Slab Leak Detection

“A savvy homeowner can often solve plumbing problems on their own. For example, changing a leaky faucet, replacing a toilet fill valve, or unclogging a kitchen sink is relatively easy. Most homeowners can handle leaks caused by plumbing fixtures, especially minor ones. But other plumbing problems can creep up and go undetected for weeks or months.”


Slab Leak Detection



Let’s discuss Slab Leak Detection today and hidden leaks in the underground water lines beneath your foundation. The chances of you experiencing a slab leak are slim, but you need to learn more about Slab Leak Detection to act before the damage occurs.


The Slab Leak: What Is It?

If you have a basement or crawlspace, there is no such thing as a slab leak. However, if your home has slab foundations, you will have under-slab plumbing. This type of plumbing has cement surrounding the pipes.

It is difficult (but not impossible) to troubleshoot, access, and repair anything buried in cement, as you can imagine. It is the most cost-effective way to get water into your home, so avoid jumping to conclusions that someone made a mistake when running the water pipes underneath your foundation.

The copper water lines connecting your home’s faucets, showers, washing machines, and toilets connect to manifolds that deliver hot and cold water. Sometimes, water leaks appear from a pinhole in a water line. Whoa, you’ve got a slab leak! Next, we’ll discuss how common slab leaks are and what causes them.


Foundation Slab Leaks

Earthquakes, even the small ones that barely make the news, can cause plumbing pipes to crack. Homeowners living near earthquake-prone areas are at a higher risk than most people.

Although we are unlikely to experience earthquakes in California, pressure can still affect the concrete slab. As a result of stress, soil can move, which can cause the slab foundation to move slightly. The soil can heave and shift even if you do not live in an earthquake hot spot. Poor construction or erosion can also cause this.

It is also possible for slab leaks to occur due to abrasion. Again, using your X-ray vision, think about how water travels through the plumbing pipes. When a pipe moves, it causes vibrations, which can cause extra wear on the pipe, mainly when it lies under the foundation. As a result, a pinhole leak occurs over time.

Even though copper is among the most durable materials for water supply lines, it’s not invincible. Age and corrosion do affect us all!


Detecting slab leaks: How Does It Work?

Slab leak detection professionals use several tools and technologies to pinpoint the leak’s location under your house. They use infrared, helium pressure, sonar, and ultrasonic technology to detect the leak causing your problem.

Our technology is so accurate that we can determine the location of a slab leak in just one square foot and then take the appropriate steps to repair it.


What Is the Importance of Slab Leak Detection?

Water from a slab leak can saturate the ground, causing foundation issues and instability. If the leak goes undetected, extensive damage can result.

If you leak your floor, it can damage your subflooring, carpet, or other floor coverings. It can also lead to issues with air quality and mold growth. Electrical wiring can also be damaged, which can cause fire hazards in impacted walls and floors.

If water leaks into the ground outside a home, it can create sinkholes and erosion. If you act quickly, you can prevent substantial damage. Once we find a leak, it only takes a few minutes to repair it.

The first thing you should do if you suspect a slab leak is not to panic.


The Best Ways to Detect Early Slab Leaks

You need to know that a leaking slab needs to be detected early. The lack of alarm systems makes detecting a leak in a slab difficult. This can result in the leak progressing to the point where it causes the foundation to heave, leading to the leak progressing to that extent.


The Best Ways to Detect Early Slab Leaks


It is essential to detect slab leaks early enough before they cause severe damage to the building, as there may already be a lot of damage by the time you discover them.


There are spots on the floor.

There may be a spot under the slab that is not necessarily the result of dry paste that fell a few days ago. Spots could mean something serious, like a leaking slab or a broken or holed hot water line underneath the slab. Hot spots are common because hot water increases corrosion rates on the pipe due to chemical reactions.

However, the hot spot on the floor could result from a leak in the bathroom sink or shower near the slab. Although the causes of these problems may not seem serious, they need to be dealt with as soon as possible to avoid catastrophic consequences.


Bills for water are increasing.

There may be times when you find your water bill has increased without apparent cause. If your consumption rate is constant and you notice a sudden increase, you may have a slab leak. Typically, leaks occur inside the slabs, making it challenging to identify and detect them with the naked eye.

It is essential to monitor the amount of water you consume every month so that you can notice any slight change in your water bill if it increases. This could mean using more water or a leak somewhere in your home.


The sound of running water on the walls

The sound of running water inside your walls indicates your slab leaks. Close all the running taps in the house and listen to any sounds from the walls to determine if this is the problem.

Look at the water meter mounted on the wall. When the pointer runs, it indicates a concealed water source, such as a slab leak.


The pressure of the water is low.

There are several causes for low water pressure, including debris in the water, faulty valves, mineral buildup in the pipes, and water leaks. If all other causes do not exist, a slab leak is likely the cause.

Find out why your water pressure is low. Run the water to find the points with low pressure. Look at their features to determine which points have low pressure. For instance, determine if the area is near a slab to determine whether there is a leak under the slab. If the slab lies near low-pressure water outlets, this could indicate a leak under the slab.


Foundation movement

The foundation can be cracked or moved if a slab leaks. Water moves downwards in the slabs and eventually reaches the foundation. Settlement occurs when water leaks through the slabs.

Because of instability and the overlying pressure, settlement causes movement and cracks in the foundation. Therefore, do not ignore any foundation problems.


A general list of household problems

Slab leaks also cause general problems within the house and foundation problems. The repair specialist can determine the appropriate repair technique based on other issues you have, such as cracks in the walls or floors or general odors within the compound or house. Let them know about other problems so they can decide what repair method to use.


It’s Best to Hire a Plumber to Find Slab Leaks

It is essential to have a professional plumber assess the situation for slab leak detection correctly. Your senses may indicate a slab leak, but you cannot rely solely on them.

The plumber’s job is to use his senses to detect pipe leaks and use modern plumbing technologies. For instance, he can use a ground mic to listen for leaks caused by water moving through a pipe or a video camera to detect pinhole leaks.


A Plumber’s Approach to Repairing Slab Leaks

Plumbing professionals deal with slab leaks in various ways. Their options depend on the pipe’s condition and the leak’s severity. When they have only a short piece of the pipe, a plumber will repair or replace only the damaged section. This is usually the least invasive and most practical approach.

If your pipe is old or in poor condition, you may have to reroute it. A repair could cause a leak in another part of the pipe, so your plumber may have to replace it.

If you live in an old house, your entire pipe system may deteriorate significantly. To prevent future leaks and expensive repairs, plumbers often recommend re-piping. Re-piping is painful because it involves cutting the floor and slab, making it quite invasive.

It is also possible to re-line leaking pipes without digging up the ground. This method involves making access holes at both pipe ends and pressing a new liner to cover the leak.


What Causes A Slab Leak?

  • Expansion and contraction of soil
  • The use of improper materials in construction or plumbing
  • The effects of abrasion and other external pressures
  • Chemistry


The Three Best Ways to Fix a Slab Leak

First and foremost, if you suspect a leak in your house, contact a slab leak repair specialist. Using modern equipment, such as electronic listening instruments and line-tracing equipment, these experts can diagnose the leak quickly and pinpoint its location.

Video inspection of the water line can also be used as part of a sub-slab leak repair service to locate the exact location of the leak if needed.

Several methods are available to find and repair the slab leak. These include minor, non-invasive fixes and more extensive, invasive ones.


Repair of slab leaks without trenches

A small demolition is necessary to repair a slab leak with trenchless plumbing. Access holes will be all your contractor needs to create to repair slab leaks. This is the least destructive method and isn’t as expensive as traditional methods for resolving sub-slab leaks.

A slab repair specialist will use epoxy pipelines to fix the broken pipe. A camera inspection will help determine the extent of the damage. By cleaning the pipe, placing the epoxy pipe liner, inflating it, and then letting it cure, the trenchless repair can be completed in a few hours.

Pipe splitting is another option if the water lines are badly damaged. New pipes slightly larger than the existing ones will be inserted.


Re-plumbing or rerouting of pipes

Plumbing companies often re-pipe systems if multiple pipes are involved. Re-piping involves installing new pipes to eliminate leaks.

If you have only a few pipes that need to be changed, the best option is to reroute them through your walls and floors. Replacing pipes under your floors and inside your walls will require demolition.

If you need to reroute your pipes, depending on the contractor’s efficiency and the necessary work, it may take several days to complete. If the job requires breaking through the slab, you might need to leave your home and stay elsewhere.


Underpinning the slab with tunnels

A tunneling repair method is most commonly used by homeowners who want to preserve their expensive flooring. This allows you to stay home during the repair because the repair crew will keep the mess out.

While ensuring the structural integrity of your home is not compromised, the slab leak repair team will dig tunnels under your house. Inspections will be performed before any repairs occur, and the soil will be returned.


Slab leaks: How long does it take to fix them?

The time it takes to fix a slab leak can range from a few hours to around three days, depending on the method used.

Finding the leak can cost from $150 to $400. Slab leak repairs can generally cost between $200 and $6,000, depending on the method, materials, and labor involved. For example, epoxy repairs can cost a few hundred dollars, whereas other methods, materials, and labor may cost between $2,000 and $6,000.

You should expect to spend $250 to $800 to repair cracks in your foundation. If your foundation needs to be leveled, it will cost roughly $1,000 to $3,000.

Before attempting to make repairs, it’s best to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider to see if the total cost of the damage is covered.


Bottom Line

If you suspect a slab leak, it is vital to find it immediately to prevent further damage and mitigate potential risks associated with water intrusion. To identify plumbers, use various tools to seal leaks, plumbers visual inspections, acoustic listening devices, infrared cameras, thermal imaging, pressure testing, and slab penetration as a last resort.

Contacting a reputable plumbing company is crucial if you suspect a slab leak in your home. Detect and repair problems early. By detecting and repairing problems early, you can avoid extensive damage and costly repairs.