The reason slab leaks are considered to be pretty ominous in the plumbing world is because they are not immediately obvious. Water doesn’t come bursting out of the ground the moment the leak starts, and it may not even cause a significant difference in your water pressure right away.
You might be thinking at this point, “Wow, sounds pretty minor then!” Unfortunately, it’s anything but. Read on to learn more, and what to do about it.
What Is a Slab Leak?
This is a plumbing leak that occurs in the pipes beneath the foundation–the concrete slab of your home. If you have a basement with exposed pipes, you don’t need to worry about this–however you will want to still pay attention to the condition of your exposed pipes!
When you have pipes running beneath the foundation, it’s hard to tell when there is a leak. But these types of leaks often happen due to corrosion in the copper pipes that run underground–usually in the hot water line, but it can happen in the cold water line, too.
Slab leaks typically start as very small pinhole leaks that grow over time, resulting in slow-moving damage.
Okay, But Really, Why Is This Such an Issue?
Even the smallest of leaks beneath the slab of your home can spill out enough water to create some major damage to the structural integrity of your home. Additionally, changes to the water pressure can do damage to the rest of your plumbing and property, too. Flooring can begin cracking, baseboard and walls can start cracking, and you could find yourself with renovation needs you were never planning on. Plus there’s the water damage to consider, which can lead to mold and mildew growth.
This is why it’s so important to find a slab leak as soon as possible.
“Um, Great, How Do I Know If I Have a Slab Leak?”
There are actually a few signs you can watch out for, including:
Temperature Troubles with Your Water
So lets say that suddenly, the water heater seems to be struggling. But, you’ve checked the temperature. And you’ve checked the water heater or have it professionally maintained each year. Nothing is wrong with your water heater.
It could be a slab leak you’re dealing with! Around 80% of slab leaks occur in hot water lines, which are more likely to corrode than cold water lines. So if some of your hot water is leaking out, then that means it’s not going to reach your taps. Along with this, you could notice a drop in water pressure too when you use your hot water taps.
Hot or Cold Spots on the Ground
As we’ve now mentioned, slab leaks are more likely to occur in hot water pipes–but they can happen in cold water pipes too. If you’re walking across your kitchen or dining room floor and notice a hot spot or cold spot that’s never been there before, you may be feeling the ambient temperature of a leak beneath your home’s foundation.
If you do notice this, it’s time to give out team a call for leak inspection and repairs!