The Dangers of Slab Leaks
A slab leak is a pipe leak that occurs deep in the foundation of the home. They can cause serious damage and can turn expensive if left unchecked. The good news is, in the majority of cases a slab leak happens under specific circumstances and has specific signs, even in its early stages. Being aware of both of these factors, as well as when to call a plumber and how they can help, is one of the most important parts of homeownership.
Why Do Slab Leaks Happen?
All homeowners should know the reasons a slab leak can happen in the home.
- Outside Pressure on Pipes - When the foundation shifts, it puts more pressure on the pipes. These shifts are usually due to bigger issues and result in some of the most damaging slab leaks because of their scale.
- Pipe Abrasion - All pipes are susceptible to abrasion during their life as they rub against the materials they are located near. Over time, this abrasion leads to leaks, especially with hot water pipes (as they expand more frequently).
- “Bad” Water Quality - Water that is either too hard (acidic) or too soft (alkaline) can also increase the risk of a slab leak. Water that is out of balance speeds up pipe corrosion. The pH of water should be between 6.5 and 8.5.
- Improperly Installed Pipes - Last but not least, pipes that were installed “wrong” or using incorrect materials are the most likely culprit of a slab leak. Any dent or bent pipes are more likely to leak or burst. Copper pipes are the most susceptible.
Know the Signs of a Slab Leak
After learning why a slab leak happens, the next step is awareness of the common indications.
- Damp spots that randomly appear on the floor.
- Unexplained areas of heat on the floor.
- A decrease in water pressure in the sink and shower.
- An unplanned increase in the water bill.
- Mold under the carpet.
- The unexplained sound of rushing water.
While many of these signs can have reasons other than a slab leak, they are concerning enough to warrant a call to a plumber to help find the cause.
How Slab Leak Detection Works
They do this using specialized equipment designed to find leaks. Often, plumbers will make use of a tool from the electronic amplification equipment category. Essentially, these high tech listening devices help locate a potential slab leak by finding the source of the sound of water.
There are also other tools like electromagnetic pipeline locators (to “map out” non-metallic pipes), gas tracers (to pinpoint deep slab leaks), and video inspection equipment.
Plumbers will make use of all of their tools and personal experience to quickly find a potential slab leak before it ruptures and causes a real flooding emergency in the home.
About Marc Francis Plumbing
Marc Francis Plumbing provides quality plumbing services in Johnson City, Tennessee. They have been providing both residential and commercial plumbing, drain, and sewer services for more than 25 years. The company is licensed, bonded, and insured for your peace of mind.