How to Detect a Slab Leak

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You may have heard the term “slab leak” before, spoken of in terms of a very difficult plumbing problem. Indeed, it’s one of the most serious problems your plumbing system can face. In and of itself, it’s simply a leak like any other: the kind than any professional plumber can repair with ease. The problem comes in the location of the pipes themselves: with slab leaks, they’re buried under the concrete foundation of your home (or similar spot like a porch), or in some cases embedded in the pipes themselves.

That can create a serious issue for your home. Slab leaks can go for months or even years without being detected, and in that time they can do considerable damage to the surrounding concrete. In the worst cases, they can even cause cracks to form in the foundation of your home, which may cause the whole building to be declared unsafe. The sooner you spot the signs you have a slab leak, the better you can contain the damage, and the more readily a technician can correct the issue permanently. (Usually, another length of pipe can be rerouted to avoid potential damage to the concrete. In the most serious cases, the pipe will need to be excavated and the concrete re-poured after repairs are made.)

Spotting the Signs

No repairs can be made, however, unless the homeowner realizes that there’s a problem and calls in a plumbing service. Detecting a slab leak can be surprisingly difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for. Thankfully, there are a number of signs that can alert you to the problem: subtle, yet readily identifiable as trouble if you spot them. They can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Puddles of water around the foundation of the home, usually with no accompanying source readily available.
  • Warm spots or cold spots on the concrete. This usually stems from hot or cold water leaking from the pipe below the spot.
  • Unexpected spikes in your water bill, especially if you haven’t used the water any more often than normal.
  • Sounds of dripping or running water, particularly in spots where you have no reason to hear such sounds.
  • Reduced water pressure coming from the outlet affected by the slab leak. This can often be for an outdoor outlet (though not really), so it may pay to check the water flow in your home’s sprinklers or outside faucets by turning them on.
  • Cracks forming in the concrete, caused by the steady drip of water from the leak. This is the sign of an advanced slab leak, and you likely need to take immediate action.

The moment you suspect a slab leak in your home, turn the water off using the main water valve. (Every family member should know where the water valve is and how to use it.) Then call in a qualified technician to diagnose the issue and schedule repairs.

For slab leak issues throughout the Denver, CO area, call on the friendly professionals at Bell Plumbing and Heating today to set up an appointment!

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