A wide variety of homes are built directly on a concrete slab. This is not an unusual way to provide a foundation for many homes, but can bring some issues down the line when it comes to your plumbing.
Since the plumbing pipes are concealed within the slab, diagnosing a leak and accessing the pipes can be difficult. However, an unrepaired slab leak can lead to severe problems for the homeowner including structural integrity loss.
Slab leaks are difficult to detect in general, though there are some telltale signs you can look for if you suspect you may have a slab leak. Even a minor slab leak can become a huge problem, so it’s important to contact a licensed plumber as soon as an issue is found or suspected.
Increased Water Bill
A sudden increase in your water bill with no explainable cause could be your first sign of a problem. Assuming your routine has stayed the same when it comes to water usage, a leak may be to blame for the higher than usual water bill.
An easy way to check for a potential leak is to check your water meter. Ensure all plumbing fixtures are turned off and all water-using appliances are disconnected, then view your water meter for 10-15 minutes.
If any water was used within that time, you have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Contacting a plumber at this time can help reduce the amount of water damage your home sustains.
Strange occurrences of damp carpeting or water pooling on a tile or hardwood floor can be another sign. As a slab leak continues to seep into the concrete, the excess water may eventually make its way into your interior flooring.
If you start to notice occasional pools of water or damp carpeting or rugs, with no explanation as to where it came from, you should contact a plumber as soon as possible.
Decreased Water Pressure
An overall decrease in water pressure can signal a slab leak. If nothing else has changed in your home as far as recent plumbing issues, the installation of a new plumbing fixture, or the installation of an appliance such as a washing machine or dishwasher, a sudden decrease in water pressure could signal a slab leak.
Smell of Mold or Mustiness
Mold and mildew thrive in dark and damp places. Smelling a general musty odor in your home could signal a moisture problem somewhere along the plumbing lines. In addition to being an early warning to a leak, mold and mildew can potentially cause health problems.
Sound of Running Water
While this may be a subtle sign, hearing water moving when all appliances and plumbing fixtures are turned off can be a cause for concern. It won’t be a loud rushing sound, but rather a gentle trickle or drip of water with no explainable cause. If you hear any unexplained water movement, contact a plumber as soon as possible.