To prevent damage, costly repairs, and high utility bills, it’s important to keep tabs on your home’s condition, particularly when it comes to features like its foundation. The concrete slab that makes up your foundation has plenty of pipes underneath it, and these pipes can leak or burst if not properly cared for, especially during the hot summer months. If you suspect you have a slab leak, there are certain things you should look out for to determine if it’s time to have the problem assessed professionally.
What Is a Slab Leak?
A slab leak refers to a leak that occurs under your home’s concrete foundation in the copper water lines. Out of sight, it can be difficult to know if you have one. Left unchecked, they can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. For example, after an extended period, a slab leak could cause your foundation to collapse.
What Causes a Slab Leak?
There are several causes of slab leaks, many of which are out of your control as a homeowner. Some of the more common reasons slab leaks occur are:
- Damage to your pipes during the building of your home or installation
- Corrosion of the pipes from the soil
- Pipe abrasion, if they’re in contact with gravel or other tough surfaces
- Shifts in the foundation or ground
The best way to avoid a slab leak is to regularly have your plumbing checked by a professional. You can also keep an eye out for the slab leak symptoms listed below.
Sign #1: Mold
If you see mold, mildew, or water gathering on the same spot of the floor for a prolonged period of time, it could be a sign of a slab leak. If you’ve only noticed this occur once or twice, keep an eye on it to see if the problem persists.
You may also smell the mold or mildew, but not see it. It may be strong and sudden, but definitely identifiable. This should be checked out by a professional right away, especially if you can’t locate the source of the smell.
Sign #2: Unusually High Utility Bills
If you start receiving water and energy bills that are much higher than normal, and you can’t find a reasonable explanation for a spike in your usage, the costs may be attributed to a leak in the pipes underneath your house. A slab leak will cause your water to run all day and night, resulting in higher bills. Listen for the sound of running water when the pipes are turned off, as this is a common problem associated with slab leaks.
Sign #3: Sprinklers and Irrigation Leaks
Check any sprinkler or irrigation lines that you have running near the concrete slab. If these are leaking, it could be a slab leak symptom. There may also be a breakage in the area, which could further damage the slab if not taken care of.
Sign #4: Changes in Your Foundation
Another sign of a possible slab leak is the shifting or settling of your house’s concrete foundation. This indicates that a slab leak may have caused soil erosion or water damage. You may notice cracks in the walls or baseboard. If you see signs of shifts or settling occurring anywhere in your home, seek repairs immediately.
Sign #5: Cold or Warm Spots
Be on the lookout for cold or warm spots in your floors, especially if your water bills have been on the rise as well. These spots could be caused by leaking water pipes. Hot water will cause your flooring to heat up, but it can be difficult to feel this sensation if you have carpet rather than hardwood or tile. It’s also easier to discover hot spots on particularly cold days and vice versa.
Sign #6: Damp Carpet and Flooring
Similar to cold or warm spots, you may notice water damage on your carpets or other floors. This means the water is accumulating from the slab leak and traveling upward. Carpets will be damp, while hardwood floors warping. Contact a professional before more damage occurs.
Sign #7: Hot Water Heater Running Constantly
If your water is running constantly, it means your hot water heater is probably running constantly. While you may not hear the running water in your pipes, your hot water heater is harder to ignore. It is working to replace the water leaking under the concrete. If you hear it, you definitely want to reach out to a professional.
Sign #8: Decrease in Water Pressure
When you have a leak in your home, it’s naturally taking away from your plumbing’s pressure. If you notice your shower isn’t as powerful as it used to be, it could point to another problem within your plumbing or be a symptom of a slab leak.
It’s important to pay attention to any unusual plumbing activity going on in your home and be proactive. Regularly scheduled maintenance with a professional can help you catch these issues early, before they become a serious problem for the foundation of your home and for your property. If you notice any of these slab leak signs, call a plumber right away to schedule an appointment. When a slab leak problem goes unnoticed or without repair, it can cause substantial damage to your home and result in extensive repair bills.
If you suspect a slab leak or another plumbing problem within your home, please give C&W Plumbing a call right away at 972-395-2597. We’re experts at slab leak detection and slab leak repair, and we’re available 24/7 for emergency services!
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