Homes around the country have different types of foundations. The two most common include a pier and beam structure or a slab. Slabs are made of concrete that is poured 4 inches to 6 inches thick in the center. The slab will need to be placed in a level location and have a layer of sand for proper drainage. Homes that feature a slab won’t have crawl spaces, and there is generally no space under the floor. This makes accessibility under the home nearly impossible.

But while lack of accessibility seems like a disadvantage, there are many reasons homeowners prefer a slab over other foundations. For example, slab foundations are incredibly durable and impenetrable to pest problems the way pier and beam foundations are. However, there is one problem a slab could have that pier and beam does not. This includes having a slab leak. What exactly is that, and what should you know moving forward if your home does have this type of foundation? This article features everything you may want to know about slab leaks, from identifying one in your home to knowing how a plumber will solve the problem.

Signs Homeowners Should Lookout For

Step one, do you have a slab foundation? If so, then you’ll want to know what signs to be on the lookout for that indicate a leak is happening underneath your slab. When a professional says that something is a slab leak, this simply means that a plumbing pipe underneath the home’s foundation has ruptured and is now leaking. This could be either a complete break or a crack in the pipe. Detection and repair can often be difficult, but it is not impossible. As a homeowner, look for these possible indications you have a leak happening.

-Spikes in your water bill

-Low water pressure

-Hot spots on your floor

-Cracks or shifts in the foundation

-Moisture on your walls or floors

Any of these signs could be cause for alarm. Take action immediately by contacting a plumber right away to determine whether or not a leak is actually occurring. One other thing you may notice is the sound of dripping or running water even though no faucet is turned on. Listening at night, it is much easier to identify this symptom. Wait until your house is completely quiet, and just take a few minutes to listen for running water.

Plumber’s Best Practices For Identifying A Slab Leak

Notify your plumber that there’s a potential leak happening under your home; what will happen? How will they get to the bottom of whether or not a slab leak is actually the problem or if there is a pipe inside your home that is leaking? Plumbers have many methods of leak detection. The first is a listening device. Very basic in its function, a plumber will listen in areas of your home for water escaping from the pipes. An upgrade from this is a thermal imaging test. Infrared cameras can detect temperature changes in the floor or walls. Any changes that seem substantial will indicate a leak.

The last test that may be done is a pressure test. If there is a loss in pressure, this means that water is escaping. Though your plumber may run one or several tests to determine whether or not a slab leak is present, any positive identification signals an accurate diagnosis.

How Slab Leaks Can Be Repaired

Let’s say your plumber has identified a leak coming from underneath your slab. What happens next? What type of repair options would be available? There are four common repairs a plumber can do to resolve slab leaks. The first is a spot repair. If the damage is small enough, your plumber may do a small patch to correct the leak.

In an instance where the leak is somewhat substantial, the plumbing pipe under your home may be rerouted. This will prevent further damage from happening. Next, your plumber could use epoxy coating inside the pipe. This will seal any cracks or leaks, creating a new sleeve inside the old pipe. This is incredibly handy for pipes you can’t access easily and for pipes that have some form of corrosion.

With plumbing pipes that are old or damaged, the plumber may recommend a repiping service. This is an extensive job and could include rerouting your plumbing pipes. However, repiping is often one of the most effective and long-term solutions against slab leaks.

Can A Slab Leak Be Prevented?

We’ve reviewed how to detect a slab leak and how your plumber Charlotte could fix the problem. But is there any way that you can prevent one of these incidents from happening to your home? With the cost of foundation repair being high, there are several reasons a homeowner may want to know if they can prevent a slab leak from happening.

The best way to avoid one of these problems from happening is a regular inspection by your local plumber. They can identify whether or not the pipes are weak, corroded, and need to be addressed. Symptoms like foundation cracks and soil shifting can contribute to a plumbing pipe becoming compromised. Anytime you see cracks along the foundation, it should have you take a pause.

Maintaining your plumbing system is also critical. We recommend that you avoid chemical drain cleaners at all costs. These can slowly break down the plumbing pipes, causing the potential for corrosion and leaks. Should you experience any type of clog within your plumbing system, it is best to contact your plumber for clog removal.

The last tip we have for prevention is to make sure your soil is protected against erosion. This might include having a retaining wall in place. Retaining walls are excellent for keeping structures where you put them and stopping sliding from happening.

Early detection of any household leak is paramount to stop extensive damage. Mold from water damage is also a concern. Knowing whether or not a water leak is coming from under your home or inside your home is ultimately the key to stopping larger foundation issues.

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