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Home » Blog » Slab Leaks: Common Causes & How to Repair Them

Slab Leaks: Common Causes & How to Repair Them

Numerous water and sewage system pipes are beneath the home that you are probably not aware of. These pipes connect to the main water supply lines and sewage system of your city. The pipes in the foundation of your residential or commercial property are designed to supply water to your faucets without issue; however, as your house ages, these pipes can begin to corrode and split. When a pipe in your slab foundation is damaged, slab leak detection can be extremely tricky and complex.

What Is A Slab Leak?

A slab leak is a leak that has developed in the copper water lines that run beneath your home’s concrete foundation. These identical leaks are known as pinhole leaks when they occur above ground, in a wall or ceiling. Such leaks are frequently caused by long-term corrosion of copper pipes.

Slab leaks can occur on either the pressure or drainage side of your foundation. If the slab leak is on the pressure side of the water system, you can usually discover it before causing extensive damage. While you normally locate these leaks promptly, they can cause extensive harm. Leaks on the drainage side might be much more veiled, making them more complex to detect. They can leak for a long time with no visible evidence.

If not addressed, slab leaks can cause damage to hardwood floors, carpet, drywall, and cabinets over time. Moisture left alone for more than 24 hours can possibly cause mold and fungus problems. To prevent this from happening, the plumbing must be inspected on a regular basis by an expert who understands how to diagnose and provide slab leak repair services.

Primary Causes Of Slab Leaks

1. Earthquake:

Earthquake shaking in the ground can have disastrous consequences for the pipes in the concrete slab beneath your home. Although slab leaks are no longer possible when the pipes beneath the ground deteriorate, earthquake vibrations cause joints to become loose between pipes. Furthermore, ground movement can cause cracks and holes to grow in pipelines.

If you hear noises in your home that seem like running water, you may have a slab leak. A warm area on the floor in your home, on the other hand, indicates a leak in a hot water conduit. If you have a leak in your slab foundation, you may see mold and mildew on your floors, walls, or ceiling.

2. Highly Acidic Water:

The hard water in your city or suburb can be quite acidic, depending on where you live. The pH of hard water typically ranges from 1 to 4 pH. If the water in your location is too acidic, the pipes beneath your slab construction will corrode and collapse over time. To address this issue, many households choose to purchase a water softener, which removes minerals such as magnesium and calcium from the water.

Although acquiring a water conditioner can extend the life of your pipes, it can also harm the pipes in your foundation. The normal pH level of soft water is between 9 and 14 pH. If the water in your neighborhood is highly alkaline, the pipes beneath your slab building will progressively deteriorate and leak. Look for green or blue discolorations in your kitchen or bathroom sink, shower, or toilet to determine if you have acidic water. If yes, consult with slab leak specialists to know the accurate solution.

3. Copper Pipe Deterioration:

As older homes were built with copper and Orangeburg sewage system pipes, they are more prone to slab leaks. Significant quantities of salts dissolved in water, acidic water with pH levels below 7.0, high volumes of liquid oxygen, incorrect grounding of electrical hardware to copper pipes, and alkaline water with pH values above 8.5 are all common causes of corrosion in copper pipes. A severe slab leak will emerge if the copper pipes beneath your structure have fractures or perforations. So, you need to call professionals for instant slab leak repair.

4. Movement-Induced Abrasion:

As the pipes in your foundation carry water to your home’s gadgets and sink, the movement of the water might cause the pipes to scrape against the concrete slab. Furthermore, the pipes may come into contact with other items such as gravel, mud, and other pipes. When a pipeline rubs against a concrete building, the overall amount of friction increases, causing damage to the exterior of your pipes. A water leak will emerge near your slab construction if the exterior of your pipe walls becomes too thin.

5. High Water Pressure:

The pipes listed below your slab structure may split or collapse due to high water pressure. Common indicators of high water pressure include rattling noises when the water is turned on and leaking faucets. Purchase a water pressure gauge to determine if the water pressure in your home is excessive. This gauge is designed to measure the pounds per square inch (PSI) in your water lines.

Depending on your city or neighborhood, the typical water pressure rating ranges from 40 to 80 pounds per square inch. If your water pressure is too high or too low, the pipes beneath your floors may get damaged, resulting in a slab leak. Installing a water pressure-reducing valve on your residential or commercial property to protect your pipes is an easy way to avoid this type of problem in the future.

Excellent Ways To Repair A Slab Leak

1. Rerouting / Repiping:

When a leak includes many pipes, plumbers typically repipe the residence rather than fix the existing pipes. They install a new plumbing system consisting of copper, CPVC, or PEX, which are more lasting options than the original piping used in slab foundations. In certain circumstances, the professional will reroute your pipes through the walls and attic of your home rather than under the foundation.

Remember that repiping may necessitate some destruction if pipes inside your walls or beneath your floors need to be replaced. If the contractors need to jackhammer through your floors, you may need to consider lodging somewhere else.

2. Repairing The Pipes:

Repairing the pipes is the least expensive option for repairing a slab leak, but only if your contractor understands where the leak is coming from. Your plumber will locate the leak using slab leak detection equipment and infrared thermometers. They then fix the pipe by drilling a hole in the floor.

3. Tunneling:

Tunneling under the house is an alternative to jackhammering holes in the floor and is used if you do not want to damage the interior of your home. Your contractor will locate the leak, then dig an access pit next to the nearest wall and tunnel beneath your property. Thus, he will repair your slab leak.

This procedure is usually the most expensive because it necessitates the use of a whole excavation crew. However, it is the least invasive approach, so if preserving the internal integrity of your home is a priority, tunneling is the best choice.

4. Pipe Lining:

Pipelining, also known as epoxy repair, is performed when a plumber discovers a hole in a pipe and injects epoxy into the fault, lining the old pipe and sealing any leaks or holes. This is a low-cost alternative to traditional mending methods, although its effectiveness is controversial.

5. Drill A Hole To Replace A Pipe Section:

If a tiny section of a pipe is broken, the typical treatment is to drill through the concrete slab and replace a short section of the damaged water line. It is not a popular option among homeowners because it necessitates the removal of wood or tile flooring in order to obtain access to the concrete slab.

Furthermore, replacing a small part of a pipe does not guarantee that a larger leak will not occur in the future. If there is a fracture in one section of your pipe, other parts are likely to deteriorate too. The second section of your pipe may crack in the future, necessitating another pipe repair to fix hot water slab leaks.

Conclusion:

While concrete appears to be impenetrable to most damage, water is far more powerful than it appears. Water can seriously destroy the foundation, just as it can cut through the strong rocks of the Grand Canyon. Slab leak repairs are not only costly due to their position and function, but they can also represent a severe threat to the structural stability of your building.

Furthermore, it can damage your flooring, requiring warped parts or spots to be ripped up and replaced completely. Mold and mildew can also begin to grow, generating nasty odors and serious health dangers throughout your house. Even your yard can get harmed, resulting in wet patches of landscaping and supporting the growth of the mosquito population. A slab leak will bring nothing but trouble on its own, and leaving it alone will exacerbate the problem. The best solution is to hire a specialist for slab leak detection and repair.

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