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Slab Leak Detection and Prevention

A leak can cause devastating damage to your home, no matter where it is. One of the most harmful and costly leaks that can happen is a slab leak. It’s when a pipe under your home bursts and causes significant damage to your home’s foundation.

Slab leaks can happen anywhere and any time, but are more common in places that get hit by earthquakes. Older homes are also more susceptible to leaks due to the age of their piping.

Outside of that, a slab leak can be caused by numerous things, including:

  • Poor Installation

  • Damage to the Pipes Prior to Installation

  • Foundation Shifts

  • Abrasion

What You Can Do To Prevent Slab Leaks

While you may not be able to stop a slab leak entirely — especially if you don’t have your pipes inspected and maintained — but you can do things that help prevent them.

Using too much water pressure can lead to leaky pipes. While you may love the high pressure, it puts a lot of strain on your pipes, especially when the pressure exceeds the pipe’s recommended output. If you believe that your water pressure may be too high, contact a plumber to inspect your system.

Keep an Eye on Your Hard Water

Hard water can also be a problem. While it is harmless to consume and use in the shower, the minerals in it can build up in pipes and cause blockages. These blockages can cause pressure to build up in your home’s pipes and eventually cause them to leak or burst.

This can be prevented through regular inspections. You can also consider installing a water softener for your entire home.

Don’t Use Chemical Cleaners

You’ve probably heard this before and we promise that it’s not a ploy for you to call plumbers more often. Chemical cleaners often use harsh agents to remove clogs from your sinks and drains. Using them once shouldn't’ cause any lasting damage, but continuous use can seriously damage your home’s sewer system.

Overtime, they can cause corrosion and small leaks to form as they eat away at your piping material. It’s a better idea to have a plumber inspect and clean out clogs, especially if clogs happen often. You can also invest in drain catchers that catch debris before it goes down into your home’s sewer system. They’re an affordable solution that keeps our pipes clean!

Pay Attention to Your Yard

Trees near your home can cause slab leaks too. While they’re beautiful and definitely add to the curb appeal, their roots can damage your home’s piping and foundation.

Regularly prune the trees near your house, or if they have become too large and pose a serious threat to your plumbing, consider professionally cutting them down or relocating them.

Regular Plumbing Inspections

When you own a home, taking proactive measures is always more advantageous than reactive. When it comes to your plumbing system, you should have it inspected once a year. This way, you can find leaks before they become a major problem, as well as know if any of your home’s piping is starting to rust, clog, or corrode.

Inspections are very minimally invasive too: some use specialized audio equipment to hear through your walls, while others use cameras they can stick down a drain in the house. There shouldn’t be any holes in your walls, floors, or anything during an inspection. It’s a simple process!

How to Detect a Slab Leak

In many cases, you can detect a slab leak without a professional — though you should call one right away if you think you have one. Here are a few things to look out for.

A Sudden Spike in Your Water Bill

If you notice your water bill skyrocketed, it’s possible that it was caused by a slab leak. Slab leaks cause your water to constantly run, hence the sudden spike in water usage. If you notice something off about your bill, turn off all of the faucets to your home and listen. If you hear running water, you may have a leak.

Check Your Water Meter

If you don’t hear anything go outside and check your water meter. If it’s moving, but no water is running inside, then there is definitely something wrong.

Standing Water Around Your Home

A big sign that you have a slab leak are wet spots in your yard. We’re not talking about typical drainage after a storm either. You’ll either notice a large puddle in a certain area (or unexplained dampness), or a line of water that looks like it could be following an underground pipe.

If you have grass, you’ll need to go outside and feel around for wet spots. If your yard is mostly dirt or stones, then you’ll be able to see the discoloration early in the morning (before the sun dries it up).

This could be difficult to spot if you have grass or live in a warm climate that soaks up moisture, like in Arizona. The key is go outside in the morning before your sprinklers come on and before the sun has a chance to dry anything up.

If the water is settling in a straight line, call a plumber right away. This usually indicates a large hairline crack in a pipe

Other Signs of Running/Standing Water

If you don’t notice any of the above three things, you should still look out for any of the following:

  • Unusually low water pressure

  • Cracks in your baseboard or walls

  • Damp or warm floors

  • Mold Problems / Moldy smell

  • Warm spots on the floor

  • A raised dome in the floor -- These are caused by water damage warping your floor

If none of the above holds true, then it’s unlikely that you have a slab leak. But if you’re still concerned, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.

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