Slab leaks are among the most inconvenient, if not the most inconvenient type of Denver plumbing leak there is. That being said, yes you should be worried about them. But there are certainly homes that are more at risk than others.
But what exactly is a slab leak? Well, this is the name given to any leak that occurs in the cold or hot water pipes set down in the concrete foundation of your home. It can also refer to any pipe down in a rock service, however for residential buildings it most often refers to the home’s foundation.
Part of what makes them such a big problem is the fact that they waste gallons of water, and can cause damage to the home itself, leading to mold and mildew growth. Lastly, a slab leak in the hot water lines (where they occur about 80% of the time) can place extra stress on your water heater.
Where Do Slab Leaks Come From?
After all, a pipe that is set down beneath the concrete should be pretty well protected, right? However, there are a number of forces that can cause a rupture to form in a pipe, eventually leading to a slab leak. These forces include:
- Sudden or Large Increase in Water Pressure: This is a significant cause for slab leaks. This type of water pressure can come from any number of sources, like the shifting of soil causing the home’s foundation to shift ever so slightly, or a poor construction job right from the get-go. This type of slab leak has the potential to cause significant damage, since a pressure increase and subsequent ruptured pipe can lead to flooding.
- Corrosion: We mentioned already that slab leaks tend to occur more frequently in hot water lines. The reason for this is corrosion is more common inside the pipes that transport hot water. The reaction that happens between the heat of the water and the material surrounding the pipes can create an opportunity for the pipe to begin corroding from the outside. With cold water pipes, this corrosion can happen from inside. The most likely homes to experience this are older homes, with copper or galvanized steel pipes in place in their foundations. Copper is pretty corrosion-resistant, but it is not corrosion-proof. Electrolysis can still cause corrosion in copper.
- Abrasion: You have likely watched exposed pipes before, and noticed that they sometimes rattle around a bit as water passes through them. The material is expanding and contracting at this time, and eventually this will begin causing abrasion as those pipes rub against the rock surface, leading to leakage. Once again, this is a bigger risk of this occurring in hot water pipes versus cold water pipes.
Whatever the cause might be, if you suspect a slab leak the best thing you can do for your plumbing system is to call in a pro. Managing a slab leak can involve a number of different methods, and we can determine what method is best for your home when we come to inspect.
Get peace of mind by calling Bell Plumbing and Heating, the company metro area homeowners have been trusting for over 90 years!