So you’ve found a damp spot or two in your carpet recently.
You’ve noticed that your water bill has skyrocketed, despite your usage habits being the same.
The water pressure in your shower and sinks is significantly lower, and it’s starting to annoy you.
These signs can point to a slab leak.
Simply put, a slab leak occurs when the pipes below or inside of a home’s concrete foundation begin to leak. These leaks can lead to incredibly damaging foundation issues and costly repairs.
Signs of a Slab Leak to Look Out For
Pipes leaking within your foundation can cause severely eroded areas in the concrete, creating unsafe sinkholes in your home, as well as creating potential flooding issues.
Slab leaks below the foundation can saturate the earth below the foundation, which can cause your floors to become uneven, and eventually causing the entire building to sink into the ground.
Here are some things you should be on the lookout for if you suspect a slab leak:
- Moist spots on your carpet, floor, or baseboards
- Hot areas on your floor
- Water or utility bills are unusually high
- Low water pressure
- Sounds of running water when the water is off
- Unexplained mold growing under carpet or flooring
- Cracking or buckling foundation
- Shifting or tilting of your home’s foundation
- Wet spots surrounding the home’s foundation
What Causes a Slab Leak?
Slab leak causes come in several different forms, but all are equally damaging. They directly affect the foundation of your home, which if left unattended, can lead to disastrous results. Here are a few causes that can cause a slab leak.
- Outside Pressure & Natural Disasters – Shifting soil beneath the foundation can put extra pressure on your pipes, causing breakage or erosion to take place. Pipes can also shift and rub against surfaces they’re not intended to come in contact with. Gravel, concrete, and nearby rocks in the soil come into contact with the pipes and gradually erode them down in a process called abrasion. An earthquake can also cause pipes to vibrate and break as well. Sometimes this can also lead to flooding issues.
- Improper Installation – This is generally the most common cause of slab leaks. Improper or shoddy installations are an open invitation for problems to come in droves. It’s always best to rely on professional help with plumbing and construction work.
- Poor Water Quality – Water pH levels are an often overlooked, but common culprit when it comes to slab leaks. Water that is high in acid levels (AKA “hard water”) or high in alkaline (AKA “soft water”) will corrode your pipes from the inside. Generally you can tell if hard or soft water is the culprit by checking your tub and sinks for green or blue rings accompanied with a chlorine smell.
- Time & Age – Older homes with copper, Orangeburg, or galvanized steel piping are the most at risk for slab leaks, as time wears everything down. Corrosion and erosion are more than likely going to strike older plumbing systems.
What Do I Do If I Suspect I Have A Slab Leak?
Keep an eye out for the signs listed above, for starters.
If you notice any one or more of them, it may not be a guarantee that you have a slab leak, but you’ll want to call a professional at that point. They’ll be able to determine exactly what the issue is and how to take it from there.
The sooner you get it diagnosed, the sooner you can get it fixed and have the peace of mind you deserve.