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A broken drain under a concrete slab, house, or swimming pool is not a trivial situation. Pipes are often out of sight and out of mind for most people, but once it has broken, it is an eye-opener. If your house suffers such an event, you should consider fixing the broken drain as soon as possible.

A broken drain will immediately start to affect your home. When a pipe first breaks, you may not notice any problems, but you can diagnose it.

The following signs are an early indication you have a broken pipe or drain:

Wet spots.

Concrete slabs are porous. If the concrete slabs of your building show some wet spots, it may be a sign of a broken drain. If your home has hot water provision and it’s that pipe that is leaking, you may notice or feel warm spots. This would suggest it may not be the drain.

Sound of running water.

If you hear the sound of running water when not being used by anyone, there is a good chance a pipe is leaking or broken.

Damp and mouldy furniture.

If your furniture that sits on a concrete slab starts to feel damp and show signs of mould, you may have a leak. This is thanks to the structure of your home becoming moist and causing mould due to the leak.

Cracked concrete.

If your building or swimming pool base is showing any cracks, you may have a leak that has compromised the structure of your building.

High water bill.

If you notice an unusually high water bill, that can often indicate that you have a severe leak in a supply pipe within your home.

If you have noticed any of the signs above, you must immediately check your pipes as slab wetness can develop into a bigger problem. The dampness in a slab can spread into other areas of your home and cause the homes’ structure to become moist, which will make your home fragile, and will be very expensive to fix. In the worst-case scenario, a broken drain can cause the risk of concrete cancer. Concrete cancer occurs when the water from a pipe leak inside the slab comes in contact with the steel. This can spread, causing the concrete to crack. Sometimes, it can cause spalling of the concrete resulting in sections breaking away.

So, the big question is, how do you fix this problem?

Fixing a slab leak is not an easy task. Attempting to fix a leak is a job best left to Orange County Slab Leak repair professionals. If you try to fix it yourself and are not familiar with the techniques required to fix a crack, you could make problems worse. Many laypeople are unable even to locate the leak, let alone fix it. It is, however, a good idea to understand the basics of each repair method so that you know what the plumber is talking about.

The most common methods of repairing a broken pipe are:

Pipe Relining​- No digging required! ​Pipe Relining​ makes use of an advanced resin technology to create a new pipe inside the broken one; thus, using it to reline the pipe. A professional pipe reliner will usually use a combination of resin and synthetic fibre to create a strong and resistant new pipe. The work will be swift and there should be no damage caused. This is the most efficient and effective way of repairing a leak and is usually the lowest cost method.

Excavate and lay method – ​This method is very different from relining as some digging in the exact location of the leak in your building is required. Once the plumber locates the leak, he will repair or replace (if needed) the pipe and rebuild the concrete. Using this method will create a lot of mess, so you need to be prepared to cover all of your furniture or relocate it if you don’t want your valuables to be damaged. It is also quite a dangerous job, so best left to the professionals.

Rerouting method​- If your home’s plumbing is starting to age, it is better to re-pipe the plumbing of the entire house rather than repairing. This method creates a new junction via the walls of the home. Pipes then enter the trenches and soil around the home. The weakness of this method is that the cost is very high, and the new pipes can be exposed to the home’s exterior.

Final thoughts

Whichever method you choose, always seek a professional to help. Pipe relining is the quickest and most common method of fixing a cracked pipe. It does not require excavation, so is often the method of choice for many people. Always remember, keep an eye out for dampness and the signs above. If you are unsure if you have a leak, consult your friendly plumber.