How to detect and repair slab leaks

Slab leaks are the cracking of the plumbing pipes that run through the concrete foundation of a house or building. As moisture leaks through the pipes, the water can severely damage several different layers of your home.

Click here to learn about how leaking pipes affect your health and home.

The foundation of your home is literally its base, which means that it is critical to the integrity of its structure. 

For those unfamiliar with slab leaks, the evidence of one will seem mysterious and unexplainable at a first. A slab leak can show up in several ways, including floors with puddles, warping, and warm spots, as well as decreased water pressure and audible water sounds (despite no faucets or appliances being in operation).

Not many people realize what lies beneath the surface. There are several causes of imbalance or friction between the pipes, concrete, and Earth underneath and surrounding your home. Homes with poorly constructed foundations, improperly installed pipes, or low quality copper pipes may be prone to slab leaks. 

Slab leaks may also be caused by environmental factors. Water that is either too acidic, too hard, or too soft may be corrosive to the pipes, especially metal pipes. Even the most minor earthquakes can cause the ground to shift such that slab leaks occur. Temperature changes, especially in winter months, can lead to bursting pipes. When water freezes, it expands, increasing the pressure within the pipes, and when the ice thaws, the pipes contract. These expansions and contractions create friction against the concrete, which eventually lead to pipe corrosion and slab leaks. Excess moisture and erosion in the soil, which can deteriorate pipes from all angles.

How To Repair Slab Leaks

The real issue of having slab leaks is that fixing the evidence of a slab leak does not fix the issue itself, which is deeper than the floors alone. Repairing or replacing the flooring without addressing the underlying (no pun intended!) issue of pipe corrosion is not a complete solution. 

If a slab leak has occurred more than once, we highly advise hiring a professional plumber to repipe through the foundation and ceiling of the property in order to fundamentally solve the issue. There is no guarantee that a slab leak will not occur in property with pipes that were poorly installed or made of low grade copper. Replacing the floorboards without repairing or replacing damaged or weak pipes will allow recurring cases of slab leaks; subsequent flooring replacements can sometimes culminate into a higher overall cost than repiping and replacing the flooring in the first case of a slab leak.

California Plumbing provides comprehensive plumbing services to homes in San Diego and Chula Vista and beyond. In addition to fixing slab leaks and replacing cracked pipes, we offer professional water solutions to improve the quality of your water and life. You can call us if you have any questions about repairing or replacing your pipes or to schedule an appointment today. 

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