here are fairly common, with 55 percent of homes built on slabs without crawl spaces, according to the National Association of Home Builders. These types of homes are more susceptible to foundation damage during earthquakes, putting them at higher risk for slab leaks.

What Is a Slab Leak?

Slab leak is a term commonly used in the plumbing industry to refer to a leak in the water lines located below the concrete foundation in a home. The same kind of leak, when it occurs above ground, is called a pinhole leak.

There are two possible locations for a slab leak – on the pressure side or drainage side – in your foundation. Leaks that happen on the pressure side of the foundation are usually discovered quickly. They have the potential to cause a lot of damage if not found and resolved as soon as possible. Leaks that occur on the drainage side are harder to spot. They can leak a long time before discovered.

Undetected slab leaks have the potential to collapse a foundation. It is a good idea to have your plumbing checked regularly for this reason.

What Causes a Slab Leak?

There are many reasons a slab leak occurs. For California residents, a contributing factor to water pipe damage below the foundation is earthquakes. Only 12 earthquakes with magnitudes of 7.0 or higher have happened in California since 1857. However, the potential for slab damage can occur with mild earthquakes, which are far more common.

Other causes for slab leaks:

  • A shifting foundation can contribute to the development of slab leaks. Shifting homes create pressure on your pipes. Too much pressure over time can cause leaks.
  • Corrosion is another reason for slab leaks. Constant contact with soil, especially for copper pipes, is a recipe for corrosion.
  • Poor installation of piping when a home is built can lead to slab leaks, as can any pre-existing damage to the materials at the time of installation.

What Are the Signs of a Slab Leak?

One of the biggest factors in the amount of damage potentially caused by slab leaks is the fact they can go undetected for long periods. Unlike a burst pipe in your kitchen or bathroom that you easily can see, slab leaks can be a lot sneakier in their presentation.

There are red flags that signal trouble may be brewing.

1. Water bill increases

If your water consumption is consistent, yet you notice spikes in your water bill, it could be an early sign of a slab leak.

2. Warm spots on the floor

When hot water lines are the ones leaking, they can cause warm spots on the floor.

3. “Domed” floor damage

Leaks that are severe and persistent can damage the flooring in your home by causing a dome-like appearance in spots.

4. Baseboard and wall cracks

Cracks in the walls and baseboards can be a sign that something is putting undue stress on your home’s foundation. Slab leaks are one of the reasons this can occur.

Call in the Professionals

Suspect you have a slab leak? Give the professionals at American Plumbing Service a call for your slab leak repair needs. Our expert plumbers will evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action for repairing the leak and any additional damage.

Book an appointment online or give us a call at 951-750-0086 to schedule today.