January 14, 2021

What you need to know about Slab Leaks

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According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 96% of Californian residents live in homes that were built on a concrete slab of foundation. This slab of concrete is the support and main structure for your entire home, so as you can imagine, it is imperative that it is kept in good shape. This is one reason understanding what a slab leak is and knowing how to spot one is so important, especially for residents of California.

We’ve created a fact sheet about slab leaks so that you can keep your home in tip-top shape. Keep reading for a list of everything you’ll ever need to know about slab leaks!

What's the Slab Leaks?

A slab leak is used by short-term practitioners when referring to leaking water pipes underneath the building. Usually, these copper pipes are hidden underneath the concrete slabs under the base of your building. Unfortunately, this means that they will go unnoticed for a longer period of time. However, as water damage builds up, soaking away at the understructure of your house, these slab leaks will cause significant damage to the outside over time. Apparently, this is not a pleasant situation for any homeowner.

What is the cause of Slab Leaks?

Water pipes also use copper because they are resistant to water erosion. Nothing lasts forever, however, and resisting does not mean invulnerable. When time goes by, the copper in the pipes gets more and more corroded. Eventually cracks and holes begin to form. When they occur in above ground pipes, they are called pinhole leaks, but underground, where they can go undetected for months, they cause much more harm.

Alternative Explanations

Other causes include earthquake disruption or less extreme types of land changes, all of which are very common in California. When the underlying soil moves erraticly, the pipes may be pressurized in several directions, contributing to stress fractures and metal warping.

Damage can also be caused by natural abrasion when the pipes move and rub against exposed surfaces. This is a common problem if pipes were buried too close to the concrete above, or if they were buried too close to each other.

Another alternative is that the pipes were simply designed incorrectly or were damaged during the construction process. Minor gaps or teeth can seem like nothing but can become important as time and pressure work on them.

Indicators of Slab Leak

These leaks generally begin small and, since the leaking pipes are buried under thick concrete, are not always easy to detect. However, there are a few signs that homeowners should know so that they can more quickly detect a slab leak before it becomes a bigger problem. These signs shall include:

  • The growth of mold or mildew or the general scent of musty
  • Moisture beneath the carpet
  • Low pressure of water
  • Water puddles in your yard or at the foundation of your building.
  • Pipes or water meters are active while not in use
  • Sudden jump in your bill for water

Understanding these metrics and knowing what to look for will save you huge headaches and big maintenance bills in the future, so keep this list as a reference.

If you note any of the above factors or have encountered any odd incidents with your plumbing, then don't hesitate to contact a professional for help. At Punctual Plumbing Pros, we understand the stress of having to deal with big home problems, so we're doing our best to make things easy for you. The most important move you'll take is the first one so please contact us today either by phone or online for a free estimate!

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