If you’re like most Americans, your home is built on a concrete slab
foundation. These materials are inexpensive, easy to install, durable,
and perform their job tremendously through all sorts of natural disasters.
Slabs also provide outstanding shielding and support for things running
through them, including plumbing lines. That being said, just because
a plumbing line runs through your slab doesn’t mean it can’t
crack or spring a leak. Slab leaks are not only potentially devastating
to your home, but they can cost thousands and take days or even weeks
to fully repair.
As such, detecting and dealing with slab leaks early can help you stop
some of the damage from occurring. Here are a few signs of slab leaks
that you should keep an eye out for as a homeowner, and don’t hesitate
to take action immediately if you spot one.
An Extremely High Water Bill
Many slab leaks are slow, and some never penetrate the top surface of the
slab, but instead travel downward to the bottom where they leak into the
land below. How are you supposed to know when you have one of these leaks?
The easiest way is by keeping an eye on your water bill. If you suddenly
see a huge spike in your charges from the water company and you know there’s
no explanation for it, don’t simply ignore it or assume it’s
an error; you could be dealing with a serious slab leak under your home
that you simply shouldn’t be putting off. After all, as the water
leaks out from your plumbing, so does the money leak out from your wallet.
Unexplained Water Puddles
Have you noticed water puddles along the side of your house where the walls
meet the earth? This may not be simply a side-effect of nature, but an
indication that there could be water bubbling up from beneath the foundation,
a tell-tale sign of a slab leak. Keep an eye on any unexplained puddles
for a few days: if they don’t seem to go away, or you can spot water
bubbling up at any point, call a plumber immediately to have your plumbing
Damp or Wet Flooring
This is arguably the single most obvious sign of a slab leak: water that
intrudes through your foundation and into your home will damage your flooring,
leaving it wet or even warped. Be mindful of where the wet or warped spots
are: spots near a wall may be an indication of a broken pipe in your walls,
which is a far more common and easier to fix problem. However, wet or
damaged flooring that’s not near any walls at all is usually a pretty
tell-tale sign of a slab leak.
It’s not uncommon for hot water lines to run through your slab, and
that means you may get a pretty big clue as to the presence of a slab
leak if the hot water line is the one that breaks. Hot or warm flooring
is almost a dead giveaway that the hot water line beneath that particular
area has developed a leak. While it may be harder to feel this through
carpet (which doesn’t transfer heat well), hardwood, tile, and other
solid floors laid directly over the foundation will usually transfer heat
fairly well. Also, if you notice your hot water heater seems to be constantly
running along with the warm spot on your floor, it’s almost certain
that you have a slab leak.
Run a Plumbing Test
If you’ve noticed any of the steps above and want to be sure you
have a leak, you can run a test at home on your own with just a few simple
tools. Here’s how:
- Turn off all your appliances and shut off any water faucets in your home,
including all toilets, your washing machine, your water heater, dishwasher,
refrigerator, and any other devices connected to your water lines.
- Find your water meter outside (usually located near your driveway or along
the boundary of your property, under a cover labeled “water meter”)
- Remove the cover and check the number as well as the flow indicator for
motion. If the flow indicator is still spinning, then you have a leak
and should call a Bartlett plumber immediately for help with finding it.
- If you don’t have a flow indicator, record the number, replace the
cover, and then wait 30 minutes. Go back out and check your meter again
and see if the number has gone up at all. If it has, then you have a leak.
If you have a slab leak you need repaired, don’t hesitate to call
Smith’s Plumbing Services today at (901) 290-1110 to
request a service estimate!